I know a lot of Christians who wish they were more evangelistic. They long for the day when they’ll experience the great joy of leading someone to Christ. They hunger to be like the Apostles and the early church who saw unbelievers from all walks of life give their lives to Christ.
The desire to be evangelistic isn’t near as rare as actually being evangelistic. I don’t know a lot of Christians who share the gospel regularly. Fewer are those who have actually led someone to Christ. And every study that I’m aware of says that my experience isn’t unique. Most Christians never share the gospel with lost people.
So what’s at the heart of our evangelism problem? Why don’t we share the gospel? Most Christians know that Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10). Most know that we’re called to make disciples of all nations, a command that requires evangelism (Matt. 28-18-20). So if we don’t have a problem understanding that we should be evangelistic, what is our problem?
The reasons, no doubt, are many. Some people are probably scared of the responses they’ll get, whether that’s a fear of being made fun of, having tough questions thrown at them, or something else. Perhaps others find that they just forget to make it a priority because they’re so busy. I’ve come across a lot of Christians that simply don’t know where to start. For this last group, I’d like to offer 4 ways that every Christian can join Jesus’ mission to save the world.
Pray For The Lost Regularly – Only God is powerful enough to change our hearts. He alone is able to give life to dead hearts. That’s why evangelism starts with prayer. Ask God to save the lost people you encounter throughout your day. Ask him to show you a few lost people whose lives you should invest in. Evangelism starts with prayer because our confidence is in God not our evangelistic efforts.
Invest In The Lost Consistently – Most people need to belong in some way before they believe. They often need to get to know who you are before they’ll follow the God you worship. While it’s true that many people become Christians as a result of a gospel presentation from a stranger, most conversion stories I’m aware of include a part where a Christian has invested relationally in their lives. Together they hung out, worked out, shared meals, coached, or something else like this. Invest in the lost people in your life so that there’s a relational bridge strong enough to invite them to take a step towards Christ.
Invite The Lost Repeatedly – Christians are called by God to be an inviting people. No, that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be “nice” when unbelievers come. It means we are called actually to invite people to come toward or to Christ. When you invite an unbeliever to a meal, a worship gathering, a group, or something like this, you’re inviting them toward Christ. You’re inviting them to take a step toward Christ that isn’t exactly the same as inviting them to Christ. When you share the gospel with someone and invite him or her to trust Christ, you’re inviting him or her to Christ. Both types of invitations are significant kingdom advancement actions. The Enemy hates both types of invitations and will try to discourage every believer that attempts them. Satan wants to take one of the greatest kingdom advancing actions, a believer inviting an unbeliever towards or to Christ, and use it to discourage you. Negative responses to your invitations don’t change the fact that God loves you and celebrates every imperfect invitation you extend in his name. Keep praying, investing, and inviting.
Connect The Lost Strategically – Christians are called to be connectors. We’re called to be a part of connecting unbelievers to the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple for the Spirit. When unbelievers respond to your invitation, whether that’s towards or to Christ, do your best to connect them relationally. If they respond to an invitation to come towards Christ and show up at your house, worship gathering, or group, connect them with those they’ll have the most in common. If they come to Christ and surrender their lives to him, connect them to potential disciplers. Every born-again Christian needs to be parented again. Don’t just worry about how you’re connecting, help others connect to Christ, his body, and his mission too.
I’ve had the privilege of leading people toward and to Christ. Without question, these moments have been some of the most exhilarating moments of my life. Even as I write this, many of their faces are running through my mind, causing tears of joy and gratitude to run down my face. I’m praying that every believer would experience the unique joy that is available to those who follow Jesus as he “seeks and saves” the lost in their city, country, and world.