“Evangelism is too hard! That must be someone else’s job.”
We’ve probably all thought this when introduced to intense “evangelism training” programs that seemed intimidating. Granted, they have a place in the church and the Lord has used them to help people think through ways to get the gospel to those who need it. But it’s possible to overcomplicate evangelism and make it seem as if only the well-trained can do it.
But shouldn’t sharing the gospel be something any believer can do—with or without extended training?
The answer is YES! Acts shows us that the gospel can be proclaimed by all believers. “[T]hose who were scattered went abroad preaching the word” (Acts 8:4; cf. 11:19-21).
“Preaching the word” doesn’t mean “giving a sermon,” but speaking or proclaiming the gospel—something that both men and women were doing as they were forced out of the city so many years ago. They talked about what and whom they had come to love. No doubt they told others their own story about what Christ had done for them.
Two evangelism ideas that keep it simple
First, share your gospel story. I have occasionally heard some well-meaning believers say, “Sharing your testimony is not evangelism!” Huh? If you share the message you heard and the change that Christ produced in you, you are giving people the gospel that they need to hear in order to be saved. So go ahead, tell your story, and urge them to believe. But how? Just start speaking and trust the Lord. You might be very nervous the first or second (or fifteenth) time, but what I and others have learned is this: the more you speak up about Christ, the more confident you will be.
Second, find a “gospel zone.” This is a great idea from Jim Elliff, president of Christian Communicators Worldwide. A gospel zone is an evangelism zone. That is, it’s an arena of life for you to purposely and regularly encounter unbelievers. The idea is to become intentional in your relationships, concern, and talk in a place set aside in your heart for relational evangelism as your first priority.
For example, my son and I go to the YMCA over lunch on Mondays to play pickle ball not only for exercise and fun, but to build relationships with people who don’t know Christ, to share with them about the Lord, and to get gospel literature into their hands. There’s nothing wrong with connecting what you enjoy with your evangelism, by the way! Just keep the first thing first.
Maybe you like the chicken wings at a restaurant close to work. Why not invite a couple of unconverted coworkers to lunch once a month to get to know them better—enjoy the wings, pay the bill (if you can), and seek to sincerely share how Christ has changed your life? Or maybe you are a young mother whose “gospel zone” could become the local park where you can warmly meet and talk about the Lord with other moms as God opens the doors.
Choose a place like the coffeeshop, the gym, the sports field, the cafeteria at work, the class in the community college, the club that interests you, the walking path, or any other place that you can set aside in your mind and heart as a place to meet and influence people for Christ as God makes it possible. Walk into your gospel zone prayerfully prepared and excited to build relationships and to open conversations about the most important thing in your life!
Some of you might be saying, “I just don’t think I can do this.” True, you alone can’t do this. But we live in the era of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). He is within all believers to empower us to advance Christ’s name. You can’t do evangelism. But you and the Holy Spirit can.
Keep it simple and see what God will do.
A Price for a People: The Meaning of Christ’s Death by Tom Wells (Banner of Truth, 1992) is a book you might consider purchasing that has helped me to think through what the message is, and the way that the good news was proclaimed in Acts.