Evangelism! It is a word that often causes fear. It creates images of knocking on strangers’ doors, having awkward conversations, and stumbling through a gospel presentation with the person next to you on an airplane. Thinking about sharing your faith may suggest several “what if” scenarios. What if they ask me a question that I don’t know? What if I fail? What if people reject me? It’s even worse when these fears become a reality. Only one perceived failure can cause us to give up.
Maybe we fear evangelism because we are thinking about it all wrong. When I was in CRU, I dreaded doing door to door evangelism. This is my insecurity of wanting people to like me. Besides this I don’t think it is always the effective. Don’t hear this as I think it is wrong to go door to door or preaching on the street corner. I am just saying it may not be the best way.
It is more natural to share our faith in our spheres of influence. Evangelism is less scary when we look for opportunities to share with people we know. I think it is hard to share my faith with people I don’t know! The introvert in me finds it very difficult to muster up the courage and energy to start a conversation with a random person at the park. The people pleaser in me doesn’t want to interrupt someone while they are enjoying their concrete mixer from Culvers. I would rather take a walk with a friend and have a conversation with them!
I believe evangelism best happens in the context of our family, work or school, and community. Most of our time is spent in these spheres and this is where we should focus our time.
A majority of our time is spent with our families while stay at home orders are in place. This is a great place to start sharing your faith. Who in your family doesn’t know Jesus? It could be a grandparent, parent, a child, or a distant relative. Not every conversation has to be a conversation where you share the gospel, but we can offer hope in every conversation. We can live in such a way that makes the gospel look beautiful to the rest of our family.
Application for Evangelism in the family
- Make a family tree and pray for your family
- Think of times to share with them
- Think of needs you can meet in their life
- Be quick to repent and restore relationships
Work and School
Before Covid -19 hit the United States, this is where we spent most of our time. Roughly 40-60 hours a week is spent at work or school. You have an opportunity to know people well when you spend so many hours with them.
Work is a hard place to evangelize. When I worked for IBM I would come up with excuses for why I shouldn’t evangelize. I would even make my excuses biblical! I would say things like I shouldn’t evangelize because I shouldn’t steal company time. I still agree that we shouldn’t steal company time, but I also believe we should share the good news of Jesus Christ. This will take some thought on how to do this. It may mean getting to know people outside of normal working hours.
School is another difficult place share our faith. At this point in my life I can’t pretend to understand the pressures students go through, but I am convinced we are commanded to share with the lost. A common complaint I hear from recent high school graduates is I wish I would have used my years in high school more wisely. Your friends need Jesus. There are people in your schools who are hurting and need to know someone cares. This holds true even now. There are people who are stuck at home and feel hopeless.
Application for evangelism in the workplace and at school
- Make it known that you are a Christian
- Show humility and speak to them with honor
- Be courageous about your convictions
- Throw God into conversations
- Build relationships outside of work and school
This is different for everyone. This can be your physical community where you live or a community that you voluntarily join. The three groups of people I miss most from Minnesota are family, friends, and CrossFit. I love my CrossFit friends! This was my community outside of church and many people didn’t know Jesus. What’s your community? What community can you join? What can you do to meet people who don’t know Jesus? Every can be used to put you in contact with people who don’t know Jesus.
Application for evangelism in your community
- Look for ways to enter a community
- Become friends with people who have a common interest
- If all else fails, you can buy a dog (It is amazing how many conversations you get into at a dog park and on walks)
There is so much more that I want to say about this topic. I didn’t even talk about minor spaces which are the areas you don’t usually go. This is street evangelism. It is still a valid sphere but that we shouldn’t neglected. I just think we shouldn’t think of this as the primary sphere. If we do, we will miss what is right in front of us.
God has sovereignly placed you in your family and at your job or school. God has given you passions that help you enter into community with like-minded people. Use all of these spheres to call people who are tripping over the Cornerstone to call on the Cornerstone for salvation.