If you’re like me, when someone starts talking about the need to get more involved in evangelism, the first thought to come to mind isn’t ‘JOY’. Maybe it's stress. Or guilt. Or shame. Or fear.
Why do we feel that way?
And although many non-Christians are willing to engage in spiritual conversations, most Christians don’t start them.
Why are we so reluctant?
A recent webinar, ‘The Joy of Evangelism’, led by Lane Davis for the Loving Muslims Together network, tackled that question, and came up with some challenging responses:
- We think evangelism is the job of experts – the ‘specially selected and gifted’, rather than a core activity of Christ-followers.
- We’re afraid of what people might think of us.
- We feel unprepared and don’t think we will do it right.
- We are comfortable and feel no urgency to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others.
Maybe you can add a different reason to the list.
The Joy of Evangelism
In his webinar, Lane addresses each reason, sharing personal experiences and stories to move from the theoretical to the very practical.
A short summary of his points:
- As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are all ambassadors for Him -- we become, in Jesus’ words, ‘fishers of men’ and ‘disciple-makers’. Lane makes a scriptural case that as born-again Spirit-filled Christians we are each called to share our faith and lead others to Christ.
- In response to our fears of evangelism, Lane encourages us to step outside our comfort zone and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Let love for Jesus compel us to reach out to others and be the motivator for our actions.
- Just as no one becomes skilled at anything in life without practice, so it is with evangelism—it can only be honed through experience.
- Evangelism is about helping people take one step closer to Jesus. Each person’s journey is different, and it’s always a process. Our part is to consistently take advantage of the opportunities we are given in our conversations with others and play our role in their journey.
- As we spend more time with Jesus, our love for him will grow, as will our love for the lost people in our lives. Each day we will engage with people that ONLY WE will meet and interact with. When love is the motive, our fear and apathy are overcome.
6 Practical Ways to Grow in Sharing Your Faith
To help us become more active in sharing our faith, Lane makes several practical recommendations:
- Learn from Jesus’ art of asking good questions. Let that inform how you engage in conversations with people.
- Pray for opportunities each day. Those who pray for and are willing and prepared to share the gospel, will have opportunities to do so.
- Plan to share the gospel at the first opportunity. One is hard-pressed to find a single New Testament example where the witness delayed presenting the gospel past the first visit. They led with the good news.
- Be prepared. Have resources on hand to pass along — scripture, tracts, and other printed resources can be helpful in beginning or moving the conversation deeper.
- Find someone who has more experience in sharing the Gospel and learn from them.
- Cultivate accountability with others in sharing your faith.
Three Dimensions of Joy
So where does the joy come in? I see three dimensions to the joy of evangelism:
In a recent blog, ‘Take the Joyfulness Plunge’ I wrote about the joyful refreshment that comes from drawing from the well of salvation. Our own joyful reflection on the goodness of salvation is the first and most obvious source of joy. The more we understand our own salvation, the more joyful we are, and the more likely we are to speak of it to those who are still lost.
The parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin tell us of the rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents. The parable of the Prodigal Son demonstrates the Father’s heart of celebration when the lost ones return. God celebrates with joy when people join His family!
Remember the joy of your newly found forgiveness and freedom? JOY! The same will be true for those who step from death to life, by confessing Jesus Christ as the only way to be made right with God. Then, as they share their transformation, joy ripples out to those around. You too get to share the joy as you are part of their story.
Trade in your stress, guilt, shame and fear for a never-ending well of joy. Begin today to share your faith story and pray that God will multiply the joy.
Loving Muslims Together offers monthly webinars on a wide range of subjects. Check the Events page on the website or subscribe to the LMT Network Digest for the next offering. Consider joining the network to have access to Lane’s webinar and other past offerings which are held in our members-only Resource Library.
Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.