Over the last several months we have been looking at the 6 purposes of the church: Fellowship, Evangelism, Ministry, Worship, Discipleship, and Prayer. For the past couple of months, we have focused on fellowship, and we have also taken a look at the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of evangelism. In this article, we are going to be looking at the ‘how’ of evangelism. To make sure we are on the same page evangelism is telling this lost, dying, and hurting world the good news of Jesus Christ through the dynamic indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, with the prayerful desire of bringing people to faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
How are we to tell this lost, dying, and hurting world the good news of Jesus Christ?
There are many tools and methods that we can use, but before we dive into anything like this, it must be said that the way we are to simply tell people the good news of Jesus Christ is by opening our mouths and telling people about Him out of the overflow of our love and passion for Jesus. We tell people about our hobbies, our sports team, and our families with ease, why? Because we have a love and a passion for these things and it just overflows with ease into our conversations. In the same way, we are to have a love and passion so great for Jesus that it simply overflows into our conversations. Sadly, we as believers make these conversations awkward because we are awkward about talking about Jesus outside of our church circle. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be awkward. In like manner, it doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be complicated.
To dive a little deeper, people have all kinds of different styles and ways of telling people about Jesus. We could talk about systems like Evangelism Explosion which was big in the ’70s and ’80s, FAITH which was big in the ’90s and 2000s, or a host of other similar systems which were effective but were high in memorization and classified as ‘confrontational evangelism’. We could talk about systems like Roman Road, Crusade for Christ or CRU’s Four Spiritual Laws, or what is now referred to as The Four, or Billy Graham’s Steps to Peace with God. We could even talk about a system that I use and have taught- Three Circles, yet what is important isn’t the system you use but the motivation behind why you use it. Are you trying to beat someone over the head with the gospel or earn another notch on your belt, or are you genuinely loving people by telling them about Jesus? To be more specific let me introduce you to lifestyle or relational evangelism. In relational evangelism, the witness takes those natural relationships with their Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors (FRANs) they have built and naturally share the gospel within these relationships. In this style of personal evangelism, those far from Christ can not only hear the message of Jesus but also truly see the lifestyle and genuineness of the witness because of the relationship they have with the witness.
My friends, we are to be telling people about Jesus as we go about our lives at work, in our neighborhoods, at the grocery store, and at the ballpark. This reminds me of a verse that we as baptists hold dearly, The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go (literally- having traveled or as you are traveling) and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (ESV; Emphasis mine).” While in some cases you will need to be intentional with your interactions, as you are going about your life you are telling those that you interact with regularly. Just tell them about what Jesus has done in your life and how they can also have a reconciled relationship with the Lord. Don’t make it hard and don’t make it complicated, because it shouldn’t be.
As I look at the book of Acts, what I see is the gospel spreading like wildfire, while most of our focus is on figures like Peter and Paul, and yes they had a significant role in the spreading of the gospel, what catches my eye is passages like:
1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 when Paul tells the church at Thessalonica, “You
also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word
in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became
an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the
word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia
and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone
forth, so that we have no need to say anything (ESV; Emphasis mine).”
Romans 1:8 when Paul tells the church at Rome, “First, I thank my God
through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed
throughout the whole world (ESV; Emphasis mine).”
You see these early believers, who mostly go unnamed, as they were going about their lives, they were telling people about Jesus. It is this relational approach to evangelism that I wholeheartedly believe was the major contributor to the gospel spreading like wildfire. The same is true in our time, we have had many great preachers like Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, and the like, as we hear stories of them preaching to thousands upon thousands, yet the key ingredient is believers (who will never preach to thousands) through the power of the Holy Spirit telling those around them about Jesus.
Just imagine with me if every person in our churches had two of their FRANs come to faith in Jesus over the next year, what would that be like? What would it be like to have to budget more money for utilities because we are having so many baptisms? What would it be like to see all those people have the joy of Christ? What would it be like to have to solve really good problems like worship service space or Sunday school space or parking lot space? What would it be like?
My friends, the world around us tells us that we aren’t supposed to speak about Jesus, it tells us that if we dare to mention Jesus that we are being judgmental or a Jesus Freak, yet we are called to be messengers, to be ambassadors for the King with the Good News of Jesus. This message is far too important for us to bottle it up inside and never tell anyone. I want to encourage you out of the overflow of your love and passion for Jesus, tell those you already have a relationship with about the wonders of Jesus.