In my previous post (http://focusmagazine.org/9-ways-to-be-evangelistic-without-being-the-teacher-part-1.php), we looked at the first four of nine ways Christians can be evangelists without being the teacher. The common misunderstanding that evangelism is limited to the one doing the teaching has left the work of reaching the lost in the hands of a few. However, to practice God’s plan for a growing church, “the whole body, is joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly” (Eph. 4:16). The following are five more ways Christians can participate in evangelism without being the teacher.
5. Can You Practice Hospitality?
New Testament writers repeatedly commanded Christians to be hospitable. “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Rom. 12:13). “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). Jesus often used meals in homes as an opportunity to connect and teach. It is truly amazing that in an age where most Christians live in nice homes or even nice apartments, so few open their homes, especially to guests who are not Christians. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived in a twelve-foot wide mobile home. Today, most would believe that would be inadequate for hospitality. And yet, my grandparents devoted themselves to filling their little home with those who visited worship. Quite often grandma was not prepared for the number she invited. No worry, she would pull out leftovers to complete the main meal. There were enough green beans for three people, enough corn for three others, some black eyed peas, some baked beans, two different kinds of bread, and three different meats. There was enough for everyone though everyone could not have everything on the table. Hospitality does not need to be fancy. In fact, the attempt to be fancy is the reason most do not practice hospitality. Please, fancy and formal is what limits others from being hospitable and can even be ineffective. Guests are more comfortable when we just share a simple meal – and we are more comfortable as well. The house need not be perfect. Give the floors a quick sweeping, clean the bathroom, and let the rest go. Being hospitable is what is important. If you believe your house and meal needs to reflect a food magazine advertisement, you will rarely be hospitable. Remember, when you share your home and food with a lost soul, you have shared a meal with the Lord himself (Matthew 25:31-46). Don’t leave the Lord outside your door.
6. Can You Strengthen the Weak and Encourage New Christians?
One of the most frustrating areas of evangelism is to work hard bringing a new soul to Christ only to have them fall away after a few weeks or months. This again is where Christians who are unaccustomed to working with the lost do not understand the tremendous changes these must make once they came to Christ. Most seem to expect that when a person is baptized, he or she has arrived. No, the first two years of a new Christian’s life is a very delicate, wobbly time for them. They have had to leave a sinful lifestyle with all the friends that are connected to that lifestyle. If we do not replace their friendships and support group, they will wither. Often, they will even question whether their decision to become a Christian was the right one. Therefore, brother and sister, here is something most can do – devote yourself to building deep brotherly friendships with new Christians. Caution! You will have to get your hands dirty. New Christians experience ups and downs. At first they will tend to rely heavily on you, they will fall often, and need someone to be patient with them and not give up on them. It will also be your job to help others connect to your new soul. This will broaden a new Christian’s support group and help relieve you from being the sole encourager. This work is critical and will make an eternal difference. Here is the key: get close enough so that you truly love this new soul. At first, it will feel like an infringement on your time. But you will be doing the nurturing the Lord desires, and in the end, you will receive the greatest benefit. Remember, it does no good for us to bring someone in the front door if they are just going to walk out the back.
7. Can You Care for the Sick, Especially Unbelievers?
Without a doubt, more Christians are equipped to the aid members who are sick than any other work in the church. All we need is to add a dimension that is often neglected. First, our own members who fall ill often have unbelieving relatives. As you care for a fellow Christian, take the opportunity to connect with and aid the unbelieving relatives who are in a time of stress. Second, be acutely aware of unbelieving co-workers, friends, and neighbors who fall ill. Be the first to provide food, visit them in the hospital, and aid their relatives as they care for their loved one. Keep the connection fresh by inviting them to your home for dinner once your friend has recovered. Include one or two Christian friends in your invitation who are especially equipped in inviting and teaching. This is a great evangelistic work that many Christians are able to do. Just as the other good works we have mentioned, this will take devotion, thoughtfulness, time, and money.
8. Can You Be a Babysitter?
At first, this may seem odd to you, but I can tell you that without Christians who will babysit, many lost souls will stay lost. Here are some examples of how important this need is. Do you have a preacher in your church who has young children at home? How will he teach a woman alone? He cannot go to her house or meet her alone. He will need his wife with him, and therefore will need a member to volunteer to babysit while he and his wife teach. Or, how will he teach a woman in the daytime who has young children at home? Who will take care of her children while he teaches? I can tell you by experience, it is impossible to get a person to concentrate while his or her children keep interrupting. Another example is a young Christian mother who is capable of teaching her friend or neighbor. Who will take care of her children while she teaches? Also, a daytime ladies class that is intended to be evangelistic will need the children in another room and kept occupied so that guests can concentrate without the disruptions that come from their own children as well as others. Yes, we need babysitters! But do you know how many times I have had a fellow Christian think of this as a demeaning task or that I was trying to dump my kids for the evening? Consider, who is more important, the teacher or the babysitter? Silly question, isn’t it? Both are equally important. The babysitter may not be equipped to teach, but the teacher is worthless without the babysitter. This important work does not take a lot of talent, but it is critical if evangelism is to be successful.
9. Can You Devote Yourself to Prayer?
Now who can’t do this? Sure, everyone can pray, but not everyone will labor diligently in prayer, especially prayer for those we are teaching and those who are in spiritual need in the church. Add to this, a simple card sent to a new soul at appropriate times that just says, “I’m praying for you because you are important to God and to me.” It is the Lord who is directing the work of saving souls. Paul often prayed and encouraged others to pray for open doors and for the gospel to spread (Col. 4:2-3; 2 Thes. 3:1). If evangelism is going to be successful, we need Christians on our team who will devote themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42). Further, it should not just be a few individuals who are praying for the lost, the whole church needs to set aside regular times for this kind of praying.
I hope you can see that evangelism is far more than just being the one who teaches. No one can take on the whole conversion process. We need every Christian involved. This is how “the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16).