Monday, January 12, 2015

Quick Start Guide to Evangelism

You're convinced. 

You know you are supposed to be calling the world to come to Jesus.

We've talked about the fundamental ideas that lead to successful evangelism.

You've read the story of a sister whose life was changed.

Maybe you've felt a little guilty thinking of the lost around you.  Or worried  Or sad.  Maybe you've felt a stirring of excitement.  How wonderful it would be to see the Kingdom of God grow and know you've had a small part in it! Maybe you simply feel scared, as if God is asking for something you don't know how to give.

Are you willing to try?  let me offer you a quickstart guide (like for your computer) to evangelism!

1. Pray.  Prayer is your first and best evangelism tool.  Better than any tract, video or book on how to reach your neighbor.  You've got to pray daily, earnestly and both generally and specifically. 

Generally - pray for open hearts and God's help to see the white fields around you.  Dear Lord, open my eyes.  I am too often blind to my opportunities.  Please let me be ready to share your good news with anyone who might listen!

Specifically - pray by name for lost people in your life, both people you love and people you know.  (Of course you'll have to pick who to pray for but more on that in a moment.) Not just Dear Lord, please bless Aunt Margie, But Dear Lord, I want to find a way to tell Aunt Margie about you.  I need your help.  She's coming over for lunch on Tuesday.  Help me know what to say!

2. Target.  As much as you would like to reach every lost person you know within the month, it seems unlikely.  Even Jesus with three years and a perfect life, did not simply convert all of Palestine.  So start thinking about a person or two that you could reach out to. 

For our purposes today, don't begin with those far away.  Trust me I believe in missions, prison ministries and the wonderful work being done through postal correspondence and the web, but Melissa will be writing about that in a future post.  Today, ask yourself this: Is there someone who has been visiting at church but isn't a Christian?  Perhaps a brother or sister's spouse whose never committed their life to Christ?  Is there someone in your family that might be willing to visit your congregation with you?  Or a coworker/friend from High School/fellow PTA mom who has been bemoaning their lack of faith or struggling with some life issue?  Put them on your short list of people to pray for.  And then look for any possible opportunity to reach out to them. (Reach out, not annoy!  If you're not sure how to do that, watch out for our next evangelism post covering that topic.)

3. Delve into the word. There is no substitute for personal Bible study.  Disciples make more disciples.  Lukewarm pew-sitters discourage others from even beginning on the journey to God.  The knowledge you absorb from the Word, the joy and fire of your walk with God, the pleasure of following Christ Jesus, these are the things that will attract seekers to you as you share them. 

4. Abandon your excuses.  Think for a moment about what's been holding you back.  Is it that you are hesitant at the thought of standing on a street corner shouting evangelistic slogans at the passersby, or knocking on your neighbors doors to pass out tracts?  Understandable, but we're talking about reaching out to people you already know and working to not annoy them as well.

Maybe you feel you're not "holy" enough to evangelize.  If  you really have some unresolved sin then that's a real problem.  But while this might be a valid problem today, it can not be a long-term excuse or we have failed in our calling to be holy as he is holy.  And don't forget the Samaritan woman didn't move out of her boyfriend's house, spend six months in sack cloth and ashes and then announce that she'd found the Messiah.  She got started right away. 

A final crucial stumbling block is knowledge. Perhaps you think you don't know enough, perhaps you haven't been studying the Bible for long or you feel you lack some specific knowledge you might need. If so there are also wonderful studies specifically designed to help you be ready to meet the apologetics/doctrinal challenges of evangelism. However it has been my personal experience that in about 10% of my evangelism opportunities, I have needed detailed apologetics or doctrinal information.  That 10% of people are very important and worth every bit of study you do to help them, however that leaves 90% of the people that you are ready to help today.
If you really don't know the basics of who God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit are, sin, heaven/hell, what happens when we die, how we are saved, a Christian's responsibilities etc, then you'll need a more experienced partner to help you.  The person who taught you for example will probably be willing to also teach any person you are willing to bring.  (Speaking from personal experience, I have seen several very young Christians bring family members to Christ with the aid of the Christian who taught them!) If that person isn't an option or if you are ready to try and teach on your own, consider meeting once a week with an elder or older women in your church who is experienced in evangelism and willing to teach you as you teach the person you've been praying for.

So what are you waiting for?

Ready to join the Spirit and the church and say, "Come!"?

Ready to put aside your "spirit of timidity" and have a "spirit of boldness?"

Ready to share the gift you have received?

Ready?  Set?

No?  Looking for a way to start the conversation?  Suggestions on how to get started or what to study?  Don't worry, there's a post on just that coming!

Now go!


No comments:

Post a Comment