Beyond the Comfort Zone: Evangelizing in Our Daily Lives
It’s easy to look around and see that we live in a fallen world, filled with lost people that need salvation.
As believers in Christ, we have an immense privilege and responsibility to proclaim the gospel to a lost and dying world. But why are so many of us (myself included) not as faithful to the great commission?
Many things can cripple our usefulness, here are a few:
We believe that evangelism is only for the gifted. If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, you have the Holy Spirit directing and guiding you. We can all learn and grow in this area, but all Christians should seek to be faithful here.
Fear of man: What will people think of me? What if I don’t know what to say? How will I start the conversation? And the list goes on. Fear can be overwhelming at times, but learning to confront it, seek the Lord, and put it to death are vital. We overcome this fear when we focus on loving others and being faithful to the Lord.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Apathy: We simply don’t care enough about those perishing. Perhaps you are not regularly in prayer with the Lord or in the word enough and are not thinking about spiritual things, and others greatest spiritual need.
“God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into hell!” – Charles Spurgeon
It’s often hard to know where to start, so below I have thought through some baby steps and tips that may be of some help:
Pray: Before anything, you must go before the Lord. Pray that God would open up doors to proclaim the gospel and/or hand out a tract. Pray that the Lord would help you to proclaim it clearly. Pray for boldness. As you pray for opportunities you will be more aware of them and start looking for them.
"Effective witnessing begins when we’re on our knees and not when we’re on our feet." -Alistair Begg
“The Gospel cannot live, fight, conquer without prayer—prayer unceasing, instant and ardent.” - E.M. Bounds
Hand out tracts: Never leave home without them.
“Let each one of us, if we have done nothing for Christ, begin to do something now. The distribution of tracts is the first thing.” - Charles Spurgeon
Hand them out at restaurants when you leave the check; hand them out if someone helps you with your groceries; hand them out if someone is wearing a cross necklace “Here, I’m sure you would enjoy reading this.” Etc. (I also hand out the million dollar bill tract when someone says something nice about my kids “Thanks a million, make sure to read the back.”)
Do something nice for a neighbor: Bake them a banana bread, and perhaps invite them to church. Or even ask them if they go to church anywhere. Making small talk is a good way to start to get to know your neighbor.
During some of the holidays I like to make treats for my neighbors to help build relationships. I have often made a Christmas Basket and included a church flyer for our Christmas service. I have taken my kids with me and sang Christmas carols (besides the one time my boys decided they didn’t want to sing and I sang alone….awkward.)
Ask neighbors/friends/family how you can pray for them. This could open the door for discussion and shows that you care for them.
Ask questions. If I am having a conversation with someone, the best way to get to know them is to ask questions. You never know where this may lead. Getting to know them and what their beliefs are could help you to minister to them.
Practice with a telemarketer or a stranger on the phone. It’s less intimidating because you don’t know them and you can’t see them. What’s the worst that could happen?
Learn from your mistakes: I have learned that when someone is crying because they just lost a loved one, it’s probably not the time to say “So where do you think you’re going to go if you die today?” Weep with those that weep, show compassion, and listen.
Be humble. If someone asks a question or has an objection that you don’t know the answer to, it’s okay to say “I don’t know but I will get back to you.” Let’s not kid ourselves, we are all learning and growing in this area and I have been asked some strange and yet difficult questions.
Address their conscience: Don’t play battle of the wits. It’s not an intellectual problem they have, but a moral one. Everyone has a conscience and it’s hard for anyone to deny that. God has written His law on every man’s heart (Romans 2:15). Speak to that and don’t be afraid to point them back to this.
Love them, genuinely. God loves all people and desires that all would come to know Him (John 3:16, 1 Tim 2:4). Paul’s words in Romans 9 have often pierced my heart, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” I certainly have never come to that point and pray God would help me to grow more and more in this area of compassion and mercy. If you are saved, it was not because of anything you did, remember that when speaking to others. You once were just as lost. Meditate on Ephesians 2:1-10.
Seek to speak clearly: I often will pull up God’s word to read to others directly. God has promised that His word will not return void, not my words. His word cuts, not my words. Rely on God’s word. Learn it, memorize it, and proclaim it. (Colossians 4:4, Ephesians 6:19)
If someone does not want to engage you in spiritual conversation, don’t force it. The Spirit is not working in someone that doesn’t want to speak to you regarding, and your job is not to force anyone into a conversation. I usually say something like this if I get a bad response “I did not mean to offend you, please forgive me” and then change the subject.
Find someone who either has the gift of evangelism or who regularly shares their faith, and learn from them. Perhaps ask if you can go with them sometime if they do sidewalk evangelism and observe and pray during.
Remember, even those who are gifted and regularly proclaim their faith likely also have feelings of fear and intimidation at times. They have just learned to use this to flee to Christ in prayer. They have learned to overcome and push through. They are not driven by fear, but a love for the lost.
Wait on the Lord. Trust His timing for when He opens doors. It might not be the first time you meet your neighbor. It’s also important to build relationships and be gracious. You don’t want your neighbors hiding from you because word has gotten around the neighborhood that you browbeat others with the gospel (true story).
Pray: Did I already mention this? It’s a big one. Don’t grow weary in prayer, persevere, know that the Almighty God hears you.
“Until the gate of hell is shut upon a man we must not cease to pray for him. And if we see him hugging the very doorposts of damnation, we must go to the mercy seat and beseech the arm of grace to pluck him from his dangerous position. While there is life there is hope, and although the soul is almost smothered with despair, we must not despair for it, but rather arouse ourselves to awaken the Almighty arm.” -Charles Spurgeon
Remember, everyone’s greatest need is salvation. He uses earthen vessels to accomplish His purposes and bring the good news to others:
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Rom 10:14-15)
The good news for us is that the Lord is the one that does the saving, remember Ephesians 2? How comforting it is know that I am not the one that saves (I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night). Love your friends, family, and neighbors enough to warn them of the judgement that is to come, and their need to repent and put their sole trust in Jesus Christ and trust the Lord with whatever outcome.
The Lord has promised to always be with you, “and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). What encouragement that is when you are speaking to others about Christ. It will be a spiritual battle, but we have the Lord of Hosts on our side. Trust His word and remind yourself of it.
Resolve today that you will seek to be more faithful in proclaiming the good news, for Christ’s sake.
I leave you with one of my favorite Spurgeon quotes:
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Any questions regarding this article? Comment below as I would love to hear from you.