What images come to mind when someone mentions evangelism? Missionaries traveling to distant lands? Evangelists speaking to stadiums full of people? Or yourself going about your everyday activities?
The Great Commission in Matthew 28 tells us that we’re supposed to make disciples of Jesus Christ wherever we go. But how in the world are we supposed to do that? The good news is that we don’t need to go door-to-door, coldly walking through an assigned set of questions or angrily confront everyone we meet with their obvious sins. These approaches will not win us many converts!
We can evangelize much more authentically by being friends with the people placed around us, telling them of God’s blessing in our own life. I John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” Possibly the best way to let your neighbors know about the love of God is build relationships. Even if your neighbors aren’t receptive to attending church activities, there are countless ways to strike up a friendship.
Does you neighbor love to watch ESPN in his spare time? Why don’t you invite him to come watch a football game with you? Or maybe he’d even help you coach your son’s Little League team. When it comes to sharing God's Good News, we often see a lot of Jonah in ourselves. We’ll grudgingly bring the gospel to other people, and then stand back and wait for something to happen. Instead, we should love and care for our neighbors, like God cared for and loved Ninevah.
- Let Christ's love shine through the way that you treat others. Sacrificial love is attractive.
- Pray for opportunities for sharing the gospel. Pray specificly for those in your sphere of influence.
- Cultivate relationships with unbelievers. Embrace the opportunities you have to build everyday relationships.
- Share your own story. Be willing to share what you are learning from God's word and how he is shaping you.
- Encourage faith exploration. Doubt can often be a path to faith.
- Be honest about your struggles. It is important for people to understand that Christians are not perfect and they need Jesus too.
- Be a friend through life's ups and downs. Persevering with someone through challenges shows them Jesus.
- Remember that persuasion is God's job not ours. We are just to be faithful with sowing seeds.
In our own church, we have sometimes been in meetings where we’ve celebrated all the good things we’re doing for those in our church, but we need to next ask what we’re doing to care for those in the community. How are we ministering to those without the connections of a faith community? Our faith was never meant to be just a private experience. God blessed us so that we could be a blessing.