We all have different reasons we don’t evangelise. Fear, rejection, HR, laziness, inexperience, stress. And that’s just some of my reasons. But there seems to be a few evangelism “proverbs” getting around that are keeping even well meaning christians from evangelising. These short, pithy little sayings contain a grain of truth about evangelism but in reality are used by people as reasons not to evangelise. Because of this, it’s worth taking a closer look to work out where they help and where they hinder.
#1 “You need to earn the right to evangelise”
Implied in this statement is that to “earn” the right to evangelise your life must positively impact the life of others before you can speak to them about Jesus. That you must stay quiet until a certain level of trust has been earned. There is no doubt that building trust with others is part of Christian witness, but what role should it play?
The christian life will open doors to opportunities to share the gospel. This can be done in many ways, whether it is through loving friendships, radical forgiveness, integrity in business deals, good sportsmanship, generosity, hospitality, acts of compassion and being part of a local church. I know a christian whose respect for others on the sports field led to a conversation with a team mate about the gospel. Indeed part of being “salt” and “light” will mean our lives will be used by God to draw people to himself. We need to be careful though when we seperate “good life” from “good news”.
If we want to positively impact people’s lives, the greatest way we can do that is to share the gospel with them. God has done something about all our brokenness and mess; about our sin and suffering. People need to hear about the hope and freedom that are part of the Kingdom of God and the weeping and gnashing of teeth outside the Kingdom. Given people respond in all sorts of ways to the gospel, it’s understandable that we want to be wise in when and how we share this message but one thing we don’t need to do is to earn the right to share it.
Jesus’ last words in Matthew’s gospel are :
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
These words are coming from the risen Lord! Jesus Christ has already earned the right for you to tell other people about him. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth! There is not a single place you can set your foot, drink coffee, play sport or catch pokemon that Jesus hasn’t already said “you can make disciples here”. That includes every friendship you have and every passing conversation you have with a stranger. You aren’t trying to earn the right to evangelise. You have the right. In fact, you don’t just have the right, you’ve been commissioned to do it! To live by this commission will require prayer, wisdom, patience and love. But it does not require permission – you already have that from the ruler of heaven and earth.
Is there someone in your life that you’ve been waiting to “earn” the right to evangelise? Begin to pray about that relationship. Thank Jesus for giving you authority to make disciples and ask for an opportunity to speak to your friend about the gospel. Below are some questions that you might be able to ask your friend to get the conversation started. Remember, Jesus has earned the right for you to evangelise.
- We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve never talked about faith. Do you think we get together one time and share where we are at?
- I’ve been really enjoying reading some of the stories from Jesus’ life lately. Could I share a story with you?
- I’ve been wondering if you’d like to come to church with me one day?
- I’ve noticed you don’t say much when God stuff comes up. What do you think about God?