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I n 2013, I moved to Bangkok, Thailand, to serve in gospel ministry through discipleship, leadership development, and church planting. Less than 1 percent of the Thai people believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There is a great need for Thai people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ—a great need for sharing the gospel through preaching and personal witness, which is evangelism. In my context, I face the reality that, every three minutes, a Thai person passes away without ever hearing about the saving work of Jesus. Yet, my great hope is the vision of Revelation 7:9, where we will see believers “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” That is the goal of evangelism: sharing the gospel so that more people may know the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Whether in Thailand or anywhere else, I believe that God calls every believer to participate in God’s mission to see all people redeemed and gathered to worship God. The culture in Thailand is a highly communal and relational one, helping me see more clearly how the gospel spread in the early church. We participate in God’s mission in many ways, but living and communicating with others in ways that allow them to experience the reality of Christ is key to sharing the gospel. To help us all do this well, I would like to share some Bible verses that guide us in how and when we share the gospel.

What gets shared in evangelism?

Before we get to the “how” and “when” of sharing the gospel, we must first know what we are sharing. “Gospel” means “good news.” When we participate in God’s mission, we are sharing the good news of Christ. As I work cross-culturally, we see that many cultures and individuals live with lenses of guilt, fear, and shame, which are caused by sin. There is good news for everyone. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

In evangelism, what we communicate is Jesus Christ—his love toward humanity, what he has accomplished for all people, and the transformed life he gives to people, both now and in eternity. The Holy Scriptures tell us, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). 

The unique message of the gospel is an invitation to all people to believe and to trust what God did to save humanity. God sent Jesus Christ to die then rise from the dead to establish Christ as the only way of salvation. Christ addresses both the problem of guilt and sin by forgiving and cleansing us of sin through the cross. He addresses our fear by experiencing death, then rising again to offer us new life. Christ addresses our shame by humbling himself to the point of death, so that we might be called children of God.

Related: How to offer everyone access to God’s community

When do we share the gospel?

Before the resurrected Jesus Christ departed from his disciples to ascend to God the Father, he gave these instructions to his disciples: “‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’” (Mark 16:15). Or maybe you are more familiar with the Great Commission, according to Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). In these passages, the meaning of the word “go” is not explicitly answering a “where” question, but a “when” question. The word “go” means “as you are going,” or, “in your going.” Evangelism is not a task or a duty, but it is a lifestyle. We can share the gospel in our daily living by following Jesus in ways that engage others and let them see Christ in and through us. Whether at the office, at school, or the gym, do we recognize opportunities when we can share the gospel and share God’s love with people we see every day?

Related: Not just a moment for mission, but mission in every moment

How do we share the gospel?

As we go about our lives and find opportunities to share the gospel, we also acknowledge that it is God working through us to speak the message of Christ. But our actions and posture in evangelism are important. Colossians 4:2-3 tells us, “Devote yourselves to prayer … that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ.” A similar message is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:1: “Pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you.” We are to lay a foundation of prayer, then spread the gospel in the readied soil. Do you have family, friends, or co-workers who have not considered the gospel or may even be hostile toward the gospel? Then pray for them, get your church or fellowship group to pray for them regularly, and find time to build trust and show genuine love toward them.

Trust is also key for sharing the gospel. James 1:19 provides us with great wisdom for building relationships based on trust: “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Indeed, in evangelism, one of the most important skills I have discovered is listening. As we listen, we understand and empathize with others. We follow the example of the apostle Paul: “To the weak I became weak, so that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). And, in Romans 12:15, Paul again calls us to be an empathetic presence to people who live in a broken world and have been affected by brokenness and sin: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Christ, the most trustworthy person of all, came into a broken and hopeless world to be with us and to share a message of great hope. We are to do likewise—to share the gospel in a place of empathy, having taken the time to listen and build trust.

Related: Why building trust in God and each other is crucial for hospitality

Finally, Christ’s message must also be shared with love. The Bible is clear about the importance of love in our sharing and service to others:

“If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions and if I hand over my body so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Before I entered the mission field, I loved apologetics, thinking I had to persuade and convince people of the truth of God. However, the way I went about evangelism was flawed. I wanted to win people for God out of self-accomplishment, rather than through God’s love. I did not realize until several years later that I was making enemies of the gospel instead of cultivating curiosity and space to discover God’s good news.

Even more, I experienced in my context how important the community is in evangelism. The popular saying that people must “belong before believing” holds quite true in Asia. The Bible says in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” As we welcome people to consider and experience the gospel, we do so by embodying loving relationships as followers of Christ. Love for our brothers and sisters, paired with the desire to share God’s love, must be our motivation for sharing the gospel. We are to share the gospel out of love and with love.

Allow me to close with the convicting words of the apostle Paul from Romans 10:14-15: “How then will they call on [Jesus] in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

Rawee Bunupuradah

Rev. Dr. Rawee Bunupuradah is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America who serves in Bangkok, Thailand. His passion is to serve the local church in forming disciples and developing leaders so that church would grow and be a catalyst in transforming society. His work is also focused on walking alongside church leaders and pastors to encourage and facilitate gospel renewal and transformation in the life and ministry of God’s workers in Thailand.