The great commission reminds us that we are to make disciples of all nations:
“‘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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The first stage in the process of becoming a disciple is when a sinner trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Our job is to communicate the gospel in a loving and clear manner, using words that the hearer can understand. The work of God is to convict the sinner of his need for salvation and draw him to Himself. Reminding ourselves of what we are called to do and what God alone can do will bring freedom and lift unnecessary guilt.
As we seek to be more disciplined and intentional in personal evangelism let me share some ideas that should help.
Pray for people and opportunities: An interest and love for people will cause us to pray for their salvation. Praying for God to open doors of opportunity will often result in unexpected conversations.
Do not wait for the perfect time: I have heard of people approaching believers and asking, “How can I be saved?”, but these times are rare. Whilst we need to have wisdom in what, when and how we speak, the important thing is that we speak about the gospel. Procrastination often leads to silence.
Do not think you have to say everything: If you only have a moment, say something. A brief word about the Lord Jesus can be used by the Holy Spirit, and you could be a link in the chain that eventually leads the hearer to trust in Him.
Be prepared to ask questions: If we approach someone and deliver a 10-minute monologue we will be perceived as rude, treating them as a project rather than a person. Instead, let them talk and ask how they arrived at the conclusions they have drawn. When you speak, respond to their statements, then ensure they respond to yours.
Have a basic gospel outline in your mind: I have found it helpful to remember a four-word gospel outline; ‘God, Man, Christ and Response’. In basic terms, I will seek to speak about God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, Christ’s life, death and resurrection and our response. This outline has proven helpful to explain the gospel in a few minutes.
Evangelism is hard work but with discipline we can develop. Practice will not make us perfect, but it will make us better.