Swerve Church is a new church in the neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn.
Today we will discuss the importance of evangelism. What exactly is it? How do we go about sharing our faith? Is it necessary to whip out the megaphone and soapbox?
WHAT IS EVANGELISM?
What do you think of when you hear the word evangelism? I used to cringe at the word. Growing up for me, evangelism meant an awkward confrontation with the world. It meant standing on a street corner and shouting for the world to hear. As a result, there weren’t many conversions. Instead there were a lot of awkward stares, fingers in ears, and calls to the cops.
So, then, what is evangelism? How do we go about doing it? To begin, let’s read the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians:
I think this passage is a great place to start. Paul here is telling us that evangelism involves “good news”. What is this good news? Well, it’s what we discussed in Gospelology. That is that God, in his great love and mercy sent us Jesus to pay for the price of our sins. Jesus resurrected on the third day conquering Satan, sin, and death granting us reconciliation with the Father.
And so evangelism revolves around getting this great message out. Why is this important? Well, it ties into the mission Jesus left with his disciples:
So we understand why it is so important but how do we exactly go about sharing our faith? Have you ever heard the quote, “preach the gospel and when necessary use words”? What do you think is implied by that phrase?
It seems that in our day and age, words hold little value and what’s being implied here is that “actions speak louder than words.” And while I can truly appreciate the call to authentic Christian living, it’s not exactly biblical. Look at the following passage:
According to this passage, it is clearly communicated that there must be words, speech and conversation involved in order to share the gospel. It is not simply about living a life impacted by the implications of the gospel, but a clear presentation of it.
So this is a good apologetic to the communication of the gospel. But still, how do we do it? Do we get the soapbox and megaphone? Should we approach the precinct and get sound permits so that we can set up shop on a busy street corner to preach to the passersby? Should we randomly approach people in the park?
Let me say that I am sure there are many gifted people to do the above. I’m also very sure that many have come to meet Jesus through someone who used the above methods.
I think ultimately the best question to ask is, what is most effective? What is the most effective way to be able to share our faith with someone? There are many ways to do this. One thing is clear. It is all of our jobs to share our faith and make disciples.
Everyday we find ourselves with many people who are far from God. Many who have no relationship with Jesus. Many who have a misunderstanding of the gospel or who have been hurt by the church. These are people who we are connected to some way. For example, they are siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. Take a moment to think about how many people you are somehow relationally connected to.
I think that one of the best ways to share the gospel with someone is to be relationally invested in them. In relationship, people are able to know you and you know them. There is a certain level of comfortability. As you go about sharing your life with them, you can begin to open up and share your story of finding faith in Jesus.
This verse wrestles with the tension of living an explerary, God-honoring life and being able to handle the word of truth, in other words, the Bible and the gospel. I think it paints a great picture of how we can share our lives with others and share the gospel.
Be intentional about building these relationships. Pray for them. Pray for opportunities to be able to share the gospel with them. Look at what Paul says about those who were far from Jesus:
Pray and watch how God answers those prayers giving you opportunities to share your faith with those around you.
COME AND SEE
Now, again let me reiterize that there are many ways to go about sharing your faith. There are even many different tools and resources that will teach you how to go about sharing the gospel. The purpose of this study is not to give you a comprehensive list. Rather it is to give you some simple ways you can begin applying this today.
Another way we can take part in the life change of an individual is using the church as a resource. What a great place for someone who is far from God to come and hear the gospel preached. From your perspective, all you are doing is inviting them in to share and partake in your regular rhythm of life.
As a church, we are passionate about leading people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. We will do anything short of sin to reach people far from God. So when we get together as a group we definitely want to grow as believers. We want to encourage each other and fellowship. But we also want to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus. We want to tell people about Jesus. Our desire is to really experience God’s saving power and see life change.
Notice Philip’s response to Nathanael. Nathanael is obviously quite reluctant to quickly jump on the messiah train and begin following Jesus. Philip’s response is simply,”come and see”. It echoes what the Psalmist said:
I’m not sure if Philip read Nathanael well and realized there would be no amount of convincing that would work. Instead he said, you gotta see it to believe it! He invited him to experience Jesus for himself.
What a good word for us. As we go about getting ready to launch out this new life giving, gospel centered church in Bushwick, we want to create an environment where people can come and encounter Jesus and see for themselves. We want them to taste and see that he is good!
How can you begin to look at your network of relationships as opportunities to intentionally invest in with the hopes of being able to share the gospel?
As a church, how can we prepare to have an awesome “encounter Jesus” experience for people who are far from God?
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