I’m not a “natural” evangelist. I don’t know if anyone really is, but some of my friends are certainly much more godly and gifted in this area than I am. But I want to learn. I want to grow.
Perhaps you are like me. Perhaps you want to learn evangelism as well. Here are a few steps I believe anyone can take.
1. Begin by prayer. Even the most reticent evangelist can begin to pray for opportunities and boldness. After a month of praying for opportunities, I trust that God will answer our prayers.
2. Begin by gracious friendliness. If a spontaneous, full throttle declaration of the gospel message feels daunting, start by building a habit of gracious friendliness with those around you. Ask your waiter how his day is going. Give your neighbor a handshake rather than just a wave. Ask your co-worker if you can get them a coffee, and then ask them if their family is well. A habit of gracious friendliness can pave the way for a more developed friendship.
3. Build a friendship out of those friendly interactions. If one of the spontaneous conversations seems more interactive than others, follow up with a second and third conversation. Then take the step of doing something together with them. A family pizza night, lunch with a co-worker, seeing a movie together, a Saturday morning basketball game–you can pick the activity that you seem to have in common. You might also invite some of your Christian friends to join you–building a friendship with a non-Christian is less daunting as a group effort.
4. Look for an opportunity to ask your friend about his beliefs. A conversation could begin with “What gets you through your week?” and lead to “I’ve realized that with all I have to do at work, praying is crucial.” Or you might find that if you ask them, “So, how you are you really doing? Anything you’re worried about that I can pray for you about?”–they might open up. This might be moment to talk about your hope in Jesus and why you trust in Him.
5. Don’t view the friendship as a task to be completed. You’re not just their friend until you can share the gospel message once and check “evangelism” off the list. You are…their friend. Continue to be their friend. In one of your (ongoing) conversations, ask them if you can share with them your belief in Jesus and invite them to respond and if they don’t…continue to be their friend. Love them, and serve them, and keep having conversations. Ask them about their objections to Christianity and try to answer…and keep being their friend. A quick caveat here, if your friend categorically and emphatically rejects the Christian message and forbids you from speaking about it with them, you may want to continue as their friend, but also be looking for other opportunities with more receptive listeners. But, don’t give up easily, patient friendship may break down many barriers in the end.
It is clear in the Scriptures that God has called us to be witnesses to our Savior in this world. I know I have much to learn about being a witness. But God is a patient teacher. I’m trusting Him to lead me one step at a time.
I pray you will join me as well.