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This year (actually last year, too) brings a renewed focus on personal evangelism for me. I’m excited about it, though I don’t rank myself among the world’s best evangelists. I suspect my weaknesses fall into two broad categories: insufficient encouragement and no specific enough plan. I suspect we all perform better when we have people spurring us on and when we have some definite sense of what we’re trying to achieve. An evangelist without a plan is not an evangelist at all, to modify Nietzsche.

I’m working on my plan for the year, which includes a goal of having at least one meaningful evangelistic conversation with someone every week. That means I’m going to have to be more thoughtful and intentional about putting myself in contact with neighbors who are not yet Christians. I’m looking forward to doing that more intentionally and aggressively this year. Pray for me.

For encouragement, I’m going to spend more time with some young men in the congregation who genuinely have evangelistic hearts. I’m also going to spend more time engaging with church planters, missionaries, and others sharing their stories and experiences. To that end, I want to share a story from some church planters working in a hard-to-reach area. May the Lord give me more of this kind of intentionality and creativity!

I went to a tea party the week Obama won the election, and I knew the topic would come up. I did some homework about Mormonism and Islam. There is a whole Wikipedia entry devoted to comparisons between the two sects. Sure enough, at the tea party one friend brought up Romney and Mormonism. I explained the basics – that Joseph Smith said he got a special message from an angel from God even though no one else saw the angel, that he said the [New Testament] had been changed and only the Book of Mormon was correct, that many people followed him, that Christians fought against him, and that he had strange ideas like polygamy. I got to share the message twice, each time only one woman listened – both were lawyer’s wives. They each said, ‘That’s just like Islam,’ very early on in my explanation. I explained that Joseph Smith did no miracles to prove that his message was really from God. I asked, ‘If I told you I had seen an angel and got a book from God, would you believe me?’ They said no. I asked, ‘If I turned this water into wine, would you believe me?’ ‘Maybe.’ ‘What if I healed Ibrahim Tatlises (partially paralyzed pop singer from Turkey)?’ ‘Maybe.’ ‘What if I raised Baris Mancho (popular Turkish singer who died in 1999) from the dead? Would you believe me?’ ‘Yes!’ So I said, ‘Jesus did all these things. He brought a message from God. He turned water into wine. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. This is why I believe Jesus.’ Alas, there was no outward sign of an inward change. I have been praying every day for Beth and Jazzy.

Here’s a saint that considered a major world event (the U.S. election) and its religious dimensions, did a little homework, and used it wonderfully in defense and proclamation of the gospel. Encourages me to do the same. May the Lord produce fruit! Please join us in praying for Beth and Jazzy right now, that they would repent and believe in Christ for their salvation.

What about you? How are you doing with evangelism and what encouragements or plans do you have for the New Year?

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14 thoughts on “Praying for Evangelists and to Be a Better One Myself”

  1. T.Newbell says:

    This made me do a little dance in my seat! I will pray for you! What a wonderful and outward focused goal for the New Year. I was a campus intern and evangelism was my main “job title.” I put job in quotations because it was a joy to proclaim the gospel to people every day. I have friends who are much more gifted than I but I was always encouraged to remember that it is not about my eloquent speech or lack there of “lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power”(1 Cor 1:17). I am passionate about sharing the gospel. I often wonder if we (general church goers and churches in general) are really good at discipleship and lack faith for evangelism. I wonder if that is part of the death we may be seeing.

    Thank you for writing about such an important, if not the only important, topic (in my opinion). Praying for you!

    Bless you and Happy New Year,


  2. T.Newbell says:

    One last thing, it’s pretty amazing how often I’ve been able to speak to my unbelieving friends about the gospel because of the articles I’ve written. I often think about the book (I’m writing) and think of those who I might get to speak to who don’t know the Lord not because of the content of my book but just the mere fact that I have written one. In other words, I have faith that God will use it (and future articles) beyond the scope of discipleship and/or reporting. I have a lot of faith for that. May it be so!

  3. Nick Esch says:

    This was very encouraging. I am currently working as a truck part salesman but this fall, Lord willing, I will be stepping into full-time ministry as a pastor. That being the case I knew this would likely be my last year working with “predominantly” unbelievers, so I have committed myself by the grace of God to share the Gospel at least once a day during the work week and hopefully, prayerfully, the Lord will grant me Gospel opportunities on the weekend as well. I know as I step into the pastorate much of my time will be devoted to the church however my hope and prayer is that God will do a work in me over this year and make sharing the Gospel a natural, everyday occurance…
    Thank you for all you do! I will be praying for you brother and please keep me in your prayers as well. May the Lord bless our efforts and grant those we share with true repentance. And may we grow as we share as Paul says in Philemon 6….

  4. One word that stood out to me in your article was “intentional.” This is a word I use frequently when teaching about evangelism and just discussing it with others. I work in a Christian ministry, am an elder at church, lead a small group, have only Christian friends, etc.
    If I were not intentional about interacting with unbelievers, I would not happen in my day-to-day life. I must be intentional about sharing the gospel or it isn’t going to happen.
    Oh, and I am pretty lazy about doing hard things, so I have to be intentional about sharing the gospel.
    And, I don’t like conflict, so I have to be intentional about sharing the gospel.
    By God’s grace we can all improve in this discipline.

  5. Interesting how the testimony here points to signs and wonders. This is a valid form of evangelism and is encouraged in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles. It is surprising to see it pop up at TGC.

    Are the mention of these Turkish miracles actual?

    * Oh by the way, Brother Thabiti, this past year you once mentioned Spurgeon’s ‘The Soul Winner’ in a post. That drove me to read the book, which drove me to hit the streets and I have probably had my most evangelistic year since I became a Christian 11 years ago. And my desire to chat about Christ’s Gospel is growing.

  6. Cynthia says:

    What an inspirational article! I want to discuss my Christianity with “intention” and “focus.” I strive to do this through my art and creations, and this year, I have committed to becoming more intentional in my work and faith. Many blessings, as you have encouraged me!

  7. I cannot tell you much of an encouragement this post is to me. I know that there are different giftings for different people but those of us who are bent toward evangelism and church planting (plant and move versus plant and stick) and missions — there is a tendency to feel like we are the strange people of the body of Christ. Perhaps we are and most of that does not bother me too much, but sometimes it does.

    Your “I plan of spending time with evangelists” for encouragement is an interesting statement. Perhaps you desire to be encouraged but I am not sure if you will ever fully know the level of encouragement you would BE to those who do type of ministry when you do this.

    But for encouragement I suggest going to Mosques and playing cricket with Muslims and sharing the gospel. This has been a HUGE blessing to my soul and it is not uncommon to have Muslims want to know more about Jesus.

    And Steve from Winnipeg….I encourage you to pray BIG awesome prayers in Jesus’ name, especially with Muslims. You WILL see miracles. I have been shamed for my lack of faith many times and one in which a young man’s dad was healed from cancer miraculously and suddenly a Muslim man watching comes to me and says, “I want to hear about Jesus.” I must admit the healing caught me more by surprise than anyone else.

  8. Robert says:

    Very helpful article. I had already targeted 5 homes in my neighborhood, but it is good to think through the conversations as they may well go, based on the realities in each person’s life.

  9. Muoki Musau says:

    That you are open and honest about what you hope to do, with no pretense as to make it seem like its just another thing to add to the list, this is really encouraging! Blessings, pastor.

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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