I recently posted a couple articles regarding evangelism and the gospel. One addressed sharing the gospel in sermons and the other challenged readers to be bold about their faith. One of my most popular articles is a review of seven ways to share the gospel.
To my recollection, though, I’ve yet to address ways to improve our own personal evangelism (other than my book, 1X Evangelism). Well, God took care of that.
During my devotional time, I read a passage in Romans where Paul offered some encouragement about personal evangelism. That’s the passage I’m going to look at in this article.
Here’s the text:
14 How then will they call on him 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? 15 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!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
– Romans 10:14-17 (ESV)
Some of you may already know these verses, and you may have seen verse 15 used in a meme or other Christian artwork. However, these are more than just art-worthy words. Paul is talking to you and me about sharing the gospel.
Paul’s Statement on Personal Evangelism
In these four verses, Paul addresses three issues: the need for evangelism, the blessing of evangelism, and the lack of evangelism.
Paul reminds us that people won’t be saved unless some tells them the gospel. The questions of verses 14 and 15 are rhetorical. What Paul’s saying is that in order for someone to be saved, they have to hear the gospel, a sentiment he repeats in verse 17. This means it must be preached by someone, and that someone is you and I, not just our pastors or professional evangelists.
Next, Paul offers a very encouraging word: God blesses those who share the gospel. That’s right! By saying “how beautiful are the feet,” Paul emphasizes that God is exalted through evangelism and, in turn, he blesses the one evangelizing.
However, he then mentions a problem.
In verse 16, Paul reminds us that, although evangelism is necessary and blessed, the sad truth is that not everyone is sharing the gospel. Paul was sharing. So was Timothy. The apostles were sharing. But many others were not.
That problem continues today. The good news is that it’s very fixable.
Four Steps to More Effective Personal Evangelism
In light of this passage – and recognizing my own weaknesses and failures – I want to offer four steps to help us all improve our personal evangelism.
Step 1: Pray for opportunities
We need to ask God to give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Furthermore, we need to keep our eyes open and alert to opportunities. We can’t pray, “God, give me a chance to share,” and then cover our eyes to the world around us. Rather, we need to ask for opportunities and be ready to take them when they arrive.
Step 2: Continue our own spiritual growth
Our own relationship with Jesus has a direct impact on our evangelism. If we’re not growing, we can’t help others grow. We need to spend time reading and studying Scripture. We need to pray regularly. We need to attend church regularly. In short, we need to abide in Christ every day.
Step 3: Set realistic goals
Some people set higher and higher goals for evangelism: need to save 5 this week, 10 next week, 20 the next. Ultimately, this becomes unrealistic and can shift the focus from faithfully sharing to generating impressive stats. Rather, I recommend a more realistic goal-setting strategy: the “1X Method.”
Begin by sharing the gospel once per month. Once you’re comfortable doing that, increase it to once per week. Once you’re comfortable doing that, then strive for once per day. You’ll find God will bless this effort and will give you more and more opportunities to share.
Step 4: Let God win, not fear
Fear is one of the biggest, if not the biggest hindrance to evangelism. We fear rejection. Some fear losing relationships or jobs. Some fear being persecuted. If these describe you, remember: don’t fear what man can do to you. Man can destroy only the body, so don’t fear man. Rather, focus on pleasing God. If God’s pleased and glorified, no hate or rejection or mistreatment by man matters.
Some people fear not knowing what to say; they lack confidence in their message. If this is you, I recommend checking out my “1 Minute Gospel” video and reading “How to be Saved.” Another thing you can try is tell what you know. If you’re saved, you’ve heard the gospel. Tell others what you were told.
Bringing it Home
Evangelism is needed. Evangelism is blessed. Yet, not everyone evangelizes. Clearly we need God’s help.
The four steps outlined above are designed to help us grow closer to God and become more bold in our sharing. We are God’s heralds, his proclaimers, his witnesses. Are we telling the world what we know and what we’ve experienced? If not, try going through the four steps and watch what God will do in your life!