The Gospel Coalition

I understand there are many obstacles to evangelistic practice; I know this because I’ve used them all as excuses avoid evangelistic opportunities. Given the opposition of the world, my clumsy or even failed attempts, and the challenge of my sinful heart, evangelism seems best left to winsome religious professionals who have silver tongues and the backing of large religious organizations. They just seem so . . . gifted at it. But what is being “gifted at evangelism,” anyway?




When I talk with people who don’t feel “gifted,” I usually hear variations of similar themes: They don’t see fruit, they’re intimidated because they don’t know what to say, or they feel awkward. Some admit they have lost their love for non-Christians.

But we should not let these (frankly) unbiblical values hinder evangelism. We need to rid ourselves of the idea that being gifted at evangelism is to see results. All of us, given certain situations with certain kinds of people, are intimidated by the thought of sharing our faith. Retaining (or regaining) our love for others drives us to the very heart of the gospel.

What is important, what is a Biblical value, is faithfulness in evangelism. Here are four things I’ve found helpful in keeping me faithful in evangelism.

Be Bold


No question: The “fear of man” is the number one roadblock to evangelism. It follows that much of what is taught about evangelism is well-meaning techniques of how to be non-offensive. But the gospel is offensive: For example, when we call people to be reconciled with God, it involves sharing with people that they are sinners, too. So beware of changed language or witnessing techniques that only serve to water down the gospel message. Remember when Paul shared the gospel he didn’t merely receive public scorn, he regularly got put in jail. And it was from jail that Paul asked for prayer that he would be bold with the gospel. If people are offended by the message of the gospel it may be awkward, but awkward truth is better than silence.

Be Clear


Make sure to define the gospel and evangelism correctly. Here are four important working definitions:

Do you know the message through and through? Do you understand what the exclusive claims are? Are you willing to take a stand in a world that hates “exclusive”?

Memorize the outline of God, Man, Christ, Response and the Scripture that goes with it.

Share Often


Paul said “make the most of every opportunity.” What more can I say? Practice makes perfect? Not to sound like the old sneaker commercial, but just do it. I’ve noticed that evangelism is the spiritual discipline that gets the rustiest the fastest in my life.

Love Much


Do you long to see those around you know Jesus? Are you praying for gospel opportunities in their lives? Look inside yourself: Is there sin that is preventing you from loving others? Fight for compassion in your life; fight for the ability to see others the way God sees others, not the ways the world sees others.

Living out the gospel in your life commends the gospel—it’s compelling. Make sure the themes of the gospel message are a part of your speech and practice day to day—especially love.

So faithful evangelism is to be bold, be clear, share often, and love much.


Comments:

O

October 21, 2012 at 08:05 PM

Don't feel bad, I just learned 2 nite I'm definitely no car mechanic. I tried helping a friend get a tire back on a rim, & it was far harder 4 us both, especially me!!!!! He worked & worked 4 the longest time, & couldn't get the dumb thing back on the rim even by himself. When I started helping him hold the tire in place as he was trying 2 work it back on, it just wouldn't go back on regardless of how many ways we tried. He said its been 2 yrs since he even did this, but what woulda helped is if he had the right tools, but he didn't, he hadda improvise 2 no avail. There's some things we're just not gifted 4, & car mechanics is NOT my strength by a LONG shot. Where I came from, there just were some things women never did, & mechanics was 1 of them. I was raised in a higher class where women never got dirty, but stayed clean, & i likewise, was raised 2 stay clean. Where I came from, women were expected 2 b a certain way, & that was that.

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Bold, Clear, Often, Much. |

March 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM

[...] liked this helpful summary of how to go about Evangelism I came across by J Mack Stiles here. He has also written a [...]

[...] also applies to the post over at The Gospel Coalition, “What If I’m Not a Gifted Evangelist.” The person asking this question is confusing strengths with roles. Such a person needs to identify [...]

[...] Traduzido por Filipe Schulz | iPródigo.com | Original aqui [...]

Not Gifted At Evangelism? | Faith Church Blog

February 9, 2011 at 08:24 AM

[...] Great post.  Here’s an excerpt - I understand there are many obstacles to evangelistic practice; I know this because I’ve used them all as excuses avoid evangelistic opportunities. Given the opposition of the world, my clumsy or even failed attempts, and the challenge of my sinful heart, evangelism seems best left to winsome religious professionals who have silver tongues and the backing of large religious organizations. They just seem so . . . gifted at it. But what is being “gifted at evangelism,” anyway? [...]

[...] –Not a gifted evangelist?  Read this. [...]

Laudable Linkage and Video « Stray Thoughts

February 5, 2011 at 08:45 AM

[...] What If I’m Not a Gifted Evangelist? HT to Challies. [...]

