Our fire for evangelism will not fade as we live in awe of Jesus, with eternity in mind, and expecting divine encounters.
By Catherine Renfro
In 2016, someone gave my husband, Chris, and me one of the coolest experiences of our lives. It was a 24-hour trip to New York City to see a basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden. We traveled to the city on a Thursday morning and had all day to explore the city before going to the tournament that evening. Then we jumped on a return flight home the next day. When we returned home, we told everyone we knew about our experience. We shared with those who gifted the trip to us, our families, and every friend who wanted to listen. For months, we relived every moment, and it was awesome.
It’s been nearly six years since we went on that trip. And today, we rarely talk about it. As Christians, it’s easy to treat our salvation from Jesus like Chris and I treat this trip to New York City. We received this gift in the past. And while we’re still thankful for it and look back on it at times with great memories, it didn’t change our lives. And it’s certainly not something we still talk about all the time.
A dwindling fire for evangelism
According to recent research from Evangelism Explosion by Lifeway Research, the longer we’re followers of Jesus, the more our passion for telling others about Him wavers. Maybe this happens because we start hanging out predominantly with Christians and find ourselves around fewer and fewer non-Christians. Or maybe it’s because our relationship with Jesus is something we’re still thankful for but has become a distant memory rather than something that impacts every moment of every day we’re given.The longer we’re followers of Jesus, the more our passion for telling others about Him wavers, according to recent research from @EEvangelism and Lifeway Research. Click To Tweet
I was 13 years old when Jesus saved me. And I remember wanting to tell everyone what He had done in my life so they too could be saved. In a world that’s broken, hurting, and in search of hope, it’s imperative that we not lose our passion for sharing the hope we have in Jesus. So how can we do this? How can we maintain our fire for evangelism?
1. Live in awe of Jesus
We talk most about the people and things we’re in awe of. Chris and I spoke about our trip to New York City for months. But when our awe began to fade, so did our conversations about it. The gift of salvation through faith in Jesus is, by far, greater than anything or anyone we’ll encounter on this side of heaven.
To lose our awe of Him is to lose sight of what He’s done for us. If we ever get over what Jesus has done for us, we’ll stop telling others what He can do for them. Psalm 96:2-3 says, “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; proclaim his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his wondrous works among all peoples” (CSB). When we’re in awe of Jesus and all He’s done, we can’t help but talk about Him with others.
2. Live with eternity in mind
When we leave this world and stand before Jesus, we won’t wish we had more time in New York City or made more money. But we may wish we would’ve told more people about Jesus. The same Lifeway Research shows 42% of Christians say it’s scary to share with a non-believer how they can become a Christian. I think we can all relate to that. Fear is one of the many tactics Satan uses to keep Christians from telling others about Jesus. We fear how someone will respond, fear messing up, or simply fear the awkwardness of the conversation. There’s freedom in the words of Jesus in Luke 12:12, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said” (CSB).To love people the way Jesus loves people is to care about where they’ll spend eternity the way Jesus cares about where they’ll spend eternity. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
To love people the way Jesus loves people is to care about where they’ll spend eternity the way Jesus cares about where they’ll spend eternity. Caring about someone’s eternity will lead you to confidently share the gospel with them, knowing Jesus will give you the words to say, no matter the fear that may arise.
Are there people in your life who you care so deeply about that you can’t imagine being in heaven without them? Living with eternity in mind will stir up a passion inside us to not only go quickly but to go often to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people around us.
3. Live expecting divine encounters
Every day we walk out of our homes, we encounter someone who’s hurting and searching for hope. Whether it’s a neighbor, a family member, or a server at the local restaurant, every person is carrying a burden. And every person needs Jesus. It’s amazing how Jesus sees someone who needs Him and crosses their path with someone who points them to Him.
One of my favorite examples of this in Scripture comes from Acts 3—the story of the beggar at the temple gate. As Peter and John walk by the beggar, he asks them for money. Rather than ignoring the beggar or letting him know they didn’t have any money, Peter and John stopped and engaged the man in conversation. They took an everyday conversation with an everyday man and turned it to Jesus. Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6, CSB). This was a divine encounter in which God intentionally crossed the beggar’s path with Peter and John so they could point him to Jesus.
Fueling your fire for evangelism
There’s nothing like getting an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. There are times when we’ll start gospel conversations and find out the other person is a Christian. Other times, we’ll start gospel conversations and find out the person is not a Christian. In either divine encounter, we’ll see Jesus using us to encourage other believers or point non-believers to Himself. Be expectant for encounters, and be willing to share.Being a small part of what God is doing to change lives and eternities is one of our greatest gifts. — @CatherineRenfro Click To Tweet
When Jesus changes our lives, He gives us stories to share. It’s not a story that begins with excitement and fades over time. It’s a story that continues to transform our lives day by day. Today, and every day, He calls us to share this story as we share the hope of the gospel. Try sharing today. Being a small part of what God is doing to change lives and eternities is one of our greatest gifts. It’s not something we have to be a part of; it’s something we get to be a part of. Our fire for evangelism will not fade as we live in awe of Jesus, with eternity in mind, and expecting divine encounters.
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.