In our weekly stories, we’ve been reflecting on St Andrew’s values. Our fourth value is that we want to be a community that shares the gospel. To share the gospel means proclaiming the good news that God has rescued us. Jesus himself told his disciples to make other disciples (Matthew. 28:19), and to be his witnesses throughout the earth (Acts 1:8).
To understand the gospel means that we also share the gospel. However, we often find that evangelism is intimidating. Perhaps we’re anxious about what people will think of us, that we’ll be rejected by them for sharing the gospel. Perhaps it’s that we feel inadequate, we don’t always say the right things or can provide all the right answers. I must confess, I’ve never found evangelism easy, but I have found it joyful. We are told there is rejoicing in heaven when the lost are found and I’m thankful to have shared in that joy (Luke 15:7).
Scripture gives me confidence in several ways to do evangelism.
Firstly, the work of bringing people to salvation is 100% God’s. As we faithfully share Christ, God promises that he will open blind eyes. This helps take the pressure off me as my job is to simply present Jesus clearly and trust that God by his Spirit will cause people to believe in Jesus.
Secondly, the Bible tells me that there will be opposition to the gospel (Matthew 10:16-33). This helps me to expect difficulty. John’s Gospel tells us that the light entered the world, but the world did not receive that light (John 1:5, 9-10). We should not be surprised when people reject the gospel. When people reject the gospel, they are rejecting God. That often hurts us, but we should remind ourselves that our identity is in Christ, not in how people respond to us.
First, pray. We often talk about the “fives” at St Andrew’s: pray for five people, talk to five people, invite five people to church. Who are five people that you’re praying for?
Second, have compassion on people’s spiritual situation. Build relationships with non-Christians. Share your life with them. Be who you are, a follower of Jesus. They will notice the difference and begin to ask questions. We were reminded last Sunday, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
Third, be prepared to share the gospel. This doesn’t mean that you have a thorough presentation up your sleeve that covers all the doctrines of Christianity. It simply means this: know why you believe in Jesus. This is what Peter means when he says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). When people ask you, speak about Jesus, not yourself. Point to his saving grace through his death and resurrection.
If you have read to the end of this and your heart is longing to share the gospel, I’d love to talk with you. Please also look out for upcoming evangelism training courses.