How was your weekend? Did you see that game? Have you tried that new restaurant everyone is talking about? How are the kids? How’s work going?
How is it that we find it easy to ask every question except those that matter? In our society, we are taught that there are two things you do not discuss: politics and religion. That is hammered in our brains through HR directors, peers, and sometimes even our parents. Live and let live, right? If we don’t talk about those things then conflict is much easier to avoid. That may be true, but as Chrisians our job is not to avoid conflict, it is to share the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
As someone who grew up in the Lord’s Church I wish I could say that evangelism has always come natural to me, but that is far from the truth. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been vocal about my faith and those around me knew that I was a Chirstian, but I seldom took it any further than that. It wasn’t until I saw two of my very close friends from college obey the gospel on the same night that a fire was lit in my spirit. The fear of rejection was gone. My best friends who had seen me in college on my worst days saw enough Christ in me to ask me for more information. Many visits to worship and a few bible studies later they were members of the one true church. A few years earlier my boyfriend (now husband) had done the same, but this time was different. This time I actually taught the studies.
After taking the fishers of men course I gained so much confidence in sharing my faith and teaching personal bible studies. I wish I could cram a 10 week course into one article, but that would not give it justice. I would like to share a few tips that can help any Chirstian take advantage of everyday opportunities to share the gospel.
Pray! This is a big one. Every Christian should not only have a healthy prayer life but a hearty one (James 5:15; Phillipians 4:6; Matthew 6:6). Take time during your daily prayers to pray for opportunities to further God’s kingdom. Very rarely will one of your friends or colleagues walk up to you and ask you do have a bible study (although it has happened on occasion). People don’t know what they don’t know—meaning, most people that are lost do not know they are lost. We have to tell them and show them the way. Pray for opportunities; when they arrive, be prepared.
Study! Once an opportunity presents itself we have to be ready to give an account (1 Peter 3:15). A lot of my lack of confidence came from a lack of knowledge. I was afraid that someone would ask me a question and I would be stumped. I was afraid that I did not have enough scripture memorized. I was afraid that I was not enough. The truth is, I let fear control me. Yes, knowledge of the scriptures is so important, but we also have to have enough confidence to share what we know and enough humility to continue to study and grow in the scriptures. At the end of the day, God gives the increase, not us (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). Fishers of men is a great course, but there are so many other resources in the brotherhood that you can take advantage of.
Find an opening. Have you ever seen a quarterback throw a perfect spiral in the tightest opening where only his receiver could catch it? It is a very high-level skill. Although finding an opening in a conversation is not as precise, it does take the same focus and international mindset. My sister called my husband the “gym evangelist” because he has had several bible studies with guys he met in the gym. He has a knack for finding an opening to turn the conversation spiritual. It took me a while, but I am learning how to see every conversation—even short ones with women at the gym—as an opportunity to share the gospel. That is the way we have to move through life. We have to see everyone as a soul who needs saving. The world is sick (2 Timothy 3:1-5), and we have the vaccine. I am writing this during the Coronavirus pandemic. As of now, they have not found a cure. Can you imagine if there was a vaccine and someone hid it or only told a few people while the rest of the world was suffering? That would be crazy, right? As Christians, that is precisely what we are doing when we keep our mouths closed. We are hiding the cure to sin. We are hiding the light of the world (Matthew 5:15-16). We are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We need to show love to the lost and a real concern for their soul.
Make the appointment. This may be the toughest part. Even harder than the actual study in some instances. Getting someone to agree to sit down with you and study the word of God can be difficult, but we have to make firm plans and stick to them.
Let God do the talking! So often we want to show how much we know. We want to answer every question and try to make them think the way we think. The truth is, not everyone will get it. Jesus used the word “few” for a reason (Matthew 7:14). We should not take that as a license to give up, but we should understand that not everyone we teach will obey the gospel. Our job is to present the scriptures and let it speak for itself. We are to guide, but the word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). When it touches good soil God will give the increase. When someone asks us a question we should point them to the scriptures and let them read it for themselves. We can ask follow up questions to make them understand; we can even help explain the scripture if they are not getting it, but we cannot put in our opinion. We shouldn’t try to show how much we know. It is not about us, it is about the word of God.