The responsibility to evangelise is not reserved for a select few who possess the spiritual gift of evangelism. To “go into all the world and preach the gospel” is a command which every follower of Christ must submit to. We have the responsibility as well as the privilege to show love to people by warning them of judgment and telling them of the Good News. Sharing Jesus with people can be a struggle, but the alternative is far worse.
God did not give us a detailed system of evangelism. Our approach should be determined by our own strengths as well as the nature of the lost person and particular situation. No matter what, as witnesses, we should possess confidence in the Good News while demonstrating gentleness and respect in our presentation of it. Evangelism does not end after presenting the gospel or even after conversion. Biblically, discipleship is inseparable from evangelism.
An accurate understanding of the fundamentals of the gospel is essential to evangelism. No one is without cultural bias, but somehow we need to get down to what matters and be able to articulate only what’s important. God did not come to make us feel better about ourselves. He came to change us, completely. The Bible should be the source of our understanding of what’s important: God, Jesus, and people. Though culture is not inherently evil, it cannot determine our view of ourselves or of God. Salvation has nothing to do with religion or ritual. It’s about Jesus. Salvation cost Jesus everything and He expects everything from us in return. What is necessary for salvation is the following: surrender, repentance, and faith/trust/belief. Not one of these three aspects should be emphasized over the others. Make sure that each one is understood by those who desire to be saved. Jesus did not sugar-coat the call. In fact, He warned about the cost. We must do the same.
Witnessing is not about spilling a ton of information into the ears of the listener. The witness must also participate in listening. The approach should be others-centered and personal. We cannot expect communication to equal understanding. There are always barriers in the way of understanding. In order to get around these barriers as best as we can, the witness must learn about the lost person’s background and check for understanding as they witness. It is also important that we use vocabulary that can be understood by people outside of the church.
How is postmodernism different from modernism? America is shifting in a direction in which they are no longer as interested in facts and science as they are in experience and intuition. No longer are we predominantly “left-brained.” Our approach to sharing the gospel must be more “heart-to-head” than “head-to-heart.” Often, emotional issues must be addressed before issues of logic can be addressed. Although we have been taught systematic gospel presentations, what will work better now is flexible gospel conversations. Instead of presenting answers, start asking questions that help bring the listener to their own conclusion. Use personal testimonies and spiritual stories rather than a list of facts to convince. Because the culture is becoming more spiritually-inclined, the questions that people are asking are less about the existence of God and more about which God. The way in which people make decisions is less rational and more relational. Now that the culture has moved away from the Church, our conversations should be more broad, sharing the entire story of the Bible, starting in Genesis rather than Romans. We cannot assume that the lost person believes in God or is familiar with the Bible. Just as Paul and Peter did, let’s examine our culture and adapt our explanation to maximize receptivity.
The Church no longer has such a great reputation. Therefore, words don’t cut it when it comes to sharing Jesus with people. As Jesus did, seek to bless people with kindness, service, and relationship. And in every situation, make sure your conduct builds up Jesus’ and Christians’ reputations. Our lives are a testimony of the power of God.
Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from sharing your faith. God knew what He was doing when He commanded flawed humans to evangelise. Be prepared, but don’t let a lack of perfection paralyze you from obeying God. The primary motivation for evangelism should actually be the desire to glorify God and thank Him for His gift. It should be a spiritual discipline that flows out of a strong relationship with Jesus. It will become a life habit. Don’t forget that evangelism is a spiritual battle. Therefore, prayer is necessary.