In our last post, we shared an interview with Larry Moyer and Hendrickson publishers about his latest book 101 Tips for Evangelism: Practical Ways to Enhance Your Witness. In the interview, Larry mentioned that Tip #1 holds “particular weight” in matters of evangelism. We’re giving you a short excerpt from his book below, so you can read Tip #1 for yourself.
TIP #1 EVANGELISM ALWAYS STARTS WITH OBEDIENCE.
First Things First
Trite, isn’t it? How many times have you heard the phrase used? It may refer to items for an agenda or activities for the weekend. It may be used for the five-year plan we have for our vocation or the five-day plan we have for our vacation. First things first.
Nowhere is that more true than the area of evangelism. Without the right starting point, we let fears and insecurities keep us from fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20). How many times have you heard the following remarks in evangelism or used them yourself?
- “I wish I knew how to turn a conversation to spiritual things. That would help me so much in evangelism.”
- “I’m so afraid. If I could deal with rejection, I’d evangelize more.”
- “Once I learn how to answer questions and objections I know I will be more consistent in evangelism.”
- “I’m going to study what the New Testament says about evangelism. I think that will increase my concern for the lost.”
- “I am going to spend more time in prayer before evangelizing. I think that will help me a lot.”
All of those are appropriate. Learning how to turn conversations to spiritual things is a good skill to develop.
Overcoming fear instead of letting it overcome you will make a difference in evangelism. Learning how to answer questions and objections will make you more confident in talking to the lost. Every believer is helped by knowing what the New Testament says, but that should never be a block to evangelizing. Prayer is an essential part of effective evangelism, but even prayer needs to be followed by obedience.
None of these, though, is the starting point. The starting point is obedience. After all, that is where Christ started with the disciples. In Luke 5, after a fruitless night of fishing, He said to them, “Launch out in the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (v. 4). Peter responded, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Even though an entire night had not produced one fish, they were resolved they would do what Jesus said. After taking in a net-breaking, boat-sinking load, Christ drove his lesson home. He said, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” (v. 10). He wanted to teach them to do what he said when he said to do it no matter how crazy it seemed. Everything starts not with knowing how or training, but with obedience.
Do everything you can to learn and grow in evangelism, but be careful to put first things first—obedience.