Evangelism is scary. Well not all evangelism, but the perception many people have about evangelism is scary. The idea of street callers, door to door conversations with strangers and hate speech is pretty jacked up. I experienced the door to door type as a teenager and it never quite sat right with me. But evangelism can’t be ignored.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The final word Christ gave his disciples was to take part in the activity He himself had been leading for 3 years. Bringing others into the reality of God and teaching them what it means to belong to God.
There is one key word and concept we need to remember when we think about evangelism.
The Most Important Word in Evangelism is context.
Context is the idea of people carefully learning and applying what is appropriate in any situation. In the days of John Wesley and George Whitefield field preaching was a super effective method of evangelism. It brought the preachers into a situation to be seen and heard by the most people. A public teaching/speech was a completely normal activity in their culture to both teach people and convince them of something. Folks were used to it. Those first field preachers were working into their context. Each one of us is responsible for finding out what is the best culture of evangelism in the place we live. Some will look different and others will look really similar.
Let me share with you three simple and relational ways you can practice evangelism in your context.
1. Read your Bible in public.
This seems almost simplistic, but I promise you it will lead to conversations. I try to do this several times a week and it rarely fails. I also try to spend my time in the same places over and over and it has led to me serving as a chaplain in several business. Folks know they can come talk and pray.
2. Share with people about your church online.
Did you experience a great time of worship in church? Let people know. Those facebook/twitter/instagram updates are golden for people knowing you are a person that takes faith seriously. It will open you up to relational conversations and make it easier to invite friends to church.
You can also share key status updates from your church with others. Have blanket open invitations to worship. Find out what are key pieces of communication from your church and share share share.
3. Be a public person of prayer.
Pray in public. Another simple one. Pray for your food and when you tell someone you will pray for them do it right then and there. This doesn’t mean you hold an entire prayer meeting in your local Starbucks, but don’t be afraid of a few sentences. I have also found when I tell people I will pray for them I will also write it down and keep up with them. If this is a friend at church it might not surprise them, but if you come back to a co-worker in a couple of weeks it will!