Recently I heard my wife describing how she had understood evangelism. To her evangelism was something that was done by the Christian Union at university which normally involved taking a survey among students about Christianity. If this was what it meant to share your faith then she didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I don’t blame her.
However a couple of weeks ago she said ‘If evangelism is looking to simply share the love of God with people in ways that help them to know the hope that I have, that’s something I love to do.’ What a change this is. She has moved from finding evangelism off-putting to embracing it.
A central part of the Christianity is to share your faith and this is justifiably so. There are many misconceptions about evangelism and the way it is done. Here are a few points that have helped shaped how I understand mission.
The 4 Keys to Share your Faith
1. It’s not really about us.
Everyone knows the Great Commission, right? Acts 1:8 has been a passage that has helped shape the church. It’s little wonder really, but if we stop and look at the verse carefully it can be so enlightening. At its heart is God at work, not us.
So often we emphasise the importance of proclaiming the gospel but we neglect how the commission starts – ‘When the Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses’. Witnessing to who Jesus is not be a job for us to do but rather it is evidence that we are living in a vibrant relationship with God. I say this because of the word ‘will’. It doesn’t say that we can be witnesses or we are enabled to be witnesses, instead that we will. This implies that living with the Holy Spirit means living in ways that shout Jesus.
2. It doesn’t matter where you are.
This may sound strange at first but it was a revelation to me. I’ve heard people say that first you need to find your Jerusalem then your Judea, etc. I understand the verse as simply a way of saying that wherever you are, you are called to be Jesus’ witness. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he jumped on a boat and headed in the opposite direction. You can’t do this with The Great Commission because, even if you try, you are still somewhere in ‘the ends of the earth’.
3. We all have a story.
After Jesus talked to the women in Samaria (John 4) she went and told others what she’d experienced. It seems simple enough but think about it for a minute. No one could say that it wasn’t true. Even if they disagreed with her about who Jesus was, they had to at least admit that the woman believed in the encounter she had.
We all have a story about when God broke into our life. Do we share it often? Or do we feel like we have to first have all the ‘right’ answers so that we can convince others?
4. Right motivations.
Sharing the gospel has to be based out of genuine love and respect for people. Sometimes you feel the need to share your faith because of guilt. Sometimes sharing may be a way of earning spiritual brownie points. We all feel like this but these are not good reasons to share. Instead look at the one of whom we proclaim.
Jesus was motivated by love, so much so that it led him to the cross. If Jesus loved others, how can we witness about him if we are motivated by anything other than love? This can be as simple as valuing people, being willing to listen to their stories and experiences starting with where they are at. Anything else and people spot a fake.