Evangelism is typically defined as the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness. According to Todd Shupe, many Christians are uncomfortable with active engagement in evangelism because they do not consider themselves a preacher and are too timid to engage in personal witness. The gift of evangelism is directly from Christ: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11).
Todd Shupe thinks it is important to acknowledge that not all are called to evangelism. According to Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Below are five steps to help discern if evangelism is right for you.
- Start with prayer:According to Todd Shupe, prayer is essential to discern God’s will for us. It is essential that we follow His will and not try to have Him follow our will. God demonstrated in Exodus 13:21 that He wants us to follow him. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
- Talk with your pastor and friendsIn addition to prayer, God will speak to us through our friends and our pastor. Todd Shupe encourages you to talk and pray with them and ask for their assistance in determining what your spiritual gifts are.
- The best evangelism doesn’t involve words.St. Francis of Assisi is known for this: “Speak the gospel wherever you go and use words when necessary.” The best method to extend the reach of the church is by sharing Christ’s love through missions and Christian action; be the hands and feet of Christ to the unchurched.
- The Great CommissionOne of the greatest blessings we have as Christians is The Great Commission. Todd Shupe believes that we have all been called to the priesthood of all believers and to make disciples of all nations.“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20).
- Be the light of ChristThere is plenty of darkness in the world. According to Todd Shupe, as Christians we should all strive to be the light of Christ and bring His light into the darkness. John 1:5 tells us “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Be the light. Be blessed.