Three Common Lies About Failing in Evangelism
Whether not getting the job, losing the customer, or not passing the exam, we have all felt the sting of failure.
Although failure comes in all shapes and sizes, one thing is consistent. No one likes failing. This is especially true when it comes to sharing our faith.
In evangelism, fear of failure can cause us to shrink back from opportunities. Maybe you remember a time when a conversation didn’t go the way you had hoped. Or perhaps you become nervous as you think about what might happen if you were to share.
Our hatred of failure creeps in through these thoughts. Before we know it, we begin ignoring moments when God invites us to share our faith.
But what if we have misunderstood what failure in evangelism is?
If we misunderstand what evangelism is, we can easily think we have failed even if we haven’t. Once we understand what the Bible says about evangelism, we can see failure for what it truly is. (And it’s not that scary.)
Lie 1: “I fail if I can’t answer all their questions.”
People often want to discuss Jesus before deciding to trust in Him. You might be asked tricky questions about your faith whenever you step into a spiritual conversation.
For example, if someone asks you, “Why can I trust the Bible?” and you’re not sure how to respond, it can be easy to think you have failed. But that’s not true.
Faithful evangelism doesn’t mean you need to know all the right answers. Faithful evangelism only requires one right answer: a “Yes” to God to share your faith.
When a tricky question comes our way, it’s helpful to have a response in our back pocket.
At EvanTell, Brock Anderson often says that if someone asks you a question you don’t know, respond by saying, “let me think about that.”
This response is much better than “I don’t know.”
“I don’t know” communicates that there isn’t an answer to their question. “Let me think about that” sounds like you don’t know the answer yet.
Instead of considering this a failure, view this hard question as an invitation to connect with them again.
Lie 2: “I fail if I don’t get through the message of the Gospel.”
If we try to have winsome conversations about Jesus, someone may shut down a spiritual conversation before it ever begins.
You might think, “If they only would’ve given me a chance! I was planning on sharing the Gospel, but they walked away.” Feelings of failure might begin as you reflect upon the encounter.
But you did all you could.
In fact, steamrolling them with the Gospel could have done more harm than good.
Seek to share the gospel. But if someone walks away, interrupts you, or doesn’t let you share, rest knowing that God knows your heart’s intentions.
If you see the person you tried to share with again, be a friend to them. Showcase genuine care. Pray for opportunities. You never know what might happen next.
Lie 3: “I fail if they won’t trust Christ.”
Whenever we ask someone if they want to trust Christ, sometimes we wish we could answer for them.
If they say no, it can be easy to retrace our steps & think, “Oh! If I would’ve used this analogy instead, maybe they would have trusted Jesus!”
We can’t make the decision for them, but only for ourselves.
Only the Spirit can convict hearts.
Instead of placing the weight of their decision on your shoulders, pray. Ask God that He would save your friend.
When evangelizing to someone, fear of failure can be like a muzzle on our mouths when an opportunity comes our way. But our perspective shifts as we understand more and more what evangelism is (and what it isn’t).
Our perspective changes as we learn what God is asking of us. He isn’t asking us to do anything we cannot do without Him. By His Spirit, we are empowered to live a lifestyle of sharing our faith.
Even if your fears feel overwhelming, be encouraged! He is with you. As we proclaim in the Gospel in faith, He will work through us.
We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.
- Colossians 1:28-29
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