by Berry Kercheville
I hear it all the time. “There are some Christians that are really good at evangelism, but I’m not one of them. I’m terrible at it. It just isn’t my gift.”
If you believe you fit into that category (as most of us do), I would like you to rethink how you have evaluated yourself. First, what do you mean by “evangelism?” Most people think of evangelism as the ability to talk to a stranger about the Lord or teach a lesson to an unbeliever. But evangelism involves far more basic abilities other than the ability to talk to strangers or effectively teach a series of lessons to a non-Christian.
The following are seven ways most Christians can promote the work of saving souls without needing superior talent to do so:
- Be Hospitable. When Jesus called Matthew from the tax office, he immediately planned a dinner party with all his tax collector friends and invited Jesus to join the party (Luke 5:27-32). Matthew may not have yet been able to teach his friends, but he knew Jesus could. Making deeper connections with people around us by inviting them to our homes for a meal, creates opportunities that we would not otherwise have had.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings. When you leave your house, be conscious of the people around you. When Jesus saw the multitudes, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). Too often, we go mindlessly about our business without considering the dying world around us. Compassion demands that we see others as Jesus saw them. Awareness allows us to see opportunities and stirs us to pray. Jesus taught the woman at the well outside of Sychar while the apostles went into the city to buy food. But the disciples made no connections in the city. Jesus gave the admonition, “Lift up your eyes, the fields are white unto harvest.” We also need to open our eyes.
- Have a Conversation. Don’t think about how you might direct the conversation to spiritual things, just have a conversation. Be friendly; break the ice; ask questions. Ask about how their day is going. Ask about their family. If possible, ask about their interests – to what do they give their time and energy? Answers to these questions may open a door. Hopefully, something in the conversation would allow you to mention your interests. You can say something like, “I love the Bible study I’m in right now. I’m learning so much. It is really helping me.” Isn’t that similar to how Jesus opened a conversation with the woman at the well (John 4)?
- Make a New Friend. As Christians we already have all the friends we need in the church. In fact, we may have so many social appointments with other Christians that we have no time to bring someone else into our circle. This is a grave error and common for most Christians. But if you will make a new friend, the chances of that friend coming to Christ go up dramatically. To make a new friend, have one goal: make some kind connection every week, even if it is just a phone call. Friends connect; friends do things together.
- Connect Your New Friend to Your Friends in the Church. Evangelism is always easiest when you have help. Widening the circle of connections is also helpful for your new friend. He or she will feel genuinely cared for and included. When you have social appointments with fellow Christians, invite your friend. It just takes a little thoughtfulness. It is the way love is communicated.
- Create a 6-8 Week Bible Study in Your Home. Pick a time when you know your friend will be available. You can even tell your friend that you are planning the study with a few others and ask what would be a good time for him or her. Do not plan the class to be directed at your friend; simply plan a study like James, First Peter, or Ephesians and ask your friend to join it. Invite at least one Christian with whom you have confidence to teach with gentleness and compassion. Make sure your fellow Christians in the class have a similar compassion.
- Pray, pray, pray. Pray for courage. Pray for opportunities. Pray for your friend. God gives the increase. Do not be discouraged just because some do not respond to the gospel. There are others who will. Besides, it was important for those who did not respond to hear the gospel message. Everyone deserves a chance. Keep connecting and keep praying.
You see, evangelism is not reserved for the chosen few with extraordinary talent. It is something we all can do. It is something we all must do. Eternity is at stake, and there is nothing in the world more valuable than a person’s soul.