How we Turned Evangelism from a Blessing into a Burden
Is that how you feel? Well, I think you’re in the right place to make some headway in the direction of evangelism being a blessing.
While there can be myriad reasons for this feeling, I’ve seen a common reason rise to the surface above others: we’re so focused on how we’re going to present the gospel, we completely overlook the conversations that lead to the gospel.
Here is how we can overcome this dilemma.
Think in terms of conversational milestones
Evangelism is all about milestones, and those milestones are in the form of conversations. As we meet people, share life with them, and get to know them, opportunities naturally open to explore areas of significance.
This could be a specific religious view they believe, a worldview they adhere to, a health struggle, dissatisfaction with work, family drama, or any number of things. As these topics come up, we can ask questions, we can show empathy, we can thank them for sharing, and we can begin sharing our own views and experiences while explaining how Jesus showed up for us.
Let conversations unfold naturally
When we approach evangelism in terms of conversations, the pressure to run headfirst into a formal, rehearsed gospel presentation vanishes. In its place is a beautiful process where we can simply get to know someone and let the conversations naturally unfold toward things of meaning. There is of course no time limit for this. It’s something that could happen in five minutes, five months, or longer. Consider a couple examples of this from Scripture.
A conversation that leads to the gospel can be short, sweet, and very much to the point. I think of Philip talking with the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. Philip sees him reading, asks him a question about what he’s reading, and moments later they’re looking for water so the Ethiopian can be baptized.
Other times, conversations can be much longer and take more work. I think of Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17. Here, Paul converses at a very deep level with men entrenched in philosophy. The text says some wanted to hear him again, meaning ongoing conversations. In both instances (and there are more), we see people starting conversations and ultimately sharing what they know about Jesus as the Lord opens opportunities.
This is all that’s required of us as well – having conversations and sharing what know we about Jesus as the Lord opens opportunities.
Share what you know
I think this last point can’t be overstated enough – sharing what we know.
Let’s go back to the very first time the good news of the gospel was shared. The first people to hear the gospel were the male disciples of Jesus Christ. Who did they hear it from?
Mark 16:8 tells us that they heard it from the women who were at the tomb that Sunday morning. So, what did these women know? They knew that Jesus, who said He came to save people from their sins, had been raised from the dead. The One who said He could save us did just that.
Of course, in Luke 24, we see the men didn’t immediately believe (which is a sermon in itself), but that’s not the point here. The women shared what they knew, and it wasn’t scholarly, high-minded, or deeply philosophical. It was simply the truth that Jesus is who He says He is.
We must keep things in mind as we seek to build relationships with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and others. Our job is to start conversations, stay engaged, look for opportunities to move toward things of meaning, and as we begin to talk about how Jesus has worked in our lives, we simply share what we know about Him.
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