Practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Evangelism

Summary: Many Christians don’t feel prepared, effective enough, or know how to share their faith with the lost. But Jesus commissioned us and the Holy Spirit gives us the boldness to witness and the strength to tell others about Jesus.


In my last post, I talked about the four related spiritual disciplines of submission, silence, solitude, and simplicity. In this post, I want to introduce the spiritual discipline of evangelism.

One struggle Christians express is the ability to witness for Jesus. Whether they don’t feel equipped to speak about Jesus, don’t know how to begin the conversation, or think they have to do it all, they feel inadequate for the task.

When I was in Bible College, one of the most compelling arguments for sharing our faith even if we don’t feel qualified was that if a person was in a desert about to die, and you had a cup of cold water to give them, it would be cruel, even inhumane to not give them a drink.

This post will help you over your hurdles to share Jesus with your loved ones and those around you. Let’s dive in!

Jesus’ Heart for the Lost

We realize throughout Jesus’ ministry that He cared about people, especially lost people. In Luke 15, Jesus gave three parables to explain how much He once lost people to be found. In each case, the person did everything they could to find the lost sheep, coin, and son.

Elsewhere, Jesus explains He came to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24), came to call sinners, not the righteous (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:23), and came to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus was clear about His mission to the world. He has never changed His focus.

Jesus is still about leading the loss into His light and Kingdom. We have no excuse as His disciples to not be telling others about Jesus. If Jesus had a heart for the lost, and He is our example in every, we need a heart for the lost.

When you look around, do you see people in need of a Savior? Do you see the hurt and lost people around you? Jesus came for them. At one time, you were them. But now you have the top of cold water in Jesus they desperately need.

When you begin to think of the people who need Jesus around you, evangelism becomes a burning desire in your heart. You become as desperate to learn how to share Jesus with them as they are desperate to receive Him. May the Lord make our hearts desperate to effectively share Him with the lost.

Our Great Commission

Jesus couldn’t have made this more our mission when He commissioned us to do what He did. At the end of His ministry after Jesus was raised from the dead, He commissioned His disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20).

To make disciples is to make people who want to learn from Jesus. This was His mission while on earth, and now it is ours. Who better to tell others about Jesus’ transformation of our lives than us? Talking about Jesus should be natural.

Just as Jesus made disciples by teaching them through His words and His actions, we must do the same today. Our lifestyle, words, and the change in our lives draw people to Jesus. They should want the same Jesus we have when they get around us.

Our commission is to bring people to Jesus. He didn’t tell us to save people. That’s His job. But our job is to tell them about Jesus. It’s that simple. We don’t have the hard part. We leave that up to the Holy Spirit.

We don’t decide who says, “Yes” to the message. We don’t change their hearts or force them to become Jesus’ disciples. To make disciples, all you need is people interested in Jesus, wanting to be part of His Kingdom, and to love and serve Him. We don’t do any of that. All we do is tell our story, tell them who Jesus is, and let God do the rest.

Your Mission Field

Some Christians may think they have to be the one to leave a person to Jesus every time they talk about Him. They think they have to take a person the whole way from God-hater to God-lover in one conversation. But that’s not how it works.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we misunderstand our place in evangelism. More often, you are only one person in the process, and your goal is to only do part of evangelism. It can take a person years to come to Christ.

So, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. It’s for that reason many Christians don’t feel competent or effective enough in their evangelism efforts. Once you realize Jesus sends this person to you for just one part, the pressure is off.

Some people think they have to go to some far-off country, learn the language and culture, and wait for years as a missionary to see their first convert. While these stories exist, this understanding comes out of a popular translation of Matthew 28:19.

They think the verse says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to do everything I have commanded you.” Only one correction to this verse and the idea of missionaries going to another nation is turned on its head.

The proper way to translate Matthew 28:19 goes like this, “Therefore, in your going, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… and teaching them…” Now, the main verb is not to go. It’s to make disciples. We don’t have to go to another country. Your mission field begins with where you are, your “backyard.”

Instead of having to go somewhere to fulfill the great commission, you can fulfill it by making disciples wherever you go. No matter where you go, you need to be making disciples. You can make disciples out of the people around you.

Use your native language, go where you normally go, and make disciples. Make people who want to follow Jesus. Now that becomes the challenge. Am I living, speaking, and acting out the gospel around me?

Catching Fish

It’s beyond this post to give you all the evangelism techniques to witness to every person. You should pick up whatever tactics you need to effectively proclaim the gospel to those around you. You don’t have to move them all. You have to know the ones that help you reach the people around you.

We learn these tactics from one another. You can learn them from books on evangelism, the internet, and any other way Christians help each other witness to individuals, groups, people of other religions, and every person out there who doesn’t know Jesus yet.

You don’t have to be a walking Josh McDowell. You just have to be willing to do everything in your power to present the gospel effectively to those around you. Jesus talked about “catching fish” to His fishermen disciples. From now on, they would catch people instead of fish (Matthew 4:19).

If you had to do all this on your own, I could understand why so many Christians feel unprepared to witness to others. But you are not alone. Other Christians who excel at evangelism can teach you. But even if there weren’t any Christians around, Jesus has prepared you in other ways.

The Holy Spirit dwelling in you prepares you to witness. He empowers you to be His witness wherever you go (Acts 1:8). The Spirit empowers you, from the baptism in the Spirit onward. He gives you the words to speak (Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 12:12).

Aside from all these evangelism resources, the way we live before others gives them a front-row seat to the change Jesus makes in us. Our life is the witness. They see the light of Jesus in us, that happiness we exude, and how we struggle with suffering and trials differently them the world.

Your life becomes the billboard for Jesus to shine through you and make Himself interesting and desirable to them. You still have to open your mouth and proclaim the gospel. But your lifestyle gets you in the door.

Catching the Fire

After looking at everything I’ve covered so far about evangelism, does it not seem just a little easier? You can get training on how to share your story, live the life that makes Jesus desirable to others, what to say about the gospel, and effective evangelism tactics from available resources.

But I want you to catch the fire, the vision for telling the lost about Jesus. They need Him more than anything. Time is running out for them to receive Jesus. And Jesus placed you right where you are and gave you all the tools you need to win the lost for Him.

So, get out there and win the lost to Jesus. Make disciples everywhere you go. Show with your lifestyle, tell your story of Jesus’ change in you, proclaim the gospel, and let Jesus be the holy terror He needs to be to save them.

Begin with prayer for the people in your life who need Jesus. How will they be different when Jesus saves them? Look for open doors, as we’ll discuss in the next couple of posts. Seize the opportunity to share Jesus with people in your life. Catch the fire of evangelism!

Growth Challenge

Think of at least one person in your life you can influence with your lifestyle, your words, and your actions. Pray for that person. Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and look for opportunities to share your faith. Let the Holy Spirit guide you, step out in faith, open your mouth, and tell them about Jesus.

Up Next

Now that we have talked about evangelism, I will talk about how to find your evangelism style so you can be the most effective for Christ in evangelism.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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