Three Myths About Evangelism

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Before you write this one off claiming you are not an evangelist, think again. If you claim to follow Jesus, then you are called by Him to spread the word of the Lord to others. In essence, the Gospel is to be ready on your lips when the opportunity arises.

Paul and Barnabas get Hammered

Not in the alcoholic-inebriated sense, but hammered in the sense of persecution and chased out of town.  The deeper story is found in Acts 13:13-52; which I encourage you to read by following this link  Acts 13:13-52  Something unique happened when Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch in Pisidia (now known as southern Turkey), that reveals three myths we hold about communicating the Gospel to others, and three solutions to the challenge.

Did You Know…

75% of Christ-followers have less than ten spiritual conversations with someone in a year. That’s about one conversation every 5 or 6 weeks. That points to a malady many of us face, including me; a reluctance of a joyful witness. There are three basic responses to the Gospel seen in Acts 13:

  1. Open
  2. Interested
  3. Antagonistic

Of course, those who are open and interested, welcome to one extent or another a conversation about Jesus. It’s the antagonistic ones that curb our willingness to have spiritual conversations. What if they do to me what they did to Paul and Barnabas and run me out of town?  It is the fear of rejection that curtails what could otherwise be a move of the Holy Spirit to speak the truth and love of the Gospel to others.

Myth #1-Forcing a Spiritual Conversation

Forcing a conversation without an invitation is not the way to go. Rather, it boils down to being invited into a conversation based on your reputation. In this passage in Acts 13, the leaders of the synagogue, where Paul and Barnabas were visiting, asked “Brothers if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.”  When Paul stood and waved his hand, the people knew he was a spiritual leader from Jerusalem that had things to say. So, they invited him to speak. Get to know people in such a way that they see your faith in Christ and invite you to speak. They will have better ears to hear. 

Myth #2-The Gospel is a Presentation

I’ve been challenged to present the Gospel in 3 minutes or less, 90 seconds or less, and in 60 seconds or less. Such is a good exercise in knowing the core of the Gospel, but making a Gospel presentation is not the best way to share the love of Jesus. Rather, it’s about telling the Gospel story in a way that gets through to the person you’ve been invited to share with. Stories have four basic parts, and so does the Gospel.

  • Background is the story of sin and its consequences
  • Rising Action is God’s plan of restoration
  • Climax is Jesus on the Cross and the Resurrection
  • Resolution is Repentance and Faith in Jesus for salvation and a living relationship with him.

Paul included all four parts in his Gospel story. Weaving your personal story of salvation can help get through to the person who invited you to talk.

Myth #3-It’s Up to Me to Save Someone

For the longest time, I thought it was up to me to save others. Honestly, it stressed me out. I’d sweat with nervousness. My armpits were wet, and my right leg shaking out of control. My throat got dry. I could hardly keep my thoughts straight. What if after all my efforts, the person I’m sharing Christ with rejects me? And, that is where the myth surfaced. It’s not about me. I have absolutely no control over how a person will respond to the Gospel.  Sure, it would be awesome if they were open, even interested. Those are a joy to see!  It’s the aggravated ones that get to me. 

Take the time to read this section from Acts 13. Don’t skip over it. 

46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Gentiles (non-Jews) rejoiced because of the Gospel. Many believed and God saved them. The Jews were irritated by the Gospel and stirred up women and leaders in the city to do their dirty work and run Paul and Barnabas out of town. By inciting others to do their dirty work, they were proving themselves hardened to the Gospel. They were cowards. At that point, Paul and Barnabas did what God told them to do; shake the dust off their feet and move on. 

It’s about your faithfulness to the Gospel regardless of others’ responses.

Truth be told if you live a Spirit-filled life, you may find more invitations to speak Gospel truth into others’ lives. With that will come an increasing number of responses:  Open, Interested, and Antagonistic. Ask the Lord to dispel the three myths of evangelism and replace them with the three things Paul and Barnabas did.  You will be surprised at how God uses you for the Kingdom!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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