[...] com freqüência e amar bastante. Traduzido por Filipe Schulz | iPródigo.com | Original aqui Estudos bíblicos relacionados Tem alguém te [...]

Dan Jester

February 3, 2011 at 09:07 AM

Thanks for the insights! I know that we make it difficult on ourselves when we over analyze the word "evangelism." Our presuppositions of evangelism cause us to excuse ourselves from our biblical mandate to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. It really is as simple as sharing what God has done for us through the work of Jesus Christ. My excitement about a new "toy" is often a more passionate than my excitement about Jesus... sad, but true! I appreciate your observations and your heart Pastor Mack! Blessings on you and your time in the trenches of Dubai!!! All for Jesus.

Pastor Dan

larry bright

February 2, 2011 at 08:48 AM

dont tell god how big your problems r tell your problem how big your god is the problems with most people is they take there eyes off god and start looking at the troubles they r having they worry about am i doing am i saying am i am i am i give it to god have faith faith is what most of us need to work on faith is what brings change unshakeable faith in he that is in me not me

Jean-Pierre Schroeder

February 2, 2011 at 08:13 AM

I love the Lord, I love doing evangelism and I try to get others to participate in gospel outreach. The reality is that some take to it better than others. The Lord uses us in different ways, he gives us different personalities and temperaments, and He gives us different gifts. The Church is compared to the body, which has different parts with different functions and purposes. Not every part does the same thing. So it is with Evangelism (taking the initiative to share the gospel personally or through preaching), some are called to be Apostles, others, Prophets, others Evangelists and some Pastor-teachers. I will continue to encourage people to do the work of evangelism but I never expect all continue or take to it. Many years ago a friend became a Christian in a Charismatic Church but was told that unless she spoke in tongues she was not fully a Christian yet. She tried and tried but nothing happened, eventually after all kinds of special prayer instructions and insecurity about her faith she made some sounds which was accepted as praying in tongues and was declared a Spirit filled Christian. The danger is that if we tell everyone they are evangelists we may be repeating a mistake some of our ‘distant relatives’ have made in the pass.

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Justin Garcia

February 2, 2011 at 05:34 PM

Wow. I'm kind of shocked at some of the responses. It's funny, I'm not an "evangelist" but because I make a commitment to participate in it on a regular basis people asume that I have a gift for it. I would say that I personally gave less than a 1 percent "success rate" if the measure is conversion to Christ. I believe the Scriptures teach a 100 percent success rate every time the Gospel is preached. Salvation is a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit. We are not called to save anyone but we are all called to make disciples and how will they hear without a preacher? The primary role of an evangelist in the NT was one like Paul who sought to plant new churches where the Gospel had yet been heard. God appointed these men and women just as He still does today. But then where does that leave the rest of the 99% of us? If God intended to only use 1% to tell the world of the Good News about what He has done for man then why did He not just take is all to heaven the minute we got saved? I believe that the primary reason we're still here is to do just that: preach the word in season and out of season. Whether we are preaching in our churches or on the workplace we can be confident that we will be used of God as He sees fit. Sometimes we are like faithful Jeremiah who preached for 50 years without a convert or like Jonah who reluctantly preached a one word sermon and a million repented. I think Jonah would warn us not to have the same attitude that he did. Whether it be Apollos who waters and cephas who plants it is the Lord who make the Gospel seed grow. We ate simply the farmers sowing the seed and fishers of men for His glory.

Passion Points « Three Passions

February 12, 2011 at 04:59 PM

[...] Evangelism: Four pointers for evangelism from J. Mack Stiles.  And then, Mark Altrogge clears up a common misunderstanding that predestination and evangelism don’t go together. [...]

Jean-Pierre Schroeder

February 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Some Christians believe in the gift of evangelism and others do not. Saying that, pastors are called to do evangelism and believers should be be prepared to share their faith, but some do have the gift and that does make a difference.

Truth Unites... and Divides

February 1, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Excellent encouragement!

Watchman

February 1, 2011 at 10:21 PM

We may not all be gifted with evangelism, but we are all called to evangelize. Some of us may be better at it than others. Ultimately, it is God that leads people to Himself, not us. We are merely seed planters, and God is the cultivater. Let us not neglect our mandate to proclaim God's worth to the nations. There is nothing that makes Satan more proud than to persuade Christians into thinking global missions and evangelism are for those "special people with a special calling". Don't wait. Go now!

Keith

February 1, 2011 at 07:07 PM

I know scripture says that we should all be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us but does it say anywhere that we should all be actively evangelising others, ie. initiating conversations in which we share the gospel?

[...] What If I’m Not a Gifted Evangelist? – The Gospel Coalition Blog [...]