For many, one of the biggest challenges of being a Christian is simply sharing what you believe!
As an introvert, I can especially relate to this! I find it hard to witness in a way that is unnatural to my personality style, and thanks to this book, have embraced my personality style and amped up my witnessing efforts within it.
What I have learned in my studies is that not everyone is built to witness and share in the same way, and in the Word of God, we find many scenarios where different approaches are used.
But there is one approach that we, as believers, are not using nearly like we should. It involves the use of two very important things: patience and community.
I am not advocating for simply living a “good life” in front of others. While yes, our testimony should be becoming of Christ and the gospel, we must take care to do more than know Christianity is true—we must also show it.
This means our actions must reflect our words!
I titled this post, “4 Reasons You Might Be Doing Evangelism Wrong.” Now, there really is no wrong way to do evangelism. In fact, the Apostle Paul said, in Philippians 1:18, “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
In the context of the chapter, Paul is essentially saying, “Who cares how the gospel was preached? Christ was preached—so I rejoice!”
God will accomplish what He sets out to do, even when unfaithful methods of men are used.
But there may be a wrong way for you to do evangelism. God is sovereign. He is able to use you, me, and anyone else in the path of an unbeliever in order to draw them to Himself. Some sow seed, some harvest the fruit! I find that, more often than not, I am a good sower. I am able to sow the seed of the gospel, whether in a big way or a small way!
We are often guilty of treating evangelism as an “event.” Church-wide visitation, for example, is evangelism. But many fail to realize that their life is evangelism!
Earlier, I mentioned patience and community.
There are at least four reasons why I believe they are necessary and could fundamentally change your effectiveness in winning the lost.
#1. We Live in an Acts 17 Culture
The Apostle Paul often receives critics from modern-day preachers because of his lack of “effectiveness” following his discourse on Mars Hill in Acts 17.
The comparison is often drawn between this and the second chapter of Acts, in which thousands came to Christ under the preaching of the Apostle Peter.
But, these preachers often fail to realize the profound differences between these two cultures!
In modern day terms, I believe our culture probably identified more with the Acts 2 culture about 40 or 50 years ago and before. Satan’s forces have always been at work, but it is a pretty recent development that atheism has become evangelistic.
In contrast, we are living in Acts 17 days. The Epicureans (atheists) and the Stoics (pantheists) had the leading philosophers of the day, and when Paul took them on, he had to use a unique approach.
His approach started with the God of creation and worked forward from there, because they didn’t understand the theological backdrop like the Jews did in Acts 2.
Practically speaking, this means we cannot use some of the words we used to use on the street, and assume everyone will know what they mean. If you walk up to a stranger and ask, “have you been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ?”, they are going to think you have lost your marbles.
But with some context, as I believe the Apostle Paul would give if he were alive today, they can come to understand! I’m not saying we stop using Bible words—not at all! I’m simply saying that rather than to be ignorant as to the culture we live in today, instead, we should be mindful of it, and faithfully share the gospel in spite of and in light of it.
#2. Jesus Valued Time with Sinners
The Bible says that “as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples” (Mark 2:15) and that Jesus was “a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19).
Today, we Christians often make a dreadful mistake. Instead of communing with sinners and showing patience with them in their unbelief, we completely isolate ourselves from them and pretend they don’t exist.
Before you call me a liar, I want you to challenge yourself. When was the last time you can remember intentionally going out to dinner, or having someone over, who you knew needed to hear the gospel?
Chances are, many of you are not able to answer because it has been so long.
It sounds cliche, as many Christian statements do, but the truth is that we are to live in the world but not of the world. The problem is—many of us aren’t even living in it!
We have manufactured our own version of heaven; we have decided that we don’t like to be associated with those who don’t believe like us, and so we have alienated ourselves from their presence altogether.
Shame on us.
Yes—there are limitations. And, we should never find ourselves committing sin and pretending to do it in the name of the gospel.
But the bottom line is that we have been put here for a purpose—to do ministry, to share life with those who need the gospel, and to simply give it to them! God can do much more in His sovereignty than we can. Why won’t we let Him?
Show up when and where God wants you to, be there for those who need Him, and you will be amazed at how He can use you and your life to draw others to Himself.
#3. The Statistics are Overwhelming
As part of my Bible college curriculum, I am currently reading a book titled Church Still Works by Paul Chappell and Clayton Reed.
The book highlights many statistics which show areas where those who share our Independent Baptist convictions are excelling, and also where much room is left for improvement.
The book tells of a survey done many years ago by the Institute for American Church Growth. The survey asked 10,000 people about their pilgrimage to salvation and church membership. The numbers, for me, were startling.
While only 1% of those who were currently saved, church-going members were brought in by door-to-door visitation, a whopping 79% were brought in by a close friend or relative!
There were others factors presented as well in the chart, but even the next most effective draw, which was the pastor himself, came in at just 6% of the 10,000 surveyed.
In short: we MUST stop viewing evangelism as some “once-weekly” event, and start viewing it as our lives.
I am FOR door-to-door visitation. I am FOR church programs. I am FOR special evangelistic meetings. But I am also FOR building relationships with our family and friends who need the gospel.
These are the ones God has placed around us and entrusted us to witness to. These are the ones God has placed in our path that we might be an effective witness and a light for Him.
I am going to make a bold statement, but I believe it—If you go door-to-door witnessing, but make no attempt to win those closest to you who need Christ, you might be doing evangelism wrong.
Jesus did it by showing grace and compassion, exposing sin and untruth, and first becoming a friend to everyone He possibly could.
#4. The Gospel is Still the Same
In Romans 1:16, Paul proclaims, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Despite the changing times, the changing winds of culture, and the variability of truth in the minds of men, Christ and His Gospel still reigns supreme.
Though many leaders have come and gone, Christ, whose ministry on earth was no more than three years and whose human life was no more than 33, is still changing hearts today. He is still removing “stony hearts of flesh” and creating “clean hearts.”
It would do us good to, every once in awhile, bask in amazement at the glory of God; to place our faults and fears in His hand, and to remember that He is sovereign over every aspect of our lives. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way”, says Psalm 37:23.
Are we to believe that our witness is so effective that we can lead someone to Christ on our own accord? If you witness to a person, and they receive Christ, it is because the Holy Spirit has been moving in his life.
Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” In today’s terms, that means Paul shared the gospel, Apollos prepared the person, and God saved the soul! Evangelism is a process, and if you have not been a part of that process and experience, then you just might be doing evangelism wrong.
So the next time you are tempted to think of evangelism as an event, I pray that will you reconsider. I pray that you will begin to see that evangelism is God’s way of increasing the Church, and that God has given us all unique gifts for evangelism.
God is able to take even the smallest of seeds planted, and turn it into a beautiful garden.
I wonder if, when the Apostle Paul (then Saul) witnessed the stoning of Stephen (see Acts 7:58), a small seed was planted. I wonder if the Apostle’s message and dedication to Christ stuck with young Saul that day.
Did an evangelist visit young Saul’s door one day? The Scriptures don’t say. But Saul had an encounter with God that changed his life forever.
I can’t help but believe, though, that the witness of Stephen stuck with him. And perhaps that Stephen simply planted the seed, some of the other faithful Christians (whom Saul persecuted) watered the seed, and on the road to Damascus, God finally gave the increase.
The day you begin to see yourself as a part of God’s overall plan for evangelizing this lost and dying world, is the day you will, no doubt, become the most effective for Him.
Recommended Further Reading:
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