Another 3 Ways to Influence a Culture of Evangelism (Part 2)
You’re being watched. While that sounds like the beginning of a horror story, I’m talking about the influence you have, often without knowing it. As an example, one day a good friend pointed out that some women I was meeting with began to adopt my style of dress. “Have you noticed that your daily scarf wearing habit is catching on?” he said with a smirk. People are emulating you, perhaps not your accessories, but they are watching, especially how you engage with evangelism.
The problem is, evangelism is one of those terrifying words that can clear a room. It can raise feelings of guilt faster than grandma’s chili does heartburn. It carries connotations of irrelevance and outdated methods. Many people picture revival tents or door-to-door knocking. But those uncomfortable feelings cannot keep us from talking about the good gift God has given us—I mean the calling to join in what God is doing in reaching the world. He calls us to make disciples; that starts with talking about the good news with those yet-to-believe. We do this by intentionally serving, loving, and pursuing others with the gospel.
As a leader, you help others see how they are on the mission of Jesus. In the previous post on influencing a culture of evangelism, we talked about three ways you can lead like Christ in the area of evangelism. This post will give you three more.
1. Share the Gospel Yourself—and Take Others With You
This is basic, but nonetheless important: Follow through. Ask God to open doors for the message of Jesus. Then pursue the people around you with love, kindness, and truth because you expect him to answer! Make coffee dates. Invite people over for dinner. And when you do and when it’s appropriate, bring others you lead with you to observe you talk about Jesus. They’ll learn a lot from watching you and joining you in loving others this way.
I try to take a friend on coffee dates with me when I believe we’ll be talking about the gospel. Sometimes when I’m going to visit someone in their home it’s easy to bring a gal with me. When we share the gospel with someone, we often do it multiple times. Your partner can share from his or her story with your help. Be a leader who lives this out in view of those you love.
2. Pray Fervently and Celebrate Wildly Together
Help your people know you’re in this together by praying for open doors to walk through by faith. Ask for prayer for yourself and pray for them. Be honest about what “success” looks like. It resembles faithful loving and an offer of the gospel- an offer that sometimes isn’t accepted. We take the steps. The results are in the hands of God.
Then as the Lord works among you, celebrate wildly! Know that he is the God who blesses, loves, reveals himself and pursues people. Enjoy watching what he’s doing and party like they are in heaven as God draws people to himself. Help others know that you’re in this together- a community who is on mission for Jesus .
3. Acknowledge the Challenge
Talking about Jesus can be hard. It has always been risky. Remember the threats, jailings, and beatings in the book of Acts? Some have always rejected the message, but that does not mean we have done anything wrong. Rejecting the message is not the same as rejecting you, though they may be sequential.
Bodily injury may not be the main challenge of evangelism for those we serve. Often it’s just plain awkwardness. The truth is we’re awkward when we talk about things so important to us. We get nervous; our hearts race. We forget to make eye contact; we overanalyze everything the other person may be thinking. We get sweaty. You get the idea . The only way I know how to deal with this is what I’ve said a hundred times to those I care about “Embrace the Awkward.” This message is much more important than the Fear of Awkward. But as leaders, it’s good for us to acknowledge this and remind them we walk in this together.
Don’t be afraid to talk about evangelism . The Kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus has brought the best gift, and our lives are conduits for the best news . He will be with us, and he is the one who produces the fruit. Influence those around you to see this joy of evangelism as worth any risky, any cost, and any fear. And may he then send more laborers into the harvest fields .