Do you sometimes freak out when you hear the word, “evangelism?” Some people do. However, there are also those who get excited to go out and tell other people about Jesus. In this article, we will look at some of the important keys to fruitful evangelism. To begin with, we should understand what we mean by, “evangelism.” It is sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). We should be eager to help people come to Christ (Rom. 1:15). An evangelist is one who is keen to spread the good news of salvation with the lost world. Here then are some keys to successful evangelism.
First and foremost, we should have a personal relationship with Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We should enjoy our walk with God in our Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with fellow believers, etc. That’s where evangelism begins. We should be informed, Spirit-filled and happy Christians who are growing in their relationship with Jesus. We should be like the Samaritan woman who said to the people of her town, “Come, see a man, who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”(John 4:29). It is very hard to do evangelism when you, yourself have not given your life to Christ.
Secondly, realize that “God loves people more than anything,” as one song has put it. I believe you know that famous verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). People’s salvation is such a high priority to God that if we really love Him, we should also make it our priority. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Therefore, if we really love God, we should feel sorry for the perishing world around us and do everything possible to join God in bringing the good news of salvation to them. The Apostle Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach not the gospel!”(1 Cor. 9:16).
Thirdly, obey God’s command to share the good news. God has given us matching orders, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). He has commanded us, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Jesus also says to us, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). So doing evangelism is simply obeying Jesus’ command to share the good news of the gospel with the perishing world. Don’t depend on feelings, but simply take the initiative to obey and share the good news with the person next to you.
Fourthly, be assured that many people want to hear the good news of salvation through Christ intelligently, accurately, and attractively. Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). There are so many people around us whom God has prepared to hear the gospel and be saved. Someone has said, “You will never witness to the wrong person about Jesus.”
Fifthly, do deeds of kindness. Be a kind person and one who is eager to help others. Jesus said to His disciples, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In his book, Conspiracy of Kindness (Vine Books:1993), Pastor Steve Sjogren (read, Shogrin) promotes what he calls, “servant evangelism.” In this book Pastor Sjogren shares story after story about how people opened up to hear the gospel just because a Christian shared God’s love to them by giving them practical help. He gives this principle, “It seems people don’t necessarily remember what they are told of God’s love, but they never forget what they have experienced of God’s love” (p. 30). St. Francis of Asisi said, “Share the gospel, and where necessary, use words.” A young man in our neighborhood lost his leg through an accident with a bodaboda (motorcycle) and it was amputated in the middle of the thigh. I met with him after he left hospital and shared Christ with him and he trusted in Christ. Later my wife and I brought him to church. With the help of our care group, Gaba Road Care Group, and the church, we were able to buy him an artificial leg. His mother was so happy and later she also got saved. Now news has spread in his family about how we helped him and the people in his home village in western Uganda now want us to go there and tell them the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Sixth, respect every person God brings your way. Share the gospel with children and adults, men and women, poor and rich, educated and uneducated, able-bodied and disabled, etc. All people are made in the image of God. Jesus died for them and they all need to hear the good news of salvation. Never discriminate or share the gospel with only those you like or are comfortable with.
Seventh key, start in simple ways: with a smile, a simple act of kindness, prayer, giving a gospel tract, etc. Someone has said, “You don’t have to be a star to be in Jesus’ show!”You don’t have to be a Billy Graham or Reinhard Bonke. Be yourself and be an evangelist in your own situation. God has called all of us to be evangelists, to share Christ’s message according to the opportunities He gives us.
Eighth key, pray for people before you share the gospel with them. Someone has said, “Talk to God about people before you talk to people about God. I remember making a list of some members of our extended family in 1972 and praying for them. Over time, many of them have come to faith in Christ.
Finally, after you have shared the gospel, leave the results to God. It is God who changes people’s hearts. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). So just share the gospel and don’t be overly concerned whether people receive Christ or not, or if they are mad with you. Don’t worry, for God will do the necessary follow up on them in His own time and in His own way. Give people opportunity to trust in Christ, but don’t pressurize them into giving their lives to Christ.
Dr. Lazarus Seruyange