When we think of personal evangelism, we need to think of it as any spiritual discipline. We need to practice it and make it part of our daily routine just as we make reading the Bible and prayer part of our daily lives. Each person is tasked with the responsibility to share the Gospel that was entrusted to us (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). We need to be faithful to the Word and act as ambassadors with a message that needs to go out into the world.
Thinking through the issue of being an ambassador of Jesus struck home anew to me. My job as a Christian is to speak on His behalf, to everyone, so that He can save some. Now, this is not only engaging in conversation, telling facts about Jesus, but rather speaking the truth of Jesus (Romans 10:14-17). This said we need to realize that our only hope in evangelism is in the sovereignty of God. It is not about the method or our silent works, but it is about the message and the work God is doing through His Spirit. We need to remember the power behind the message of the Gospel, Christ Himself. This means I should always be prepared, ask good questions, listen well, and not ambushing people. We should be honest with them and never give up or lose heart. I need to remind myself that God is the one who saves, not me, or how good and well packaged my message is.
How should we go about evangelism?
- Accept our job
- Understand that we all have the responsibility
- Be faithful in the task
- Take risks
- Prepare well
- Look opportunities
- And focus on my love for God and others.
Part of personal evangelism is being part of a church. Our love for one another makes the Gospel visible (John 13:35) as we care for one another. We show people the Gospel through our love for one another, sinning, praying, giving, Baptism, and partaking in the Lord’s Supper. But most of all, we show the Gospel through the preaching of the Word. We need to understand that Jesus gave the responsibility to all of the church, not to the pastor only. The pastor’s job is to preach the Gospel, and the members’ job is to bring people to the gathering of the church to hear and see the Gospel.
If the church is not healthy in the way they live out their testimony of loving one another and growing in holiness, evangelism will not take place. It is through the church growing in holiness that evangelism takes place. The church should act as a wrestling tag team. It is a team effort. We should work together in the mission of evangelism. This is why we have the body to encourage us to keep it up or join hands when we are tired. It is easy to lose heart or grow weary in evangelism and that is why we need the body to encourage one another.
One of the main reasons a local church is to be a community of love is so that others will know the God of love. God made people in His image to know Him. The life of the local congregation makes the audible gospel visible. And we must all have a part in that evangelism. The least you can do is to come to church regularly. So that you can care for the body and display the Gospel as you worship and love the other members.
This is where the pastor acts in evangelism. They are given the task to equip the church in the ministry of evangelism through the Word (Ephesians 4:12). Firstly, they should equip the saints in demonstrating how to evangelize. The pastor is also a member of the church and should engage in evangelism as any other church member (1 Timothy 6:20). J.I Packer says: “the biggest part of a pastor’s role of evangelism would take place on a Sunday when he is preaching God’s Word, giving people to understand the truth of the Gospel. Secondly, exposing God’s Word to God’s people. Thirdly, a pastor can encourage evangelism and include personal testimonies of evangelism in the service, which would encourage the church as a whole. Fourthly, give out books, and have personal conversations with the members about the books. It takes the whole church, the individuals, groups, and the elders to evangelize.
What should the culture of evangelism be?
There is a culture of freedom in evangelism. It is not my responsibility to save people, because that is for God to do, but it is my responsibility to evangelize and to be used by God. We are not pressured because we are not responsible for peoples’ reaction to the Gospel.
- There is however an urgency to evangelism. We should always call people to turn away from the world and towards Jesus. We need to understand that the attitude around evangelism is not to seek what is ours, but what is God’s, and gladly spend and be spent for other souls (2 Corinthians 12:14-15).
- There is a love culture present. We do evangelism out of our love overflow towards God and our neighbor. It is done out of the love we have for our neighbor that is going to hell. Our motives should also be right when it comes to Evangelism. We cannot do it to feel good about ourselves. All glory belongs to God.
- There is a fear involved. Evangelism is sometimes scary, so why do not have to do it alone or engage in a formal way. We should do it together and in different settings. It can take on many forms, reading the Bible together, encouraging a co-worker, building relationships on your kid’s playground, or get to know the people around you, asking questions. It is a culture of anywhere and everywhere, it should form part of our habitual life.
The danger of so-called Evangelism.
We should be careful of programs or entertainment as it most often produces converts, not disciples. People being attracted to everything else other than the Gospel. There is also a culture of persuading people because of the urgency of eternal death. Evangelism is sharing the Gospel intending to persuade people to turn from the world to Christ. It is not, however, a culture of manipulation. Our confidence should be in the Gospel and not in gimmicks or methods.
The culture of evangelism is one of honesty and clarity. Be honest about the urgency and the promises. If they repent and believe they will be saved, but it comes with a cost. They will be required to take up their cross daily (Luke 14:27). It also includes confronting their sin and their rebellion against God. There is not a better or worse deal. It is the only deal on the table. But we should remind ourselves that it is a joy. It is a joy to see someone come to Christ and glorify Him. All humans are made to love, love. God is love and we are created to love God. This is why Christ came to reconcile us to God and an open relationship with Him.
We should pray, thanking God for His sovereignty in our salvation. Pray for others to be saved because we know they cannot be saved by our doing. It is God’s work to save people, we should ask Him to help us in our job of evangelism.
I pray that God would help me to be clear with His message to save people and to point them to the church He gave me.
 Evangelism J. M Stiles (64)
 Ibid (111)
 Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I Packer (51)
 Ibid (52)
 Ibid (55)
 Ibid (75-76)
 Evangelism, J.M Stiles (27)