The second season of Rosehaven, a comedy set in a small town in Tasmania, has recently started. As a Tasmanian myself, I find it highly amusing. The main character is a failing real estate agent and the running gag is that he has never actually sold a house. What kind of real estate agent never sells a house?
The character Daniel has spent years in the business, he attends Personal Development, and even has family and friends in it with him; yet achieving the base level of real estate success eludes him. While this was funny to start with, it got me thinking introspectively.
I’ve been a Christian for two decades and in that time I have led a grand total of zero people to faith in Christ. This has begun to bother me more and more. I have gone to conferences, listened to sermons, and faithfully studied the Bible. Yet there is something missing.
In our individualistic society, it is easy for Christians to fall into the trap of having a personal, private faith. If you are walking closely with God, have a deep joy in knowing Him, and spend hours poring over the Scripture, but you aren’t sharing that with others, then that is a great shame. The Good News is a message to be shared.
If you have felt a similar sneaking suspicion as me – that evangelising should be a huge part of our faith – then read on. I don’t claim to be authoritative on this subject, I’m just exploring what evangelism should look like in my life. After all, I can’t go and visit the forum to espouse my ideas to learned Greeks as the Apostle Paul could. Times have changed.
Barriers to evangelism
I believe there are three main things that hinder any evangelistic endeavour. Obviously, sin is a huge one. Yet it can be difficult to pin down because it doesn’t always seem related. Sin in one area of life affects all others. If I am sinning against God through gossip, greed, envy, fits of rage, and on the list could go, then it is hard to feel any real desire to share my faith with anyone else, lest they point out the hypocrisy.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention God until our lives are all straightened out. If that were the case, no one would ever preach the Good News. No, it means living a life of repentance and humility so the message you bring carries the weight of your testimony – a changed and changing life.
Ask anyone you know how they are and they are likely to say, “I’m busy”. Modern life slaves to the idol of busy day in and day out. The idea of throwing evangelism on your mile long to do list is anything but heartening. So lack of opportunity becomes a barrier to evangelism.
I have challenged myself to infuse everything I do with evangelism. It isn’t a separate item in life, it’s a lifestyle. Catching up with non-Christian friends in any setting is an opportunity. Not always an opportunity to lay out a neat five point summary, but it is a time in which the love of Christ can be shown – and that’s the way people are supposed to know you are His disciple anyway.
The last mountain to move in the path of evangelism is fear. That deep feeling in your gut that they’ll laugh, reject you, or turn away. Or even worse, that you’ll say it all wrong and ruin someone’s chances of knowing God forever. Thankfully, that last one is taken care of with a good dose of theology concerning the sovereignty of God, which I won’t go into here. But how else can we deal with the mountain of fear?
The antidote to fear
I used to be scared of needles. Getting blood taken made me feel distinctly squeamish. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I always made my husband come with me – and while he looked on, interested, I turned my head away to avoid thinking about anything piercing my skin.
That was until I was hospitalised at 24 weeks pregnant. That week I had all sorts of things stuck into me, and I eventually got used to it. Nowadays, I can quite easily watch a needle go in; it really isn’t a big deal. Familiarity has bred comfortability.
Sharing our faith can be like that. It’s big and scary the first time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Then one day you find that it really isn’t as insurmountable as you first thought. However, that’s not the only antidote to fear that we have.
It’s a classic movie trope. The bully returns to torment his victim only to find that the scrawny kid has made friends with a muscle-man, or has a huge dog, or his intimidating father is standing right behind him. A bully starts to think twice if his easy prey has someone bigger and stronger on their side.
Well, guess what? The bully of fear can be sent packing because we have God backing us up in our evangelistic efforts. He has equipped us not with fear but with love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7). Cling to this promise and fear will slink away.
The final antidote to fear is knowing who we have on our side. This is more than just having a Sunday School answer at the ready, but really knowing God. Knowing His character, His promises, and His mighty deeds. Only with this solid foundation can we expect the barriers to crumble, the mountains to move, and us, in our insignificant patch of earth, to share the Good News of Jesus with anyone who will listen.
Lucinda is a stay-at-home mum who runs a Girls’ Brigade Company, studies languages, and bakes delicious things. She ponders long and hard how to fulfil the Great Commission that her Lord has given.
Lucinda Glover’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/lucinda-glover.html