Okay, we’re kicking off Evangelism Week on PoG!! Remember, I wrote this post more than a week ago and scheduled it to go live today after this morning’s worship service, so please forgive me if some or all of this is repetitious since, as of this writing, I hadn’t heard today’s sermon. Today’s sermon was about growing through reaching out to others with the Gospel, also known as evangelism. I thought it would be good to distill what I believe about evangelism down into an easy-to-understand guide. Here are the most important questions about evangelism and their simple answers.
What’s the best way to share the Gospel?
Living out your own story of life-change for all to see, then being ready and willing to share your story when people ask you about it (1 Peter. 3:15).
Really? Why just tell people my story?
No one can argue with your story. If you try to convince them of the truth of your doctrine, they can argue that. If you try to prove the existence of God, they can argue that. If you try to persuade them to occupy your point of view on moral issues, they can argue that. No one can argue with your story.
So I have to tell people my whole life story?
No, just your story of life-change. It’ll go something like this: “This is who I was/how I lived/how messed up I was/what my problems were before Jesus, and this is how He changed me.” -Or- “This is the situation that came up in my life, and this is how Jesus brought me through it.” If you don’t have a story like one or both of those, you really should reconsider whether or not you’ve actually allowed Jesus into your life.
But what if people ask me hard theological questions?
The only questions you need to worry about being able to answer are questions like these: How did you meet Jesus? What was the process of change like? How is your life different today from before? If people are asking any other types of questions, they either a)weren’t listening to you, b)they have another agenda and are not open to even the idea of Jesus, or c)they genuinely have spiritual questions that need to be answered. If ‘a’ or ‘b’, no amount of convincing, debating, pleading, arguing, or (heaven forbid!) shouting will convince them. Pray for them. If ‘c’, and you can’t answer their questions, refer them to someone who can. (It helps if you can refer them to someone you know personally.)
You make it sound so clear-cut and simple…
It’s not exactly that simple, but it’s not nearly as complicated and difficult as most of us think it is. And doesn’t it take a huge weight off your shoulders to understand that you don’t have to be a doctorate-level Bible scholar or a professional minister to follow Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples“?
Can I hear an example?
Sure. Check out Mark 5:1-20. Jesus is in the region known as the Decapolis – a region of 10 pagan cities that no self-respecting Jewish man (a Rabbi, no less) would ever be caught dead in. Upon arriving, he is greeted by a single man – a man possessed by demons. Jesus sends the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs. The man wants to come with him, but Jesus says that he should go home to his family and tell everyone what the Lord has done for him. Then Jesus left that region and returned to Galilee.
Fast-forward to Mark 7:31-8:9. Jesus has returned to the Decapolis, and guess what? There is a giant crowd of people following him around. In fact, they are so large and so excited about Jesus being there that they followed him until they ran out of food. Then Jesus performed the second of his “feeding miracles”, turning seven loaves of bread and a few small fish into enough food to feed at least 4,000 people (typically in that day and age only men were counted, so “the feeding of the 4,000” could actually mean “the feeding of 4,000 men, plus women and children”).
Why the change in Jesus’ reception in this pagan region? Mark 5:20 – “So the man [who had been possessed] started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.”
Tell your story. Live it out. Share what Jesus has done for you. Evangelize.
Just to give you an example, I’ll share four stories from my own life throughout the rest of this week. If you’d like to contribute and share your own story, write it out and email it to pofgblog [at] me [dot] com.