Keys to successful personal evangelism

personal evangelismThere are certain things that face a lot of resistance; some of them involve true spiritual battles. One of these things that Satan so vehemently resists is the expansion of God’s kingdom. We cannot speak of expanding the kingdom of God without speaking of winning souls, thus soul winning or evangelism, is heavily resisted on several fronts. Those who defend church growth face much criticism, and sometimes the criticism occurs even within the church. However, we must admit that in reality, numbers are fundamental. Jesus did not die because of half a dozen people, but because of an innumerable multitude (according to the apostle John), a multitude so large that it would be impossible to count.

You, as a Christian leader, discipler, pastoral candidate or pastor, are a weapon in God’s hands against hell. Therefore, you must prepare yourself for God to use you. Evangelism is an important aspect of this preparation, which comes before consolidation. Evangelism is the winning of souls, the basic work of the minister the first step of which is to win souls and subsequent steps are consolidation, edification, training and then sending. When we speak of winning souls, we speak of evangelism. Observe what Jesus said in Matthew:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

This is the Lord’s command to each one of us, not only to the 12 apostles. The Lord has commanded us to go and make disciples. Naturally, our work is not only to evangelize. Making disciples involves winning souls, consolidating them, edifying them, training them and finally sending them. The making of disciples is a complete process. However, winning souls is the first step, the first part, an important moment. When we speak about evangelism, we need to begin by questioning why some Christians do not succeed in winning souls. Why do some Christians fail to evangelize? Why do many have a hard time testifying of the Lord? What is the reason for this? In order to correct the problem, we first have to detect the causes, the failures and the difficulties. Therefore, we will examine the principal reasons of this deficiency in the church.

Reasons why some Christians do not evangelize

1. They have no training

The first and principal reason why many Christians do not evangelize is that they have received no training for the task. Many do not really know what to say and how to proceed. Their failed attempts of the past also present a great barrier. This is the reason why the Vine International emphasizes training. For this reason, it is important that each church member and minister complete such training, so that everyone can learn how to use this excellent spiritual tool called evangelism.

2. They are timid and fearful

Many are overly timid and panic at the mere idea of having to approach someone, even if it is someone who they know. Some zealous evangelists are somewhat overbearing, reminding those that feel this timidity that revelation says that the timid will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. However, the reference there speaks of those that are ashamed of the gospel, something different from what we are referring. The timidity that I am referring to is the withdrawing attitude of many people who have a hard time making contact with others, and speaking with people that they have never met before. Those who identify with these difficulties should not feel accused; these are natural difficulties of temperament.

The truth is that this is only the fear of the unknown, because it is something that they have never done before. However, with training and practice, the tendency toward timidity disappears. Happy are those who have had disciplers, who have modeled evangelism for them and have evangelized together with them, so that they can see how to do it. Those who have learned have become spontaneous and unshaken in their evangelistic activities, even if they do not have a very spontaneous natural temperament. No one has to be an extrovert in order to evangelize.

3. They have false concepts

What is the first idea that comes to your mind of a Christian when we speak about evangelism? Some think of an unpleasant situation like standing on a street corner yelling at uninterested people as they walk by. Others feel intimidated and uncomfortable at the idea of having to knock on the door of a stranger. The majority of Christians associate evangelism with something unpleasant, inconvenient and embarrassing.

We can do each one of the things cited above, but we do not necessarily have to do any of them. Each person has his or her own way of doing things. We are not obligated to do them all in the same way. We cannot lead the church to evangelize unless we aware of these exaggerated concepts.

4. They do not have the gift of evangelist

This is certainly the main mistake, the idea that only those who possess the gift of evangelist can truly evangelize successfully. However, we must remember that the principal function of the evangelist is not to evangelize, as many imagine, but to train the church to evangelize. Of course, the evangelist also evangelizes, it is evident that this is his ministry and that he is more efficient and more effective in doing it. However, the principle task of the evangelist is to multiply his ministry in others, and to train and inspire the rest of the church to evangelize.

I believe that the departmental vision of the church has contributed to the majority of Christians feeling as if they had no obligation to preach the gospel. However, the biblical model is not departmental (as some doing one thing and others another); but a model in which each believer must be trained to accomplish the entire process. Each believer must be trained to win souls, to consolidate them, disciple and edify them. The truth is that each one of us has received the responsibility from God to build up the Saints as ministers and that is the intent of this training.

5. They feel disqualified

Some believe the lie that we must be as holy as the Angel Gabriel in order to evangelize. The idea that our life testimony is more important than our words has led people to be extremely quiet about their faith.

Having a righteous life does not excuse you from the duty of preaching the Gospel. It does no good to claim that you are a good person and that your life is in order and that if someone you know wants to know God, all they have to do is look at you and they will see that you are a Christian. It does not work that way. The Bible says that people will only believe if there is someone to preach, because faith comes by hearing. So how will they believe if there is no one to speak to them? No matter how good our testimony is people will only come to the Lord for salvation if they hear the message of the gospel and accept it.

Now, if you can come up with a life of absolute integrity, coherence, holiness and beyond that you still preach the gospel, that would be better, that would be glorious. However, if your life is not as wonderful as you would like, you should still not refrain from preaching the gospel. Go ahead and preach anyway, because even if your life is not what you would or what God would like it to be, it is probably much better than that of your neighbor who does not know the gospel. So then, you can preach the gospel in spite of your deficiencies.

6. They have no more unbelievers as friends

The church has confused separation with isolation. Many believers no longer have unbelieving friends after several years of conversion. Separation is God’s strategy for our sanctification, but isolation is a strategy of the devil to keep us from being influential. The boat must be in the sea, but the sailors must keep the sea out of the boat. This is separation. However, the boat that never leaves the sand of the beach is isolated and outside of its purpose.

7. They feel no responsibility

The mandate of responsibility is something that we transmit by our example, service and passion. The church possesses its pastor’s vision, mandate and passion.

8. They feel ashamed of the gospel

It seems strange, but some people confuse being ashamed of Christians with being ashamed of the gospel. If we do not confess the Lord today, he will not confess us on that day before the Father. It is one thing to be ashamed of Christians; it is another thing to be ashamed of the gospel. I confess that sometimes I am ashamed of Christians, but I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of all those who believe.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

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