If you are in Christ, you understand that that God calls us to be distinct. We are a people that have become new creatures because of the faith we have in Christ.
We now have this calling to be light, to be salt, and even to be his ambassadors (1 Peter 2). In Christ, we are called to be witnesses to the people in our lives -- in our families, in our workplaces, in our classrooms, on our campuses, in our neighborhoods -- who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
There is a collision going in which we know God that has called us to be witnesses and we have people around us who are not believers. We need to put the two together.
But the tension is this: We don’t know how to do that. We could be afraid of rejection or fear failure. Some of us just don’t know how to articulate the Gospel.
There’s also this: We don’t share the Gospel because we don’t believe in its power to transform people’s lives, and we think this because we don’t truly believe the Gospel can transform our own lives.
We aren’t enamored by Jesus. We don’t see how much God has saved us nor how blind and lost we were. Because the Gospel hasn’t penetrated our lives, there no urgency, desperation, nor a desire to reach people with the Gospel.
Finding What’s Lost
In Luke 15:1-10, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost Sheep. In both stories, something valuable has been lost, and we see this urgency to find something that was lost because it was worth something.
When I look at those two parables, there’s a sense that God is calling us to reach for something that was lost. What is “lost” for us is people, those who are not in Christ. So how do we reach them?
First, we are called to reach people who are lost with a sense of compassion. In Luke 10:1-2, Jesus has surrounded himself with tax collectors and sinners, and he was compassionate toward them. Jesus didn’t compromise his Gospel message, but his compassion attracted people.
We also have to reach the lost with effort. There is work to be done, and we can’t just expect people who are unbelievers to come to us. We need to go out into the world where they are. Sometimes we are so passive instead of being proactive in our evangelistic efforts.
In addition, we need to reach people with persistence. We shouldn’t be surprised that we are rejected the first time we share the Gospel or we invite people to our Christian events. The natural heart of the man is going to say no. They don’t want to believe the Gospel. They don’t want to come.
Does that mean we give up? No. We persevere. We are called to persist until the coin is found, until the sheep is found. We keep reaching out to people until that person is reached by the Gospel.
I have a friend Mike who he prayed for his dad for over 20 years. It took two decades for his dad to come to know Jesus Christ. He was persistent and persevered, continually reaching out to his dad with compassion.
All of this is possible because Jesus did that to us. John 3:16 is our testimony: We were lost and blind, but because God so loved us, he saved us. Because Jesus reached out to us, we can reach out to others with love and be empowered and compelled to reach out to others.
There are some practical things we can do to live with an evangelistic mindset.
1. First, we need to pray more for those opportunities
We should pray every day for 3-5 people who need to hear the Gospel. I pray for my kids’ future spouses already, and they are 9, 7, and 2 years old. We pray for a lot of things, but we don’t intentionally pray for people in our lives who are unbelievers because we underestimate the power of prayer.
2. Secondly, we need to be practicing hospitality
In North American culture, we are all about privacy. We’re all about having a big backyard because we want privacy. But we need to be countercultural in that and invite people into our homes, practice hospitality, and invite them into our lives.
3. Thirdly, we need to be strategic in engaging people relationally and building friendship
I go to the same Starbucks near my house, and everybody knows who I am. Everyone on my street knows I’m a pastor. The parents on my son’s baseball team and my daughter’s softball team know that I’m pastor. That knowledge has allowed us to have some surprisingly deep spiritual conversations.
The goal is to eventually invite them to my home to practice hospitality. As friendship is built, trust is developed, and hopefully over time, there will an opportunity for me to extend an invitation for them to come out to an event at our church, whether it’s a Sunday service or a Sunday gathering or a Bible study. From there I’m looking for an opportunity to extend the Gospel to them as well.
4. Fourth, we need Gospel fluency
If we are fluent in a language, then it comes naturally for us, like riding a bike or driving. We also need to be fluent in the Gospel, where the Gospel is not just talked about in the church, but also in every aspect of our lives in everyday contexts.
As you’re taking a walk with your neighbor or having a water cooler conversation, you’re naturally bringing in redemptive parts of your life or pointing out grace. We’re so afraid to talk about Bible truth, but we need to know, study, and articulate the Gospel so that we have opportunities to share and live out our testimonies to bring the Gospel into their lives.
5. Finally, we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves
A lot of times, we feel like we’re not sharing the Gospel well. But this is where we need to remind ourselves of the Gospel so that even if we fail, it’s not our failure. Rather, we need to be faithful, and God will use our faithfulness, which will bear fruit as well.
In conclusion, it is very important for us to understand that there is are opportunities for us to be intentionally evangelistic. God has called us to have a sense of urgency while continuing to reach people with compassion, effort, and persistence. In the everyday context of our lives, we need to be that light and be that salt.
Justin serves as the senior pastor of Bethel English Church in Irvine, CA. He is happily married to Virginia and father to Tabitha, Barnabas, and Maximus. Prior to BEC, he has been an active minister of the Word on both American coasts. He has a deep love for the Gospel and for missions. Besides church, he loves to go on a food adventure around California. He attended James Madison University and has a Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is ordained under the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).