THE COMMON INGREDIENT IN EVANGELISM
JOSHUA LIM | JULY 24, 2018 | 7 MIN READ
As a pastor, I get the privilege to hear many testimonies, and it’s amazing that no two are exactly alike. Some are super dramatic, while others are very calm. Some took years to unfold, while others happened in a moment. But all these stories have at least one ingredient in common. Besides God’s grace, all these testimonies involve people.
Now, I know that seems so obvious. But think about your own testimony. You came to faith because someone or a bunch of people shared the Gospel with you. Whether it was a conversation with a friend, a sermon from a pastor, something you read online, or a combination of these things – people were involved.
God has designed the Church – his people – to be his Plan A in taking the Gospel to the world. He has no Plan B.
This is an astonishing fact! God could use anything to accomplish this work. The Bible tells us that He could use stones to bear witness to him (Matthew 3:9). He could use animals to speak on his behalf – such as with Balaam and his donkey (Numbers 22:28). He could have angels proclaim good news from the heavens (Luke 2:8-15).
But for the most part, God doesn’t use rocks, animals, or angels. Instead, God chooses to use his people. He invites us to take part in his great plan for sharing the Gospel with the world. So how can we make the most of this high calling we have received?
Salvation is ultimately God’s work, so we should ask God to work among those we share the Gospel with. Prayer is so important because it is the Holy Spirit who convicts people of their sin (John 16:7-11), and it is the Holy Spirit who gets people to see Jesus (John 15:26).
But prayer is also important for us because it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8), gives us wisdom to say the right things at the right times (Luke 12:12), and gives us boldness (Acts 4:31). We must pray that our lives and our words, as well as our motives and our desires, would be aligned to faithfully engage in the great work of evangelism to people – people who need Jesus.
2. Build Relationships
We miss such an important opportunity for evangelism when we neglect to intentionally build and cultivate relationships with the people right around us. People built relationships with you to help bring you the Gospel. We need to build bridges to others as well.
So, instead of eating lunch alone, eat with that co-worker. Instead of ignoring your next-door neighbors, say hello and exercise hospitality. Instead of popping in the earphones at the gym, strike up a conversation with that person spotting you. as we develop relationships and genuinely love people, our lips and our lives will effectively bring the Gospel to them.
3. Be Equipped
If we want to share the Gospel well, we need to know the Gospel well. Whether that’s being equipped through studying the Word, learning from sermons, reading good books, or asking good questions, we should intentionally seek to be equipped to share the Gospel well.
The reason we do this is not to puff ourselves up, but rather to answer those questions that our non-Christian friends might have and to grow in Christ-like character to truly love them. And with the wealth of resources available to us today, we have no excuse!
4. Take the Long View
Persevering in evangelism requires remembering three things.
1. Recognize that evangelism is process-oriented. It takes time for people to understand and apply the message of the Gospel. Most people don’t hear the Gospel message for the first time and then straight away commit their lives to following Jesus. We must patiently walk beside people through that process.
2. Remember that sharing the Gospel is team-oriented. A person's coming to faith in Christ is like a chain with many links. There are many different links that played a part in that person coming to faith, and God does not always call us to be the final one.
We might break up the ground, plant the seed, or water. Sometimes we might even reap the harvest. But it is always a team effort. Although it was a specific person who led me to Christ, that person was at the end of a long line of people who shared the Gospel with me.
3. Remind yourself that taking the long view means being faithfulness-oriented. I’m thankful that when it comes to evangelism, God calls us to faithfulness. If we are faithfully sharing the Gospel, and the other person does not accept, we are not failures. We fail only if we don’t faithfully share the Gospel at all. Our job is not to bring everyone to Jesus, but our job is to bring Jesus to everyone.
In the same way people spoke into your life, not even knowing if you would be saved, build relationships with others. Maybe one day, you will be a part of their story. I hope I get the privilege to hear that testimony.
Joshua Lim is a pastor at OMC: Family Chapel and is a graduate of UCLA (B.A, International Development, Geography), USC's Price School of Public Policy (M.P.A), and Biola University's Talbot School of Theology (M.Div). His passion in life is to proclaim Christ with all faithfulness, humility, and joy, and to see the people of God flourish in their God-given calling. He enjoys playing basketball and guitar, eating al pastor tacos, and spending quality time with his wife, Jennifer.