One of the marks of a healthy church is that they are consumed with the Gospel to the point that the people are evangelizing the lost all around them. While people are careful today not to impose their feelings or beliefs upon others, Christians should not view the Gospel as an imposition rather as an act of love for their God and their communities.
Evangelism should not be coercion or manipulation. Christians should feel free to share the truth of God’s Word and allow God’s Word to speak freely to the heart of those they are reaching. Some Christians are challenged in terms of how to evangelize and many people present things in different ways.
First of all, let’s be on the same page in terms of what is evangelism? Christian scholar, John Stott says, “To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe.” It is good for us to know that evangelism is much more than sharing our personal testimony with others. Biblical evangelism takes its definition from Scripture.
One of my favorite pastors / authors, Mark Devers, wrote well when describing things to remember in the “how to” of evangelism. He gave eight things to consider:
1. Tell people with honesty that if they repent and believe, they will be saved—but it will be costly. (They must understand their sinful condition and the price of their sin. Don’t sugarcoat it.)
2. Tell people with urgency that if they repent and believe, they will be saved—but they must decide now. (Today is the day of salvation. 2 Cor. 6:2)
3. Tell people with joy that if they repent and believe the good news, they will be saved (Acts 16:31).
4. Use the Bible. (They are God’s ideas. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17)
5. Realize that the lives of individual Christians and of the church as a whole are a central part of evangelism. (Our personal lives in the way we live should give credibility to the Gospel we proclaim.)
6. Remember to pray. (Paul prayed, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1)
7. Build relationships with non-Christians. (Don’t be so busy that you don’t have time to reach the lost.”)
8. Work together with other Christians to take the gospel to those who don’t live around any Christians. (Be active in your life-groups or work with other friends.)
Remember, if evangelism is not a TOP priority in our churches and in our own personal lives then it will fail to be a priority at all. A heart that is given to reach the lost will think differently each day as one lives their lives.