Often when we hear or read about evangelism, we’re overwhelmed with guilt: it’s something that we all know we should do, but we so often fall short.
While God has commanded us to share our faith with people that don’t know Christ and our failure to obey that command is sin, guilt is rarely the best motivator for sustained life change. Instead, we should aim to see that the privilege of evangelism is a much greater reward than the worldly comforts that hold us back.
Evangelism is a privilege for two very important reasons: it expresses love for God and love for others, which Jesus said are the two greatest commands (see Matthew 22:36–40). Evangelism expresses love for God because it is him that we speak of in evangelism. In evangelism, our message to non-Christians is not the value of community, the importance of Judeo-Christian values, or any other social, political, scientific, or cultural message. We are seeking to win souls, not arguments, so our message is, “Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). In evangelism, we get to tell people about the greatness of God. We get to tell people about his strength and holiness, displayed in creation (Romans 1:18–20).
In evangelism, we are speaking about God. And we speak about him like this because we love him.
Evangelism also expresses love for others, because we know that non-Christians are “separated from Christ… strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Because Jesus is the only path to salvation, anyone that doesn’t know him is stuck in sin, “condemned already” (John 3:18), and heading towards a just eternal torment.
In evangelism, we are offering a solution to the most urgent problem in someone’s life. And we share it with them because we love them.
While we can always approach strangers and share the hope of Christ, we must share Christ with people we know and interact with every day. What does it actually look like to live an evangelistic lifestyle? Here are seven steps:
(Credit to Johnathan Orr for conceptualizing these seven steps.)
We have the hope of Christ because someone shared it with us. And now we have the incredible privilege of sharing it with others.
The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.
When writing about the ministry that Christians have to “persuade others” (1 Corinthians 4:11), Paul wrote that “[we have] this ministry by the mercy of God” (4:1). God has involved us in the work of evangelism as a gift of his mercy. He doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes or save his people, but he has chosen to involve us.
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I will share my faith with _______(name)________ on ________(day/time/place)________. I will start the conversation by _______________________. I will end the conversation by inviting them to do the Know Jesus Bible study with me.
Pray for the people that you’ve committed to share with, that God would save them by his grace.