It was very exciting to hear our kingdom workers this past Sunday talk about how the Lord is at work in their country to save souls. Our kingdom workers also repeatedly challenged us regarding our own mission field, “God is already at work. The question is: will we join him?” As Pastor Babij has been explaining from 2 Corinthians 5:1-21, we are all called to be faithful ambassadors of Christ and ministers of his glorious reconciliation. Yet many believers feel like they still don’t know where to begin. Sure, we all know that we need to understand the gospel and be able to communicate it clearly to others, but what is the right way to evangelize?
There are many ways Christians have sought throughout history to bring the gospel to unbelievers: Christians have preached to passing crowds on streets and in marketplaces, have gone door-to-door with the message in various neighborhoods, have invited unbelievers to evangelistic church services/revival meetings/crusades, have shared meals with unbelievers in a home, have struck up conversations with strangers in public places, have published evangelistic tracts and books, have broadcast over radio/television/the internet, have hosted English/sports/Bible camps for children, have offered education and other practical help to the needy, have begun Bible studies at workplaces and schools, have used self-owned businesses as evangelism sites, have spoken with friends/family members/coworkers amid some joint activity, and much more. Some of these ways of evangelism are better than others, and one way might be more effective in a certain time and place than at another. But before we argue over which way is best, a certain reminder is worth hearing. The following is a quotation attributed to the nineteenth century evangelist, D.L. Moody, after a Christian woman criticized him about his evangelism:
“It is clear you don’t like my way of doing evangelism. You raise some good points. Frankly, I sometimes do not like my way of doing evangelism. But I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”
There are certain non-negotiables when it comes to Christian evangelism. We cannot alter the message (the true gospel, Rom 1:16; Gal 1:6-9), nor can we alter the basic method (spoken/written declaration, Rom 10:17; 1 Cor 1:21), nor can we ignore the necessary character of the messenger (holiness and love, 1 Thes 2:3-12; 1 Cor 13:1-3). But there is at least one other non-negotiable in Christian evangelism: you must actually do it. You must actually go and speak to unbelievers. Unless you do that, unbelievers will not get saved, no matter how extensive your Bible knowledge or how holy your life. After all, Romans 10:14-15 say, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!'”
We don’t all need to evangelize the same way, but we all need to evangelize. And we all need to be purposeful about evangelism. It is good for us to pray for gospel opportunities, but how sincere is such prayer if we do not also work to promote and make ourselves available for those opportunities? Let’s take time, therefore, to think about our evangelism and how we can go about it more faithfully and more strategically.
When it comes to the right way to evangelize, I have always found instructive the words of a certain missionary. When asked how he intended to reach his country with the gospel and establish a church, the missionary revealed his plan in just a few short words:
“Pray. Meet people. Tell them about Jesus.”
Questions to Consider:
1. Do you know any unbelievers? How often do you talk with them? How much time do you spend with them?
2. How can you use your everyday obligations and interests to meet unbelievers and talk about the gospel?
3. Which ways of evangelism do you most prefer? How can you practice them more faithfully and strategically?