The thought of evangelism has been consuming my thoughts lately. What am I doing to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus? When was the last time I told someone about Jesus? I keep running questions like these through my head. I don’t want to be the type of person who spends more time talking about evangelism than doing it. My friend Josh said the other night that his fear was that he enjoys arguing with other Christians about doctrine more than telling non-believers the gospel. I completely resonate with his fear. What he is saying is that we are bold to debate and discuss the scriptures amongst each other but we fail to simply mention the name of Jesus to a guy sitting at the table next to us who started a conversation with us in the first place. How can this be? Is it a lack of knowledge or preparation? Do we simply lack courage or faith? Are we ashamed or embarrassed? Is there just not enough time in a day to evangelize effectively considering all the other things we must do?
I have probably asked each one of these questions to myself multiple times. At any one time the answer could’ve been yes to any of these. I find that time is one of the most consistently daunting issues for me personally. It seems that by the time I get home, fix dinner, and do everything else there is only an hour or two to do anything before its time to hit the sack. This issue isn’t just confined to the average lay person. It extends to ministers as well. They can cram their days so full of activities, meetings, and administrative duties that personal evangelism seems to be squeezed right out of the picture. An article by Joe McKeever, Director of Missions of the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, addresses the issue of pastors finding time for personal evangelism. As he says,
“Every pastor knows the problem. Between sermon studies, staff leadership, office responsibilities, weddings and funerals, outside speaking opportunities, hospital and nursing home visits, and denominational duties, the poor minister can feel overwhelmed. Finding time for his family can be a challenge; finding time to relate to his neighbors and bear a witness for Christ in the community can almost be impossible.”
Though it was written primarily for pastors, I found the article to be helpful in suggesting multiple ways we can see and make opportunities for evangelism in the midst of our every day lives. In the article, one pastor says, “Witnessing opportunities for the pastor is just like good sermon illustrations. They’re all around; you just have to pay attention.” This is good advice for all of us. We should be prepared at all times and mindful of our surroundings. Not more than an hour after praying that the Lord would make me aware of such opportunities I found myself in the midst of a conversation with a guy at a sports bar while watching Monday Night Football last night. Opportunities are everywhere.
However, we also need to be intentional about creating opportunities to share the gospel with others. As another pastor mentioned, “But sometimes you need to be more intentional. Create a situation where you will have opportunities to share your faith.” Sometimes it requires us to step out into an uncomfortable position to a place that is ripe for sharing the gospel. I’ve found downtown Nashville to be that sort of place. I don’t know how many times I’ve been approached by a homeless person downtown. Sometimes you know that a certain location is a prime target for the homeless. So you place yourself in that situation knowing that the opportunity will present itself in a matter of time.
I would encourage you to read the entire article. Consider the challenge it presents to your own life whether you are a pastor or not. If you are willing, share some of the struggles you face in sharing your faith. Also, leave some thoughts on how you have shared the gospel with others and what you have found helpful in doing so. May we all be encouraged to share the gospel more often as opportunities are made and presented to us.