Evangelism as a Lifestyle
Les Heinze, Lead Pastor of Red Rocks Baptist Church
Most Christians understand that God intends for them to witness to the lost concerning salvation. However, the reality is that many Christians do not feel comfortable – or even credible – sharing the gospel. Thankfully, the Lord has given us all of the tools we need to become successful soul-winners. He set the example of lifestyle evangelism – a ministry that permeated literally every aspect of his life and effectively proclaimed the gospel to the world.
Natural Challenges of Evangelism
On the night of his betrayal Jesus prayed to the Father concerning the mission that he would leave with his disciples after returning to heaven. He realized that they would face challenges, just as he did. They would have to find a balance between living in the world, and not becoming of the world. Dynamically filled with the Spirit they would need to draw the attention of the lost away from the cares of the world and focus their eyes upon Jesus Christ. Our Lord knew that this would be a difficult balance to find, and that the skill of implementing it might take many years to master. However, ultimately it would be essential to effective evangelism.
Divine Example of Evangelism
For a Christian, evangelism is more than just something we do – it is who we are. It’s who we are. Christ understood that evangelism is a process (John 4:37, 38). One person sows the seed of the gospel, and another reaps. Yes, salvation is instantaneous – a moment in time when a person places their faith in Christ alone. However, it often takes months or even years for a sinner to repent and turn to God. As Christians rub shoulders with lost people in the normal course of life events, they have opportunities to speak the truth in love. Jesus saw a spiritual harvest as he did just that, and so can we.
Practical Exhortations for Evangelism
Many well-meaning Christians spin their evangelistic wheels because they simply don’t know where to start. Ask yourself: where is your mission field? Who is in your circle of influence? Who, simply, is around you? Every one of us has preexisting relationships where we have open doors to share the gospel.
Once you have identified your mission field, pray and ask God to open your eyes to needs. Missionary David Hosaflook said, “pray, connect with people, work in a witness.” Christians need to build redemptive relationships, where they find lost people to befriend and allow them to witness authentic Christianity personally. Communicate the gospel clearly and continually to these people, while understanding that we may not see instantaneous fruit. Patience and persistence are critical as we seek to win the lost. Most of us heard the gospel many times before we accepted it. Of course we must have urgency about sharing the truth, but also balance it with sensitivity to the working of the Holy Spirit.
God’s glory is ultimately achieved as we make evangelism a priority in our lives. He has loved us with an everlasting love, and as we meditate on that glorious truth love for him should emanate from us. “Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD” (Ps. 40:3).