With our most recent devotional series being set on evangelism, I think it is fitting to look more closely at understanding evangelism. Plainly said, evangelism is the term we use to refer to the preaching of the Gospel. It comes from the same Greek word for gospel (euangelion) and means, literally, “gospeling.” Evangelism is one way in which we can fulfil Christ’s call to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Our efforts must come from a biblical understanding of evangelism.
Evangelism goes ‘wrong’ when we experience impulses of fear on the one side, and vain ambition on the other. Therefore, we start by understanding that biblical evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade. We are to convince those around us of the Gospel truth in every conversation opportunity.
Evangelism is often misunderstood.
Sharing your testimony isn’t evangelism. Defending the Christian faith isn’t evangelism. And doing good deeds for the oppressed isn’t evangelism. Of course these are good things. These can be known as the fruit of the Gospel. They are good things we do as a result of the Gospel, but by themselves, we are not evangelising.
Evangelism requires teaching the Gospel.
God teaches us the gospel through His Word, it isn’t something we just come up with. So it stands to reason that we must speak and teach the gospel to others. Tell people the truth about who God is, why we’re in the mess we’re in, what Jesus came to do, and how we are to respond to Him.
Evangelism presses for a response.
We want to see people move from darkness to light, therefore, having that aim helps us know what things to talk about and what things to lay aside. Evangelism isn’t just data transfer; we must listen to people, hear their objections, and model gentleness because we know that souls are at stake. So pressing for an answer means asking for a response that leads to the following 3 answers; Yes I believe / no I disagree / I will consider these things.
Evangelism can be halted by a wrong approach.
There is no such thing as a ‘lone Christian’, therefore a culture of evangelism must exist within a Christian community. Meaning, if a core group of believers are constantly reaching out and encouraging one another – more and more folk would get on board. However, programs of evangelism produces malnourished evangelism. Therefore, our approach cannot be to just win everyone, it is to reach everyone.
Evangelism is design for the Church, and vice versa.
A healthy church with a culture of evangelism is the key to great evangelism. Some of the ways the gathered church displays the gospel is when: we sing the gospel, we see the gospel in the sacraments, and we hear the gospel when we preach and pray. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Jesus says the love we have for one another in the church is evidence that we are truly converted. And when we are unified in the church, we show the world that Jesus is the Son of God.
Evangelism must be modelled.
We need to make sure that we see evangelism as a spiritual discipline. Therefore, we must be intentional about sharing our faith. And so pastors and elders must lead the way in sharing their faith, teaching others how to be ambassadors for Christ, and calling their congregations to do the same.
Evangelism is a believer’s lifestyle, and so we must be faithful to it and specific to those who are around us.
For more helpful resources, check out:
J Mack Stiles – Evangelism