I’ll never forget the first time I got to lead another person to faith in Christ. The feeling of joy was indescribable. Looking back over my Christian journey, some of my greatest spiritual highlights are those moments in which I have been used to lead another person to salvation. I find it sad that some believers never get to experience the joy of being used in such a way. Scripture teaches us that Christ’s followers should be compelled to lead others to Jesus. When the earliest disciples were told to stop talking about Jesus, they replied, “We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). When one walks with Jesus, one will be naturally compelled to witness to Jesus. However, many are sidetracked from a life of witness bearing. Consider three reasons.
Don’t Know What to Say
As a pastor, I have often heard people excuse their lack of witness by saying they don’t know what to say. In some ways, I have a hard time understanding such reasoning. If you are a born-again believer, you should know what to say. If you understood how to be saved, you should understand how to tell another person how to be saved. On top of that, Scripture says you should “know how you should answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).
Fear of Rejection
Fear is perhaps the most prevalent reason for a lack of evangelism. Many church-goers never share the gospel because they are afraid of being rejected. I believe that such fear can be alleviated by thinking about three realities. First, one should be aware that worst case scenarios are rare. I’ve rarely been ostracized. Most people are fine with hearing your views, so long as you present them in a respectable, loving manner. Second, there is a degree to which we need to be fine with a bit of rejection. If Jesus embraced the horror and shame of the cross, why can’t we lose a little face in telling of His sacrifice? Our love of our own self-image has made us silent. Third, I think fear can be assuaged by having confidence in the gospel. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Faith in the gospel will conquer your fear of sharing the gospel.
Don’t Know Anyone Who Is Unsaved
I recently attended an evangelism seminar in which I was asked to write down the names of all of the unsaved people I knew. I am ashamed to admit it, but my list was rather short. I realized I had fallen into the same trap which ensnares many believers. Research reveals that the longer a person is a Christian he or she will inevitably possess fewer and fewer relationships with non-Christian people. In order to be witnesses, we must reverse that trend. Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18). His words imply that we should have a lifestyle in which we intentionally mingle with non-believers. He Himself was faithful to do such while He was on Earth. He was actually called a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). We should seek to follow His example, intentionally building healthy relationships through which we can share the gospel.
Dr. Patrick Latham