ALWAYS BE READY “Evangelism Is…”
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
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I’m going to look at the concept of Evangelism and help get us a proper perspective that Christians can see how it works. How Evangelism is executed has changed but the message hasn’t changed. That message is the gospel “good news” of Jesus Christ. I looked on the internet and found this practical working definition of Evangelism.
Evangelism is the organic process of intentionally engaging individuals in their spiritual journey joining the Holy Spirit watching for where he is already at work to help these individuals take one step closer to God and new life in Christ, becoming the unique reflection of the image of Christ as the resurrected, glorified persons God intended.
That’s the broad definition but the narrow definition is sharing the gospel to someone ready to make a decision to accept Jesus in their life. The broader definition includes what we would call “pre-Evangelism” which is the things we do or say that leads to the “good news”. Pre-Evangelism can be compared to gardening, What? Before there can be a harvest then some gardening needs to be done. Greg Koukl in his book “Tactics” uses this analogy.
Greg also uses John 4 to illustrate this point. Jesus just finished having a conversation with the woman at the well where Jesus did some “gardening” and the woman went to her village to tell others she possibly saw the “Messiah”. The disciples came back with food for Jesus but he wouldn’t eat. Jesus goes on to explain about sowers and reapers a.k.a. Gardeners and Harvesters. He says the sowers and reapers will rejoice together when the harvest comes even though the harvesters didn’t do the “hard” work. Jesus told them they are about reap what they didn’t sow since the villagers were arriving. At the beginning of this chapter, it says that Jesus was getting more people baptized than John, however it was the disciples that did the baptizing not Jesus. That’s what Jesus meant by they would reap not what they sown because Jesus did the sowing.
Evangelism in today’s culture involves those principles where there needs to be more gardeners (pre-Evangelism) than harvesters (Evangelism). Non-believers have many barriers or more barriers than 30 years ago. I mentioned in other post where Faith has changed from belief in something true to a leap of “Faith” to where Christians are viewed as people who believe without reason but just on feelings. The 9/11 event has caused some to think that fundamentalist Christians are dangerous. Some think all religions are basically the same. This culture is more subjective on truth than objective or there is no “absolute truth”. Most non-believers think they are good people, why need Jesus? I’ve mentioned before of instant access to information on smartphones and computers has changed the way to do some gardening.
Doing some gardening can help in Evangelism because like Jim Warner Wallace said in one of his presentations “you don’t have to hit a home run in every spiritual conversation you have”. Most Christians have the narrow definition of Evangelism therefore they don’t feel adequate or if they can’t hit “the home run” then why even try?! You noticed that Jesus didn’t ask the woman you want the “living water” now but told her that she was speaking with the “Anointed One”. She left to go to town of Sycar to tell others to come and see him. When we do some gardening we are just getting people to think about Jesus differently than the world has said about him or like Jim Warner Wallace says, “hitting singles, doubles, or even just bunting” help non-believers move along their journey to accepting Jesus.
Some Christians think they are not perfect or inept that they think they can’t be effective in sharing their Faith, so they don’t even try but none of us are perfect. God knows we are not perfect but God expects us to do something then He will do the rest. God wants no one to perish (2nd Peter 3:9) so we should do our part though God doesn’t need us rather He wants us involved! God can use our weaknesses to proclaim His good news (2nd Corinthians 12:9). All we need to do is some gardening then let God do the rest. There will be moments that we can share the gospel with someone, but we need to know the right time for that if the recipient is ready. Pre-Evangelism helps get to the narrow definition of Evangelism. Most Christians are gardeners and some are harvesters so if we each do our part then we celebrate together in heaven. In my upcoming posts I’ll share some more tips on evangelism.
Kevin J. Garrison