Evangelism is going out and inviting in. “Evangelism is saying the gospel, the truth of who Jesus is—what he did and who he is—and inviting people to him,” says church planter and missionary Yakuv Gurung. That can be as simple as sharing your faith story, but it’s something many Christians find incredibly intimidating, so we asked church leaders to share their advice. Here are practical tips, shared during two Facebook Live discussions about evangelism back in February.
Get a mentor.
“People are scared to share the gospel, maybe being a little timid—it’s like that for everyone,” says Ozzie Rivera, a member of Reformed Church of Los Angeles in Lynwood, California. “But it’s actually taking those baby steps toward working your way to build confidence and learn more and more. The best thing you can do is find someone with more experience so you can be encouraged and get the tools and strength to know how to share your faith.”
Watch for the Spirit.
“We get to introduce people to Jesus, but … Jesus will introduce himself to them, as well. Having an eye for how the Spirit is working in people’s lives is significant,” says Chris Theule-VanDam, who serves the western Great Lakes region of Young Life.
Focus on the now.
“How do we make the gospel story so important that they see how it is part of their current story as a sixth grader, as a junior in high school, as a college student, wherever they may be?” asks Crystal Wright, who serves in Holland, Michigan, with Young Life and at Holland Public Schools. “Telling people what God is doing right now, right here—I’m actually sharing what God is doing in my life today.” That might be an answer to prayer or commenting on God’s handiwork in the sunrise.
All ages can do this.
“We had each kid in Bridge Kids Ministry make a paper airplane with the name of their friend on it, and wrote a personal invite to that friend to come to the family fun carnival,” says Jeff Wenke, lead pastor of The Bridge in Portage, Michigan. “They gave it to their friend and said, ‘I want you to come to this carnival with me.’” Then, at the carnival, they flew the paper airplanes in the gym.
Find common ground.
“We see Jesus with the woman at the well,” says Alfred Correa, pastor of Brighton Heights Reformed Church in Staten Island, New York. “He finds the thing that they have in common: they were both thirsty. … He meets her right where she’s at. That encounter allows her to go and evangelize her whole city.”
“I’ve seen someone come to our dining table for ten years, and never interested in anything to do with the church, but slowly, slowly there would be opportunities offered,” says Kathleen Lai, a member of Taiwan Union Christian Church in Astoria, New York. “God really works in his own time with each individual person. … Go along with their pace.”
Look for opportunities.
“A prayer I say often is, ‘Lord, who do you want me to speak with today, to share your word?’” shares Laura Osborne, the RCA’s coordinator for interreligious relations.