Basics of Evangelism
Objective: To include in our evangelism strategies the need to prepare to fish at work and in our neighborhood by being clean, bold, and Spirit-filled.
Preparing to Share Our Faith
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15 NLT). According to this verse, what two things must we do before we can take our faith to work?”
Which of these two is more difficult for you? Why? On a scale of 1-10, how prepared do you feel to share the reason for your hope?” (1 = totally unprepared and 10 = completely prepared”). What challenges have you experienced in sharing your faith at work or in your neighborhood that illustrates the need for surrender to Christ and preparation?
Fishing for People
“‘Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”' (Matthew 4:19 NLT). Based on this verse, what’s our part in fishing at work?
What’s Jesus’ part? If we’re not fishing for people, what else aren’t we doing well?
Fishing for people has no closed season, size, or creel limits-- red and yellow, black and white, young or old, big or small. We can fish whenever we want and keep everything we catch.
Successful fishermen prepare for their fishing trips. They organize their tackle, check their boat, motor, and trailer, find their lake maps, prepare food, etc. We are ready to fish for people by being clean, bold, and Spirit-filled.
How Can I Be an Effective Evangelist?
Two fishermen met on vacation and were soon telling fish stories. The first described a 295-pound salmon he caught on a four-pound test line that took him hours to land, and he didn’t spare a single detail.
The second talked about his lure snagging a lantern made in 1912 while fishing in a local lake. The most amazing thing -- the lantern was still burning! The first fisherman got right to the point. He said, “I’ll take 280 pounds off my salmon if you extinguish the light in your lantern!”
Satan’s goal is to extinguish our light. Jesus said, “‘In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’” (Matthew 5:16 NLT). Our light shines through words, attitudes, and behavior at work and in our community.
When it does, the captives of darkness notice. We can expect many cockroach responses and a few moth responses. When our light shines, most not-yet-believers want to escape it like cockroaches run when the lights are turned on at night.
Some of them, however, will be attracted to our light, like moths to a light bulb. To what degree do these analogies ring true in your experience?
Letting our light shine through our lives is essential, but that’s not enough. Based on information gathered by surveys I did with about 30 congregations, people rarely ask those who attend these churches why they’re so different, even if the difference between them and their co-workers is dramatic. Fewer than 10% of people in these congregations have been asked three or more times in their lifetime something similar to, “What makes you so different?” Few believers are asked that question.
We have to take the initiative to share God’s word with others. They aren’t won to Christ just by watching us.
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NLT). What does this verse identify as critical in persons coming to faith in Christ?
As we’ll see, when the message is sown on cultivated soil (a prepared heart), it’s far more likely to yield a harvest than when planted on the uncultivated ground. Remember CBS. Effective witnesses for Christ are clean, bold, and Spirit-filled.
Confession of Sin and Evangelistic Effectiveness
To be effective witnesses, we have to be clean. “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT). We spend considerable effort trying to cover up or excuse our sins. We can fool others for a while, but our sins catch up sooner or later. God knows every un-Jesus-like area, and we can’t fool Him.
God’s solution is to call sin what He does -- SIN! He wants us to change our attitude toward it, forsake it and receive His cleansing. The corrosion of a battery’s terminals blocks the flow of electrical current, and sin blocks the flow of God’s power through our lives.
We can clean battery terminals with baking soda and restore the current flow. Confession is God’s baking soda.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT). Confession makes us usable.
What sins do we need to confess? Does our use of time and money prove our priorities are in order? Is God getting leftovers?
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
Have we lost our first love for Jesus? Are we holding grudges against and refusing to forgive others?
After we confess the specific sins God convicts us, we can be clean channels through which living water can flow to others. This isn’t something we only do once. Whenever there’s “dirt,” there’s a need for cleansing.
Boldness and Evangelistic Effectiveness
"And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray I will keep speaking boldly for him, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19-20 NLT).
Living by faith means taking risks. Don’t expect to feel safe when you cooperate with God in His saving work. We can’t rescue anyone from our comfort zone. Reaching out evangelistically today feels risky, even if we’ve done it 100 times on other days.
Resistance to extending God’s kingdom comes from three sources. The devil doesn’t allow us to take his prisoners of war uncontested any more than a mother bear would enable us to carry away her cubs without a fight. In addition, that part of us that loves to be in control and go our way doesn’t take risks for others’ benefit. Our culture's values and beliefs oppose God’s work on earth.
Lifeguards and firefighters take risks to rescue others. Even if they’re successful, those rescued eventually die of other causes. How much more should we take risks for the eternal welfare of others?
Reaching out evangelistically is like our first plunge off the high diving board, and it starts with fear and ends with exhilaration. This is true even when others don’t embrace our message because God fills us with the joy of the obedient.
Let’s plunge into the evangelistic opportunities God provides, depending on Jesus’ promise, “‘And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:20b NLT). When God pushes us to leave our comfort zone, it’s unsafe to remain in it!
Holy Spirit-Filled and Evangelistic Effectiveness
The control and power of the Holy Spirit are essential to evangelism. We must yield the steering wheel of our life (mind, emotions, and will) to the Spirit of Christ daily.
Since God commands us to be filled with His Spirit, it’s His will. “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NLT).
God guarantees He’ll answer every prayer in harmony with His will. “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” (1 John 5:14-15 NLT).
When filled with His Spirit, we can do anything God asks us to do.
How are both submission and faith connected to being controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit? Which of the two do you find more challenging?
Clean, Bold, and Filled with the Spirit Assignments:
Every day spend two minutes of your prayer time in silence before God. Ask him to reveal anything in your life that displeases Him. Confess it and claim His forgiveness.
Speak or act boldly for Jesus. Step out in faith despite fear. Your step of faith can be a small one. You might share something God has taught you recently in ten seconds of a conversation with a co-worker.
You could demonstrate love to a neighbor by meeting a need and explaining it as just wanting to show God’s love practically.
This site offers free resources to help you grow spiritually so that the Holy Spirit can lead you by faith to witness to others and have a more faith-based church leadership.
Spiritual Health Assessment tells your spiritual strengths.
ABC of Evangelism prepares you to fish for people.