“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:35-38)
Many of us experience fear and trepidation over the thought of evangelism. Sometimes it’s because we put too much pressure on ourselves to perform—with airtight arguments, answers to tough questions, or eloquent speech. As a perfectionist, I know I certainly don’t want to look like a fool.
But is God really asking us to be perfect? No, of course not.
Scripture has much to say about keeping a proper perspective in evangelism, including both those involved and what roles they play (cf. John 4:34–38).
Three types of people play a role in evangelism: (1) those who are a part of the harvest––unbelievers, (2) the One who sends out the laborers––God, and (3) the disciples––believers.
Unbelievers include our friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers— the ones with whom we seek to share the gospel.
These individuals all share several things in common. Anyone apart from Christ is:
- Dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1)
- Blind; the gospel is veiled to the perishing (2 Cor. 4:3–4)
- Spiritually foolish (1 Cor. 2:14)
- Lost; without a shepherd (Mark 6:34)
- Deceived and serving the world (Titus 3:3)
Though second on the list, God plays the key part. He is the One who goes before us, with us, and after us in evangelism. He also cares more for our friends and neighbors than we do.
Several things describe the actions of our God:
- Draws us to Himself (John 6:44)
- Giver of new life ( 1 Cor. 3:6)
- Sender of disciples (Matt. 28:18–19)
- Desires all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3–4)
- Diligent to convict (John 16:8)
Our compassionate God moves to action on behalf of His creation. Evangelism works because God orchestrates the whole process. Without God unbelievers would remain dead in sin, blinded, foolish, lost, and deceived.
The third role is you and me. God gives believers the privilege of partnering with Him in this eternal work.
Scriptures also describes believers:
- Saints; set aside for His specific work (Col. 1:2)
- Servants; sent by God to procliam the good news (Acts 16L17)
- Planters; called to plant the seed (1 Cor. 3:5)
- Waterers; watering the seed (1 Cor. 3:6)
- Witnesses; telling your eyewitness account (Acts 1:8)
- Discerning; wisely taking advantage of opportunities (Col. 4:5)
- Dependent; We bring Christ to the lost and God brings the lost to Christ (John 6:44)
When it comes to evangelism, we are not responsible for conversions. That is God’s job! What a load off our shoulders. When we think it’s all our responsibility, we put pressure on ourselves that God never intended.
At the same time, we must remember that we do have a responsibiltiy—contact with unbelievers. God calls us to bring them the gospel message.
We are in a privileged partnership with God, and this perspective makes all the difference!
(This material was adapted from our free online training. Take our personal evangelism course here.)