3 Ways to Influence a Culture of Evangelism
Everyone follows the people they look up to. Just last week I had a handful of families over for lunch. It was joyful chaos with crowded rooms and team-work food preparation. Yet, if you watched, you could see the tiniest two-year-old mimicking and following room-to-room the biggest kid present, who was a respectable four and a half. Every push of his toy truck and every wave of his hand was emulated with pizazz.
And that’s how it is in the church. If you’re serving and leading, people are watching you. You likely have more influence on how others think about their lives than you may be comfortable with. One area in which others emulate us is evangelism. Whether we recognize it or not, others will often model their leaders.
So, as we depend on Jesus for help to lead well, what are ways we can intentionally do so in the area of evangelism? The tone we set in our community of influence greatly changes the way those around us see the value of proclaiming the gospel. We’ll talk about six ideas from a recent lecture I gave. We’ll look at three of them today and the other three next week.
1. Help Others Know the Message
Can those you are leading articulate what the saving message of the gospel is? I’ve found we often assume others can when they can’t. She may love Jesus and want to serve him, but when you ask her what someone must know to be saved, a blank stare greets you. So when you are teaching, from any passage in the Bible, clearly define the gospel. We’ve talked a lot about how we believe the Bible is centered on Jesus and the gospel. Teach like you believe this focal point by talking about humans’ value and sin, and Jesus’ life, death and resurrection each time you speak.
Train those around you how to talk about it. I usually train for evangelism using this video, but as long as you include the gospel, great. Use what works for you; we are constrained by orthodoxy but are free in creativity to express the message of the gospel.
2. Speak of the Mission
To influence the culture of evangelism around us, we are compelled to talk about the mission of God, into which he has invited us. We have been given a mission and a message with God as the great Actor. Our place is to love, serve, and speak of the good news—because we have the best news of a loving, forgiving God! And people desperately need him. We take initiative to do those things and leave the results in God’s hands.
So speak about the mission when you’re on a walk, when you’re at a lunch appointment, when you’re praying with others. Talk about the ways you are taking the initiative to bring a meal to your neighbors, to invite your hairstylist to coffee, to speak to the students in your classes. I’m not talking about boasting in how well you’re doing. That’s not helpful. But share your steps of faith in humility, including your fears and failures. This helps others have ideas of their next steps of faith. Talk about the mission like this is truly something we are on, because we are .
3. Share Your Faith-- Your Faith in God’s Power
Our view of the call to evangelism as Christians can be strange. At times we treat it like the stain on the rug we scoot the couch over. If no one acknowledges it, maybe we can pretend it’s not there. Other times we face it fully focused, yet we slip into pragmatism, promotionalism, or moralism. We get focused on what we are accomplishing, rather than trusting the God who saves. Guilt or pride grow, depending on how your stats are going. Fear and changes in “tactics” seem like easy answers. This is definitely when we wrongly decide certain people are not “in the market” for what we’re offering. Pragmatists, promotionalists, and moralists can be good evangelists, yet be doing nothing for the glory of Jesus. Their work is not done in dependence upon him.
Rather, share your faith in the power of God for salvation. We speak about Jesus, because we believe that God truly does raise the spiritually dead. We believe our greatest need and greatest joy are found in God himself. Speak of that and protect those you serve from any “ism” that will make evangelism about themselves.
You may be reading this post and guilt or fear are already creeping over you. Maybe you’ve just realized that you haven’t been leading in evangelism at all. Perhaps you haven’t loved the mission of Jesus. The good news we proclaim also tells us there is grace for us. Grace to forgive our sin. Grace to calm fears with the truth. Gracious provision of the Holy Spirit to empower us to speak the message and trust in Jesus. Start with these three steps and remember the gospel for yourself. Your influence changes others’ view on evangelism.