Christians approach evangelism a lot like dieting and exercise: we are comfortable doing what we are comfortable with. Occasionally, someone says something that unsettles us. They make us uncomfortable.
In terms of our physical health, we respond by analysis and often times action. We start a diet, join a gym, or pledge to be more fit. I think of this analogy whenever I see a guy getting abused by a trainer at the gym. They look like they are going to die. It’s obvious they won’t continue (I’m not sure that they can!).
In the spiritual realm, specifically with regard to evangelism, people are convicted after they hear a sermon, read a book, or talk with a Christian friend. They pledge to be more active in evangelism. They grab some tracts, set some witnessing goals, and get set to “do-evangelism.” Then, after a few weeks they fizzle. They slide back into the posture of evangelistic passivity. Like the red-cheeked, exhausted fella at the gym: they are ready to throw in the towel.
But what if faithful evangelism didn’t involve anything extra but simply intentionally doing what you already do?
In other words, instead of making all kinds of rash and unreasonable evangelistic goals and strategies, what if you just decided to be a faithful Christian? Faithful Christianity never involves less than evangelism. In order to be faithful (obedient) as a Christian then we must be active in evangelism.
Consider this: how would your day-to-day tasks look different if you did them with evangelistic intentionality?
- When you awake, you pray for help to be faithful with the gospel. Ask God for opportunities to speak of Christ and for boldness to take the opportunities that he gives.
- When you are eating breakfast maybe you’ll scan the news so as to see some current events that might be springboards for conversation with neighbors, co-workers or strangers.
- When you are commuting to work, you may consider listening to a sermon or a book to equip you with a better handle on the truth.
- At work, the market, or the gym you aim to be friendly so you can have an open door for conversation that you are praying would lead to the gospel.
- When you come home you don’t hustle inside but enjoy the outside while being friendly to neighbors. Consider also going for walks, praying for your neighborhood and meeting neighbors.
- When doing errands (store, barber, etc) consider going to the same places so you can get to know the people who work there.
When there are conversations, take the opportunities to talk about Jesus. I have used the 5 minute rule in the past. In this I start a clock in my head where I try to get to talking about Jesus within 5 minutes. This does not mean that I am not listening or engaging my new friend, it just means that I am going to talk about Jesus at some point. If you need a 300-second clock, then this may help.
In what I am suggesting you are not adding some extravagant evangelism program to your life that you will more than likely not keep up with. Instead, I am advocating the reorientation of your life around the gospel, particular the task of evangelism. If you are a Christian then you have been sent by Jesus to make disciples (Mt. 28:19-21). Live in light of this.
Pray, think, live like an evangelist. My experience is if you do the first (pray), then you will do the second (think), and as a realist the the third (live) comes along with it. Give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be crumbled over in agony but rather beaming with evangelistic excitement.