Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
“But I can’t evangelize . . . “
So many people say that, and they sincerely believe it. Yes, some people are natural evangelists (see Ephesians 4:11), but the responsibility to evangelize doesn’t fall just on them. It falls on all of us.
You don’t have to have the gift of evangelism. You don’t have to be an extrovert. (I know this from experience.) You don’t even have to be mature in the Lord. You just have to know Christ as your Savior and Lord.
There’s a Program for That
Many of us think evangelism has to happen only within the confines of a church program – visitation, for instance – or that we have to go through a special training program to be equipped. But evangelism isn’t a program. It’s a lifestyle, the result of an overflow of what Jesus has done in your heart and your life.
Years ago I was one of those who believed I had to go through special training, so I participated in a popular church evangelism program through which I memorized a 30-minute presentation designed to lead someone to Christ. I remember my first time flying solo on such a gospel presentation, which ended with a woman’s salvation.
“Cheri, that was beautiful,” a teammate said later.
But to me, though I rejoiced in what God had done, the presentation felt flat and impersonal. It came from a textbook, not my heart. I had simply recited a script. So I looked to the word of God for insight on how to share my faith effectively.
Faith Comes by Hearing the Word
The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So it wasn’t an impressive demonstration of the number of Scriptures fulfilled in Christ that won over the woman who heard my presentation. It wasn’t the effectiveness of my delivery. It was the word of God, something we need to keep hidden within our hearts (Psalm 119:11).
I’ve shared before how I was blessed to be discipled by a Navigator who emphasized Scripture memory. Maybe you’re intimidated by Scripture memory. That’s okay, because all you need to memorize is just one verse.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
John 3:16 is famous because it’s so simple and clear. Other options include Romans 10:9, John 1:12 or John 14:6. Write whatever verse you choose on an index card, and keep it in a prominent place – on your bathroom mirror, your fridge or the wall behind your computer – and commit it to heart.
Go and Tell
John 4 tells a compelling story about a loose Samaritan woman who went to a well to refill her water jug and encountered Jesus, the living water. He knew her, loved her despite her sin and offered her new life in Him.
So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to Him . . . Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” . . . And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”– John 4:28-30, 39, 41-42
The woman didn’t sit under someone’s tutelage until she felt fit to share her faith. Interestingly, she didn’t even go boot her boyfriend out of the house first, though I suspect her life was transformed. How do I know? Transformation had already begun. She immediately went and told people along her path that she had encountered Jesus the Messiah. Knowing this woman’s past didn’t decrease her credibility among the people in her community. It increased it.
Imperfect Witnesses to the Perfect Word
The people of Samaria wanted to get to know this Jesus for themselves. As they did, they too drank of the living water that welled up into eternal life. The woman wasn’t a perfect witness. It’s unlikely she would ever have called herself an evangelist. She didn’t have to be. She just pointed others to the perfect Word that had become flesh among them.
Imagine what the impact Christians could have on this world if we each lived to know Christ and make Him known. I encourage you to make it a point this week to tell someone what God has done for you and to share the gospel using just one verse. Then feel free to share your experience with me either in the comments section or on my Facebook page.
Remember, you and I can change the world one life at a time.