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.

5 Replies to “Pastors and Personal Evangelism

  1. jeff, check out mattkelleronline.com …the post is titled “contact with the outside world”. his story happened on monday as well. just thought it was a nice coincidence. sorry this is my first comment on your blog!

  2. Dave…what a great story. It was a reminder to me that evangelism, service, and acts of kindness all go hand in hand. Matt got to meet a real need by simply showing her kindness through flowers. How simple is it really? It just takes a intentional mindset. What a great way to live out the gospel. Good stuff.

  3. Great article. I find that when I’m attentive, I’ve got plenty of opprotunities that are natural, without being forced, or interrupting somebody’s day. It is just part of the ebb and flow of life.

    When I’m lost in my own thoughts, I don’t even notice the people around me.

    It’s more than just noticing people and praying behind their backs. There is some verbal communication involved in sharing the gospel.

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  4. Great article and observation. I, as a former pastor and now specializing in personal evangelism have lived with this. BTW, Joe McKeever is a great man with a quick wit. I served as a pastor in the local church association with him. Anyway, awarness for evangelism is a struggle with all of us who live crowded and hurried lives. I have a post on it that may be of some use.

  5. Pastor Chris…I certainly agree with you. I think it can be traced back to selfishness and pride. I believe this is especially true in our individualistic, “all about me” American society. If we can just spend more time loving others and less time loving ourselves I believe we will see the Lord do some great things.

    Jimmy…I enjoyed your post. Good stuff. I think slowing down is in order. On a mission trip to Botswana I noticed how different our cultures were…particularly the pace of society. It seemed that the pace had a lot to do with how people interacted within the society. The simpler life was, the more time there was for people. The more time there is for people, the easier it is to notice opportunities for serving and sharing the gospel. Now, I wouldn’t completely bank on the pace example, but you get the point. I know busyness is my worst enemy.

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