Most believers affirm the difficulty in communicating the gospel. Telling the gospel is hard. But telling the gospel is also a privileged joy. The Lord has entrusted the communication of his salvation plan to — us! We are the vessels (ordinary, weak, cracked, and broken) into which God has placed the eternal and infinitely rich treasure of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:1-7). We are God’s distribution plan for the Good News of Christ. How will we fulfill this responsibility and priority when we find it hard?
In his prayer request for himself in Ephesians 6:19-20, the apostle Paul provides us with four necessary ingredients for evangelistic endeavors: prayer, power, persecution, and proclamation. For us to grow in evangelism, we might turn those four components into questions to examine our own hearts and desires:
- How will I pray for evangelism? (Who needs the gospel in my circle of influence? Who needs the gospel in my spiritual brother’s and sister’s circles of influence? Who do I know that needs encouragement to share the gospel with an unbeliever?)
- How will my evangelistic words become more powerful? (Do I know the gospel? Do I pray for the Lord to put me in gospel conversations? Do I speak directly about sin, wrath, Christ, and faith or do I speak generally about “God” and “church?”)
- How can I use my suffering and persecution to gospel advantage? (When I suffer am I inclined to move away from gospel conversations in order to avoid uncomfortable situations?)
- How can I plan for proclamation? (Am I being disobedient and rebellious to not proclaim? What relationships can I cultivate and develop so I can share the gospel?)
From these questions, we might target one large goal for evangelism in our lives this year, as well as smaller goals that we might begin to implement even this week. As an example, I have written a list of possible actions for us to take:
- Read at least one book on evangelism this year and then implement at least one evangelistic strategy I learn from that book
- Set a weekly (or daily) reminder on my Google calendar to share the gospel
- Pray, asking the Lord daily to give me a gospel opportunity
- Go monthly (weekly?) to a public place (park, grocery store, fast food restaurant, sporting event, civic event like the July 4 parade) and talk to someone about the gospel
- Memorize Ephesians 6:19-20 (or a similar passage like Colossians 4:3-4) to remind me of the priority of evangelism and review the passage at least weekly
- Write and learn my testimony (the story of my spiritual life: 1) what I was before Christ, 2) how Christ saved me, and 3) what I am now because of Christ)
- Invite a neighbor over for dinner and tell him my testimony of how Christ has changed my life
- Ask a friend for the name of who person for whom he/she is praying for salvation and then promise to pray weekly for my friend to have boldness to clearly speak the gospel to that person
- Ask my friend to introduce me to his friend for whom we are praying and spend intentional time with that person to develop a relationship where I also might be able to talk about the gospel with him
This is not an exhaustive list — there are many other ways we might stimulate our desire to be more evangelistic. But it is a list of a few ideas that could stimulate us to be more bold and faithful to the evangelistic duty and privilege the Lord has given us.
What will you do to communicate the gospel this year?