Most followers of Jesus Christ have some kind of a desire to promote the gospel, but the majority don’t feel confident or comfortable in doing so. As a result, many are sitting on their hands, frustrated, not knowing how to go about sharing their faith. Some of the biggest fears include being unable to answer questions, being rejected, despised or having uncomfortable confrontations with non-Christians. It can be discouraging when you deliberately try to introduce Bible verses in conversation and yet the wisdom falls on rocky ground or polished concrete.
Many Christians don’t know how to share the Gospel, so instead, they resort to being friendly and helpful. They offer hospitality, generosity and random acts of kindness. They are hoping to “shine the light” without being so bold as to reveal the source of their kindness. They are doing “good works” which is a good thing and they can still be effective in many ways but the Gospel must be communicated with words. It is good to give a homeless person money and food, but it is better to also give them the Good News of Jesus.
There are those who are good debaters, and apologists. An apologist is someone who has the ability to influence people with the Gospel through skillful but friendly debate or verbal jousting. It is a skill and requires great knowledge and study. It requires a sound knowledge of our Christian worldview, other world views and the ability to think on your feet and respond to objections and intellectual arguments. Some of the world’s great apologists (ie: Ravi Zacharias) know well that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and convinces of sin and converts the soul, but God can and does use apologists as tools to do the convincing. Every Christian Apologist and evangelist must always be careful to act in love, with love and use godly discernment, wisdom and empathy.
If you are gifted in intellect and evangelistic debating, then use your gift for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom! If you are not gifted in this area (or in fact struggle), then there is another approach that may very well help you to be effective in your evangelism efforts. People love stories and have done so for so for thousands of years. They have always been one of the great teaching mediums and today’s postmodern culture is particularly drawn to receiving information in story form.? A lecture on theology will seldom be received with open ears, but a true story or testimony laden with theological truths and biblical principles will often speak to people’s hearts and minds.
The Bible is full of stories that captivate the heart and mind. It is a story with many books that all point to the mercy and saving grace of Jesus. Jesus also used parables to connect with people. Telling bible stories, particularly on the mission field, has shown to be powerfully effective in getting people’s attention for God’s purposes. We can read in the book of Acts that Paul gave his personal testimony on two occasions in Acts 22: 1-16 and Acts 26:9-23. In the book of John we can read that John virtually gives his testimony by telling of the things ‘he saw and heard’ in 1John1 :1-3. Every born again Christian who has found new life in Christ has something to testify to.
To some, the “new life” has meant leaving a life of crime and drugs, and for others it has meant a change of heart, or a new discovery of purpose, or a profound sense of forgiveness. All of these these experiences are to be shared and can be used by God to speak into the lives of others. Don’t be a closet Christian and don’t underestimate the power of your story, or rather, the power of God to use your story for His glory.
Take the time to write out your story. It is an extremely worthwhile exercise that will help you to remember God’s work in your life. Where did you come from and how did God change you? How has this changed your outlook and circumstances? Begin committing your story to memory and look for opportunities to share part or all of that story with those that God places in your path. Conversion is up to God but the privilege of being used by God for evangelism is ours!