I used to think evangelism was something rehearsed. I stored up the Bible knowledge I would need to prepare a defense for my faith. But no matter how much I learned, there were always questions that remained unanswered. I was also terrified of sharing about my faith because I didn’t know what outcome I was “supposed” to get – a salvation decision? What then?
Because many believers – like me – picture evangelism as door-to-door sharing or handing out tracts, they’re terrified to talk about their faith at all. There is intense pressure to achieve a “decision” instead of simply sharing the truth of who God is with those nearest to us. Evangelism is so much simpler than we’ve made it out to be.
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus left a final command prior to ascending to heaven. He told His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” – basically, to replicate themselves. They were to take all Jesus’ teaching and teach others those same truths. There was no formula for this. There was no three-step process. Simply go and tell the gospel, then disciple new converts in the truth.
This reveals some important assumptions: First, that disciples of Jesus KNOW the truth about Him. Anyone who follows Jesus must know Him through the Word in order to share about the gospel. Accurate teaching is important! Secondly, Jesus didn’t give this directive only to His twelve apostles. He gave it to ALL His disciples – dozens of them, men and women! This means His command is for all of us today as well. We don’t get a free pass on evangelism because we aren’t pastors.
So if we are called to share the gospel and we must know the Word in order to do so, what next? If you’re like I was, you’re starting to get nervous at the very THOUGHT of sharing about Jesus. Let me share what transformed my own view of evangelism: Luke 12:12. In this passage Jesus is actually talking about persecution, saying: “Then you are brought before the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say. For at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12) In the very moment when the disciples would feel speechless and afraid, the Spirit of God would give them the words to say as testimony to the gospel.
Even if we aren’t being persecuted, the Spirit of God is with us to declare truth. And if He is with us, He will give US the words to say when God provides an opportunity to share the gospel! We don’t have to live afraid of evangelism. God equips those He calls.
Another thing to remember is that Jesus is Savior – not us. It’s not your job to get a salvation decision out of someone, and evangelism isn’t “wasted” if a person doesn’t respond to what you share. You’re planting seeds! God uses our testimony and our words to declare truth to others, bringing it to mind later right when that person may need it most.
Rather than fear the commission God has given you, ask God to embolden your heart. Pray that you would love God’s Word and know it better. And ask God to give you the words at the same time He gives you opportunities. I have seen some amazing answers to prayer in this area when my heart was in tune to God’s will for my words. Sharing about Jesus comes more and more naturally the longer you walk with Him, because the longer you walk with Him, the more you love Him. And the more you love Him – the harder it is to be silent.