How to Gear Up for Gospel Conversations
Noted for his extraordinary life of public service, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli gave the following advice, “the secret to success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” In other words, “be prepared.”
This is why athletes train, soldiers drill, and actors rehearse. They all recognize that there is a correlation between how effective we are in our endeavors and how willing we are to prepare for those endeavors.
The same principle of preparation holds true in evangelism, yet our implementation is sometimes shortsighted. We often think that being prepared to share the gospel means memorizing a script and/or working up enough boldness to deliver the message.
However, the main emphasis on preparation for sharing the gospel in the New Testament is preparing ourselves spiritually for our role as servants and ambassadors of Christ who operate in the power of the Holy Spirit.
For example, notice Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:21,
“If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.”
With that goal in mind, here are some often overlooked ways to prepare ourselves for sharing our faith about Jesus:
1. Abide in Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Abiding in Jesus means maintaining close fellowship with Him. This involves focusing your thoughts on Him, communicating with Him, and maintaining that focus and communication throughout your day. It also means recognizing your dependence on Him for all things and that without Him, “you can do nothing” of eternal significance, including effectively sharing the gospel.
2. Keep short accounts with God.
Believers have been freed from the penalty of sin, but still struggle with the power of sin in their lives. Regarding evangelism, sin dulls our desire to please the Lord, our focus on the mission, our love for others, and our awareness of opportunities to share our faith. The remedy for this is prescribed in 1 John 1:9:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Confess” means that we agree with God that we have sinned against Him and ask for His forgiveness and help in overcoming it. This is not a one-time event or even a once-a-day day drill. It is coming to Him to confess our sins the moment we are aware of them. Doing this will foster our fellowship and communication with Him which is vital for the guidance, insight, and power we need to share our faith.
3. Expect and counter opposition.
Evangelism is an assault on Satan’s territory. He and his demons will do everything in their power to stop us from sharing the gospel, the tool that delivers people from his kingdom to God’s. His attacks of deception and distraction are aimed both at us as we share the gospel as well as the non-believer who hears the message. We need to have our armor on beforehand as described in Ephesians 6.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Eph. 6:10-13
The main emphasis of that passage is that the armor of God helps us stand our ground to do what God has called us to do, including sharing the gospel which is the ultimate example of the “sword of the spirit.”
4. Surrender to the Spirit.
Paul commands us to “walk in the Spirit” Gal. 5:16. One way we can facilitate this is to approach each new day with a desire and willingness to follow the Holy Spirit as He directs you to opportunities to share the gospel. I refer to these opportunities as “God appointments” and they can occur at the most unexpected times. In addition, approach these opportunities with sensitivity to God’s direction during conversations and flexibility in following it. One of the best ways to tell if you are surrendered to the Holy Spirit is to examine the fruit of your life at that moment. It should resemble Gal. 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
When I find that I am not producing this fruit, it is usually because I am not in step with suggestions 1 and 2 above. The fruit of the Spirit not only serves to confirm that we are walking in the Spirit but also is a fantastic apologetic to others, particularly when circumstances are tough as in our current day.
Preparing to share the gospel involves preparing ourselves to share the gospel. Consider the words of Lewis Sperry Chafer who founded Dallas Seminary and was a long-time evangelist. He concludes His book, True Evangelism, with these words:
“True evangelism begins with a cleansed priest, and while this human instrument may cooperate in much of the subsequent work in seeking the lost, he is ever reminded that ‘It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.’”
PO Box 703929
Dallas, TX 75370-3929