This article is continued from, “Evangelism, Anyone?“
So, if both Christians and non-Christians are often uncomfortable about evangelism, how then, are we to respond to the Great Commission? Although how-to-booklets, four-point-tracts, two-question-tests, and high-tech-videos have their place, there is no substitute for the efficacy of the human factor. I’m speaking of caring, one-to-one relationships. It’s called “lifestyle evangelism”–it takes time and costs more in terms of personal investment. Are you willing to develop relationships with non-Christians or have you retreated to a comfortable Christian subculture? Separatism is one of those frightening “isms.”
We need to slow down in our life routines and show more of an interest in the people we meet. It took me nine visits to her line, but I have finally been able to share God’s love with the single mom at the supermarket check out. The house painters came every day for four days. I got a fresh coat and they got a fresh revelation. When we placed our children into a wonderful public elementary school last year and I invited the entire office staff and administration to a Christmas Tea with a sumptuous dessert buffet. I said grace and shared words of life and sent each kind woman off with a dessert in one hand and a devotional book in the other. The florist, the Fed Ex guy, the hair stylist, the person in the nearby cubicle, the wild cousin, the next door neighbor–people need the Lord.
The greatest of all Christian evangelists wrote “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Remember first and foremost that evangelism must flow from a heart of love. Paul called this love “a more excellent way.” Of all the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, love is the greatest. Love is not something we have to work up but it is allowing the Holy Spirit to love through us. Love serves, love is active, and love is a sweet fruit. A songwriter once admonished; “Don’t tell them Jesus loves them until you’re ready to love them too.” Are you ready? When you’re able to answer with a resounding “Yes!”– then evangelism will be a joy and communicating your faith will be something you cannot help but do.
Endnote: These are my favorite books on evangelism. I recommend them highly.
Out of the Saltshaker and into the World by Rebecca Manley Pippert
Gentle Persuasion by Joseph Aldrich
Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren
How To Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless by C. John Miller