The Hardest Part of Evangelism
How would you define evangelism?
- The spreading of the gospel by verbal proclamation.
- The act of giving a message about what Christ has already done for us.
- Giving a reason for the hope you have in Christ whenever somebody asks.
- Providing news – verbally and digitally – of who Jesus Christ is and why its important to know what he has done.
- All of the above.
I have a feeling that you already know the right answer. If you selected “All of the Above” then you are correct.
In the purest sense, when the word “evangelism” is used in the bible, it means verbally proclaiming Good News of what God has done through Christ Jesus.
There can be confusion between evangelism activity and acts of service.
This is an important distinction that requires are attention in today’s world.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to serve our Savior, but I wonder if faithful Christians will see acts of service to excuse themselves from evangelism activity.
Which of the following can be considered evangelism activity;?
- Talking and engaging with people in our personal network and giving reasons for the hope we have in Christ.
- Inviting unchurched people to evangelism events and to come with them to bible information classes.
- Actively welcome and engage visitors in the church lobby that we don’t know.
- Actively participate in digital evangelism.
- Be willing to participate in follow-up activities with families and individuals who have expressed interest in your congregation.
- Engaging parents who come on the church campus to pick up their children during an outreach event.
All these activities require talking to people who are not church members for the sake of the gospel. Sometimes its not appropriate or the right time to proclaim the gospel (pre-evangelism) and sometimes it is.
We live in a scary world. It’s easy for our human nature to shudder and retreat. If volunteering at church is used as an excuse to not do something outside our comfort zone (evangelism activity) then perhaps it’s time for redeemed Christians to re-adjust our thinking. Yet, right now, the Lord is allowing circumstances to occur that is providing opportunities for all Christians to give reasons for the hope that we have in Christ.
People are willing to be engaged right now and listen.
When you work hard to gain an audience through acts of service, then it is equally important to proclaim reasons for our service to those who don’t know Christ.
The hardest part about verbal evangelism is not necessarily learning what to say but having believers say something.
It is the willingness to be inconvenienced during times of comfort for the sake of Christ.
It is the willingness to sacrifice during times of discomfort for the sake of Christ.
It usually means stepping outside of our comfort zones.
Here are some suggestions to help:
- The gift from God
- Gaining an audience to hear God’s Word
- Asking the right questions
- Pivoting to proclaim
One More Thing
The U.S. presidential election is only a few weeks away.
Does it feel like there is a giant sword dangling precariously over our heads on one string? Many people seem to be holding their breath. It’s not that I wonder who will win, but how people are going to respond to the results.
I recall perestroika in the 1980’s. President Reagan stood before the Berlin wall and asked it to be torn down for the sake of freedom. A short time later, communism and the landscape known as the Soviet Union was radically altered when Boris Yeltsin came to power. The walls separating western and eastern Europe crumbled to the ground.
We live in a world where everything changes at a dizzying pace.
Life has been radically altered right now due to COVID-19. Even when immunizations are available, the societal landscape has changed. It’s like going back to the place where you grew up and not seeing the familiar landmarks.
How should those who trust completely in God’s promises respond?
While people are self-quarantined throughout our communities, I wonder if Christians have been self-quarantining themselves from the world even before COVID-19 arrived.
Perhaps we have mistook church as just a gathering place to worship. We may have forgotten that Christians are the church where Christ reigns in the hearts and minds of those who trust in him. And sometimes we have waited for our church to respond appropriately to spread the Word rather than taking responsibility for ourselves. During these times of comfort, we have forgotten that a big part of our life in Christ is to make Christ known.
Sometimes the Lord allows discomfort to happen in our lives and in our society to remind ourselves that God is God, King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Perhaps right now is the best time that we ever had during our life on earth to proclaim the gospel.
We can pray:
Lord, you are sovereign and God almighty – who rules the heavens and the earth with your powerful might. Rooted in Christ, our chief cornerstone, the solid foundation for our faith, trust, and hope, we can endure all things for the sake of your kingdom. While storms of life blow around us, we need not fear because you are with us. May your generous and gracious Spirit fill us with courage and boldness to say something about what you have already done for us when you provide opportunities to speak. Open our hearts, minds, and ears to be attentive messengers of Good News. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful privilege and responsibility you have given us. Amen
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