In just a few days, members of our youth group will be heading out to the Cinco de Mayo festival here in town to share the gospel with people who come up to our table. Our goal is not to recruit people to come to our youth group or even the church. Our goal is to speak the gospel of Christ to people who haven’t heard it.
For some of us, even the thought of sharing the gospel is terrifying. We are afraid of getting into an argument, or being asked a question that we don’t know the answer to, or just being considered weird. Some are hesitant to evangelize because they feel they are not ‘gifted’ or not adequately trained in how to do it. Others understand the necessity of evangelism and they will pass out a flyer or a tract, but they still won’t talk to somebody. Whatever our hesitancy to share the gospel, we must remember two things: Evangelism is a matter of obedience, not giftedness; and, evangelism is the speaking of the message of Christ, not just the handing out of the message of Christ. In this article I’d like to propose 3 tips for helping us get the gospel conversation started.
The first tip would be to pray beforehand. If you know a person at work or school, who is not a Christian and you want to share the gospel with him/her, begin to pray for opportunities to do so. Paul asked the Colossians to pray this for him in Col 4:3. Specifically, he asked for an open door to share the gospel. You will be amazed at how God answers this prayer faithfully. I’ve had this happen in my own life where, out of the blue, someone will randomly bring up spiritual things or questions about Christianity. I was completely shocked by their question, but then I remember I had been praying for an opportunity and God gave it.
The second tip would be to relax. Of course we want to do a good job in our gospel presentation and we want to faithfully honor God, but we can relax knowing that the other person’s eternal destiny does not rest on how amazingly incredible our gospel presentation is. Its not because of us that people go to hell, and its not because of us that people get saved. Salvation is entirely God’s work, from beginning to end, so we need to stop placing this pressure on ourselves to make our conversation absolutely perfect. In Phil 1:15-18, Paul says that some people are preaching Christ out of love, and others out of envy. But whatever the reason, he says, he’s just glad they are speaking of Christ. Don’t wait to get it perfect, because then you will never begin! Just begin speaking of Christ.
The third tip would be to ask good questions. You’ll be surprised to hear how many questions we ask each other in a casual conversation. Why not throw in a question about spiritual things? People love to talk about themselves, so ask them their particular beliefs about things like: heaven, hell, God, etc. At least now the conversation is on the topic of spiritual things and we can work in the gospel. Good questions are open ended questions, which means, people can’t answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ A question like: “Are you a Christian?” is not an open ended question because they can just answer ‘yes’ and then the conversation is over or shifting to another topic. Ask a question like: “What do you think happens when you die?” That type of question must be answered with more than just a yes/no.
I hope we can begin to get over our fear of evangelism by simply beginning to engage in it. The more you do it, the less afraid you will be. Hopefully, we can use these tips to begin the conversations that may eventually lead to eternal life.
Pastor Mark Scialabba