Many of us still wrestle with the feeling that we should share the Gospel, but with little knowledge of how we should go about doing it. It's time to change that.
For much of my life, sharing the Gospel was like flossing. I knew I should do it, but it was such a chore! Growing up as a pastor’s kid, you would think that I would have been an expert at sharing the Gospel. After all, my earliest memories were of being in church, listening to sermons, and memorizing Bible verses. Moreover, I was an extrovert. Talking was my passion! So, talking about God’s love for a sinful world should have been the easiest thing for me to do.
Except it wasn’t.
You see, for many years, I vacillated between two extremes. I would either ignore any and all opportunities to talk about God with someone, or I would treat every chance encounter as a life-or-death “come-to-Jesus altar call moment.” I would often feel incredible guilt at my lack of “evangelical enthusiasm” and fear that the lost person I had neglected would soon burn in hell due to my silence.
That was a lot of guilt for a twelve-year-old. I still remember one road trip where I was convinced that every single gas station attendant needed to hear the Gospel. Needless to say, little fruit came of these hurried, guilt-ridden conversations with Chevron cashiers I had known for a total of 15 seconds.
As I reflect on my turbulent relationship with evangelism, I realize that I am probably not alone. Other Christians I know dealt with similar feelings growing up in the church. Many of us still wrestle with the feeling that we should share the Gospel, but with little knowledge of how we should go about doing it.
Maybe you feel the same way.
It was only recently that I learned that sharing the Gospel is not a chore, it is not meant to be guilt-ridden, and, when done properly, it is infinitely more rewarding than flossing. How can that be, you wonder? Well, first I learned what my role in evangelism was.
For years, I thought my role was saving people. That’s right, I was a pastor’s kid with a god-complex. Scripture is clear—Jesus Christ saves us from sin. It is His grace that calls us to repentance and it is faith in His completed work on the cross that causes someone to be “born again.” Notice what is lacking in that equation…me. I don’t do any of that. As my theology professor put it, “I am a poor substitute for the Holy Spirit.”
So, if I am not responsible for conversion, what am I responsible for? Contact. As the Apostle Paul put it, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom. 10:14 NIV). This distinction may seem small, but it is incredibly important. When I felt like I had to save people, my gospel presentations bordered on manipulation. I wanted to make sure they made the right choice so badly that I almost made it for them. However, when I understood that conversion was the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, I was able to let go of my tendency to try to control the outcome.
The second thing I learned was that “drive-by” gospel presentations often are not effective because the person feels like your special project, rather than a person with whom God desires relationship. The Chevron attendants did not know me from Adam and had little interest in what I would say about God in between “5 gallons on number 3,” and “Have a blessed day.” I learned that the most effective Gospel presentations are often those made in the context of relationship. This means that I actually need to love someone enough to spend time learning who they are, before telling them who God is.
That was Jesus’ approach to evangelism. He walked throughout the countryside healing the sick and preaching the good news to them. It was not a life of works alone or words alone. He was the Word who put on flesh.
At Care Net, our network of 1,100 affiliated pregnancy centers walk this road daily. They provide compassion, hope, and help to those facing difficult pregnancy decisions. They embody the love of Christ. But, they don’t leave the Gospel to just their actions, they put it into words as well. Our 30,000 staff and volunteers are trained to sense the Holy Spirit’s direction and seek opportunities to transition conversations towards the abundant life found in Christ. After all, if all we do in this world is feed a man’s temporal hunger without addressing his spiritual starvation, we have missed the way of Christ.
I’ll be honest; I still wrestle with the feelings of guilt for missed opportunities. I am far from the picture of a perfect evangelist. But, as I have increasingly embraced the way of Christ, loving and leading others to God has felt less and less like an obligation.
So, does my story ring true with your experience? Have you hungered for greater “evangelistic enthusiasm?” If so, I want you to check out a new resource designed to help you share the Gospel with those around you— even those who may be facing difficult pregnancy decisions.
This eBook is the result of distilling 40 years of Gospel experience at our 1,100+ affiliated pregnancy centers into one easy-to-read resource, ready to empower you to bring the eternal hope found in Jesus Christ to a woman or man considering abortion. The practical tips inside will help you feel ready to serve a friend facing a difficult pregnancy decision and introduce them to the abundant life found in Christ. Even if you don’t know anyone considering abortion today, this training will ensure that you are ready to help someone whose pregnancy becomes a crisis pregnancy down the road.
I know that it has helped me.
You can get your free copy here:
So, what will it be? A life of sharing the Gospel out of obligation, or a life filled with the joy of knowing we have the privilege of introducing people to the God who made them and loves them with an incomprehensible love?