The word “evangelism” stirs up certain mental images for all of us. For some, it conjures up memories of revival tents. Or maybe it makes you think of street-corner preaching, summer camps. Others might think of Oral Roberts or Billy Graham singing “Just As I Am Without One Plea”. We each have our own definition of what “evangelism” means.
What is evangelism?
The word comes from the Greek word euongelion which literally means good news. An evangelist, then, is one who shares “good news”. When you call someone to share the “good news” of a new job or promotion, birth of a child, a clean bill of health, a new car or other momentous events in life, you are an “evangelist”—a bearer of “good news”. When we realize how much “good news” we have to share with our friends, our loved ones, those in need, we have to wonder why we are so hesitant to proclaim the euongelion. For most of us, there are two basic reasons that we pause—fear and a sense of inadequacy.
We are afraid of being rejected or ridiculed if we were to share what we believe with anyone. Yet, most of our friends and loved ones are far more ready to hear about Jesus—more eager to hear about how our faith has helped us—than we are to tell.
Most of us shy away from sharing our faith because we feel inadequate. We don’t have the right words, we aren’t the “Billy Graham” type, we don’t sound like the preacher. “But I don’t know how to share my faith. I don’t know what to say.” The disciples had the same fear and Jesus understood it, too. That’s why he told them in Matthew 10:19-20 “do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
And the disciples proved this to be true over and over—just read the book of Acts!
Not an option
Evangelism is not an option for us to either choose or ignore. It is a necessity if we dare to call ourselves Christians. We must share what God has done for us—what Jesus means to us—for a variety of reasons. John tells us one reason in his 1st letter.
If God has really done something in our lives then we won’t be able to stop telling others what has happened! The good news will overflow automatically and naturally when we are with those we love and those who are in need.
If you love someone, you want the best for them. Evangelism is nothing less than one beggar telling another beggar where he has round bread. You share your faith, your joy, your hope for the same reason—because you love them.
Love IS evangelism. It is sharing the good news of what God has done in your life. It is reaching out in love to share those answers with those who are seeking a direction and something to hold onto. No fancy textbook or Bible language. No highly polished technique. Just sharing the “good news” of your faith with those you love.