What is evangelism?
When I was in seminary, there were many classes I had that I was excited about, but there was one that made me pretty nervous: evangelism and discipleship. I liked the discipleship part of this class and was eager to learn how to come alongside others in their faith. But it terrified me a bit to focus on the evangelism aspect and actually share my faith with others. This class in particular required us to share the gospel with at least one person per week over the course of the semester. I remember thinking that I would have much rather written a ten-page research paper than be bold about sharing the gospel!
Have you felt similar feelings of anxiousness when it comes to evangelism? Evangelism is sharing the good news of the gospel with others so that they might place their faith in Christ. As believers, we are commanded to go out into the world and tell others about Christ (Matthew 28:19–20). But doing so can be scary. It can feel intimidating to share the gospel with others, especially because we don’t always know how they will respond. But even though evangelism can make us nervous, people need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Others’ need for salvation moves us to share the gospel, even in our fears and hesitations. So what exactly does evangelism look like? Let’s take a look at how we can practically share the gospel, use hospitality for evangelism, and utilize our personal testimony and the practice of Bible storying to tell others about Christ.
Practical ways to share the gospel
When seeking to share the gospel with others, it is important to start off with prayer. Because God is the One who can truly change hearts and save lives, we need to rely on Him. We need to ask Him to give us the boldness to share and the words to speak. So begin with prayer, asking for God’s help and that God will ultimately reveal the good news of the gospel to the person we are sharing with.
As we desire to move toward the gospel in a conversation, it’s helpful to ask questions. Ask the person questions about themselves or questions about things you have in common, like the weather or favorite activities. Then try to use that conversation to create a bridge to deeper dialogue. You can do this by asking more intentional questions that allow for the conversation to move toward the gospel. For example, say someone is sharing with you about their job as a nurse. You might then ask them something like, “How do you hold onto hope when you are around so much sickness and death every day?” Their response will then allow you to segue into a gospel conversation about the hope we have in Christ and the truth that He conquered death on the cross so we could receive eternal life. After sharing the gospel with them, give the person a chance to respond and ask any follow-up questions.
Because evangelism can feel intimidating, one way to have natural and comfortable gospel conversation is by exercising hospitality. The word “hospitality” means to love the stranger, so hospitality enables us to invite people into our home that we don’t know well and show them the love of Christ. One of the best ways to have natural gospel conversations in your home is around the dinner table. If you and your family have certain dinner table rhythms such as praying together before eating or having a quick devotional, you are able to bring the person you have invited over into those rhythms. Even going around the table and asking one another what your “high” and “low” is from that day might create an opportunity for gospel conversation.
Hospitality is also a great way to continually have gospel conversations with others. Regularly inviting the same person over for coffee or to do an activity together allows you and that person to grow in your relationship with one another. As your relationship grows, you are able to bring up the gospel in a way that feels natural and non-threatening, because you have established trust with that person. They may even come with follow up questions about a gospel conversation you had in the past or to pick your brain about Christianity.
Stories are powerful, and if you are a follower of Christ, you have a powerful story to share—your own. Sharing your testimony with others allows you to describe how Christ’s salvation has changed your life. And for many people, this way of hearing the gospel is more impactful than a gospel presentation through regular conversation.
So if you want to share your personal testimony with others, remember the words “before, during, and after.” Describe what it was like before coming to faith in Christ. Be honest about any struggles you may have had or ways in which you were living opposed to God’s commands, being as open as you feel comfortable and led. Then talk about how you came to know the gospel—what occurred during your conversion. Describe what the gospel is, who shared it with you, and what caused you to believe and place your faith in Christ. And then explain what your life has been like after becoming a follower of Jesus. Share how Christ has changed you and caused you to live differently than you lived before coming to know Him as your Savior.
Because stories are powerful, sharing different biblical stories can also be a way to evangelize.
“Bible storying” involves telling biblical stories in an accessible way. In order to share these stories, we need to know these stories well by being in God’s Word regularly and familiarizing ourselves with what these stories say and mean. When sharing a Bible story, make sure to not add to or embellish the story; tell it according to how the Bible tells it. Be as detailed as you can, even using facial expressions or different body language to communicate the story. As you share these stories, point out the gospel connections in that story. Show how this story speaks to God, sin, Jesus, and a response to who God is and what He does for us through Christ. Some of these stories can include Moses and the burning bush, Paul’s conversion story, or what Jesus will do when He comes again.
Evangelism might seem scary, but as you learn these different ways to share the gospel and practice them with the people in your life, you will become more comfortable with sharing the gospel. Remember, it is God alone who can change hearts and save lives. So lean into the power of the Spirit and trust how God can work through you to lead people to salvation. If the topic of evangelism interests you and you want to learn more, check out our Sharing Our Faith.
Additional Resources for Sharing the Gospel: