By Catherine Renfro
Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Rejection. These are just a few of the tactics Satan uses to keep us from sharing the hope of the gospel. But what if every Christian not only knew but also believed Jesus can use them as He changes hearts and lives for eternity?
That can begin with you creating a culture of evangelism in your church, student ministry, small group, or other area of ministry. Here’s how:
1. Redefine success for those you lead
Most people think that their gospel conversation isn’t successful unless they lead a person to faith in Christ. The truth is success is not seeing someone saved; success is simply sharing the gospel. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (CSB).Evangelistic success is not seeing someone saved; success is simply sharing the gospel. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
God never leaves the results of gospel conversations up to us. He simply asks us to plant and water seeds by sharing, and anytime we do is a success.
2. Realize sharing the gospel isn’t about us
Fear leads us to worry about how someone will respond if we share the gospel. Doubt and uncertainty make us believe we either don’t know enough to share the gospel or we’ll mess up if we try to share. Rejection leaves us feeling hurt and discouraged.
When sharing the gospel is about us rather than Jesus, we tend to focus more on ourselves than the One whom we’re sharing about. Jesus says, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16, CSB). Sharing the gospel isn’t about us. It’s about someone much greater than us. It’s about Jesus.Knowing that sharing the gospel isn’t about us takes the pressure off us. We can share with courage and confidence knowing it’s all about Jesus and all for Jesus. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
When someone rejects the gospel, it’s not personal toward us. It’s personal toward God. If we get to lead someone to faith in Jesus, it’s still not about us. It’s about the power of God working through us. Knowing that sharing the gospel isn’t about us takes the pressure off us. We can share with courage and confidence knowing it’s all about Jesus and all for Jesus.
3. Help people understand their purpose
We exist to know Jesus and to make Jesus known. We get to do a lot of things in a day, but what if knowing Jesus and making Him known set the agenda for everything we do? Everyday tasks would become more than just a checklist of things to get done but a means to something greater.
Going to work becomes less about making a living and more about an opportunity to be around coworkers who we can point to Jesus. Going to the grocery store is less about the need to buy groceries and more about the opportunity to see a cashier and start an encouraging conversation that can lead to the gospel.Evangelism will become a part of everything we do when knowing Jesus and making Him known becomes the why behind everything we do. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
Evangelism will become a part of everything we do when knowing Jesus and making Him known becomes the why behind everything we do.
4. Pray together for opportunities
The Bible says in James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask” (CSB). It’s amazing to think of the number of opportunities we miss out on simply because we don’t ask God for them.
A daily prayer that’s been instrumental in my life is, “Lord, give me an opportunity to tell someone about You today.” God hears our prayers, and He responds to them. In Psalm 5:3 David says, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.”When we pray for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus, we can wait and watch expectantly knowing God will respond because the harvest is plentiful. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
When we pray for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus, we can wait and watch expectantly knowing God will respond because the harvest is plentiful. There are people we cross paths with every day who need to know there is hope in Jesus.
5. Choose a simple method for sharing the gospel
Sharing the gospel is intimidating to most people. The fear of messing up or not knowing what to say can paralyze a person from even attempting to start a gospel conversation. Choosing a simple method and teaching it repeatedly in church services, small group settings, or any other gathering can help others learn to share the gospel. Repetition leads to memorization.As people realize sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be complicated, they become more confident in turning everyday conversations into gospel conversations. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
In addition to teaching a method, help people see there is power in their personal testimonies. If Jesus has changed our lives, we have a story to share. As people realize sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be complicated, they become more confident in turning everyday conversations into gospel conversations.
6. Share your stories
This may be one of the most helpful things you can do as a leader. Regularly share stories of gospel conversations you’ve had or attempted to have in the past couple of weeks. Stories are inspirational. They show how God is at work in and through the lives of His people, and they ignite a passion for others to want to be a part of it.Throughout Scripture, we see God equips those He calls. As followers of Jesus, we’re all called to share the hope of the gospel. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
Stories also provide a model for others to follow. They answer the question, “How did you get to the gospel in that conversation?” One of the most exciting and impactful times of our small groups—whether with students or adults—are when we share stories of who we’re praying for, opportunities we’ve missed, and gospel conversations we’ve had. This time of sharing stories has encouraged many people to step out in faith and have gospel conversations they never would have tried to have before, while seeing what God can do when we’re willing to be used by Him.
Throughout Scripture, we see God equips those He calls. As followers of Jesus, we’re all called to share the hope of the gospel. Let’s do something today that will matter for eternity. I can’t think of anything that will matter more than telling someone about Jesus and teaching those we get to serve to do the same.
Catherine serves as national director of women’s evangelism for the North American Mission Board. Her husband, Chris, pastors Hope Church, a two-year-old church plant in Alpharetta, Ga.