Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How to Be an Effective Evangelist

While I am away in Israel, several guest writers are filling in for me. Today’s entry is written by Mike Lutz, who heads our Share Ministry here at Grace Church:

I enjoy reading about evangelism and talking with folks who regularly share Jesus and His transforming work with others. As a result of my reading, my discussions, and thirty years of learning how to share Jesus with others, I have changed my opinion about evangelism. I used to think that only pastors and those Christians blessed with a special “gift for evangelism” could share Jesus effectively. The rest of us could participate, perhaps, as prayer partners (prayer, by the way, is essential for effective evangelism). I now understand that any Christian who loves God and who loves people can be an effective evangelist. What does it take to be an effective evangelist? Paul identifies three things in Philippians 1:

1. Learn and practice godly living – Phil 1:27: “Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” That means that we consistently discover from God’s Word how he wants us to live and that we strive to live His way in every area of life. And when we don’t, we should acknowledge our wrongdoing and ask forgiveness not only of God, but of those we’ve wronged and, if appropriate, make restitution. Are you learning and practicing godly living?

2. Care for others just as they are – Phil 1:7-8: “…just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart…”For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul genuinely cared for people. He accepted them as they were, became what was necessary to reach them. In I Thessalonians 2:7-8 Paul’s heart for people is further revealed to us:”…we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were well-pleased to impart unto you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives because you had become dear unto us.” Are you learning to love and care for others as Jesus loves and cares for you?

3. Tell others about Jesus – who He is and what He’s done for you and others – Phil 1:14-18: “ Most of the brethren of the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: the former preach Christ from selfish ambition not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached, and in this I rejoice…” In I Thessalonians 2:4 Paul says that: “As we’ve been put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak.” If you have been save from your sin and been transformed by the indwelling Christ, then you have a miraculous story to tell. The only hope the inhabitants of this world have, for time and eternity, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you learning how to tell His (and your) story?

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