"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus answered him, "'Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.' This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: 'You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.' Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets." -Matthew 22:36-40
"Then Jesus came close to them and said, "All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age." -Matthew 28:18-20
Evangelism is a really intimidating word to many people, so let me break it down a bit more. I believe archbishop William Temple put it best when he said, "Evangelism is to so present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the church."
It is all about shifting people's perspective toward Jesus. If all that happens from the conversation or relationship is that they accept Jesus to be their Lord and Savior and they are fixing their gaze toward Jesus, that's enough. It is not your job to push them from one degree of glory to another, it is Jesus'. The biggest challenge with embracing a lifestyle of evangelism is that there are so many unfinished stories that are dealt with. You will almost never know if the person you talked to embraced Jesus 5 minutes from your conversation, 5 years from now, or never. There is no other way around it. Your job is to love the person in front of you, show them the aspect of Jesus manifested in you, and trust God to reveal himself.
Evangelism boils down to two aspects: the greatest commandment and the great commission. A heart for the lost overflows from an intimacy with God. An intimacy with God pushes us to love others well. Loving others well means partnering with God's ministry in that moment and trusting God with them.
As Christians, we stand in the authority of the Great Commission with the greatest commandment etched into our hearts. We are commanded to teach others to be disciples of Jesus, and as a body, the Christian church does that well. If Jesus chose the last words he spoke to his disciples before he ascended to heaven to be the Great Commission, that means it is just as important. Discipleship teaches believers how to eat at the table of the Lord, but evangelism shows people that there is a place reserved specifically for them at the table.
Evangelism has nothing to do with how uncomfortable we are, but it has everything to do with God's heart for the one. I don't care if I'm uncomfortable if it means that someone else knows that God's heart is for them. You have to remember that you were lost at one point, and God left everything to find you. If you pursued the lost the way God pursued you, it would change the way you lived your everyday life, and it would change what eternity looks like.
Evangelism is not an event, it is a lifestyle. You will never accidentally choose to evangelize, but as you continue to choose to step into this lifestyle, it will become normal. It will feel uncomfortable at first, and rejection is hard. However, the more times you get rejected, the less you will be afraid of rejection. You do not live for the approval of man, but for the approval of your Heavenly Father. Even if you are not an "Evangelist" who is sent to equip others to live out this lifestyle. You can still show people a glimpse of Heaven in your heart in your job, in your dorm room, or in your friend group.
Your first tries may not be conversions, and that is 100% okay. It's not your job to make their decision, but you can provide the opportunity. Are you willing to be interrupted to partner with God in his ministry to another person? Evangelism is a momentary inconvenience, so someone else can live in eternity with Jesus. Eternity would look radically different without you, and eternity would look radically different without the person in front of you that may not know Jesus.
Think about the person in your life you most want to know Jesus. Now, think of the moment when you realized the impact of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God did not give you the gift of salvation to be locked away. God created you to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). You were always meant to stand out and be seen. You cannot change a world you are not a part of, and God created you intentionally to have the influences in spheres no other Christian would have influence in. A light cannot make the light any more light, a light has to be in the darkness to shine. The same way a Christian cannot help another Christian step more into salvation, they can help someone who is lost find that they have salvation offered to them.
The pressure is not on you though, it's on the Holy Spirit to reveal God. That aspect should be one of the most freeing things. All you have to do is love the person in front of you, and that is enough. Let God be their Savior, all you have to do is love them.
Author | Cristina Rosiles