I think I know what it takes in order to be faithful to the task of evangelism. I think we all do.
I’m currently reading “Speaking the Gospel Through the Ages (A History of Evangelism)” by Milton L. Rudnick. It’s a little dry and academic, but it contains some powerful reminders for Christians today.
One such reminder is that evangelism ought not be a chore, but a delight. Rudnick put it this way while talking about the enthusiasm of Christians in the first and second centuries:
During these early centuries Christianity grew so rapidly that the chief agents of growth were, not the leaders of the church nor professional evangelists, but rather ordinary believers who shared the Gospel in the roles and relationships of their daily lives. Without the benefit of evangelism programs or materials, without even any special encouragement, these people talked to others about the help and the hope they had found in Christ. It was an informal and spontaneous type of sharing, natural rather than forced. People talk quite readily and enthusiastically about things that matter a great deal to them… (p. 28)
Like I said: dry and academic. But allow me to paraphrase in my own words.
The early church exploded with growth! And it wasn’t because of “professional” pastors and evangelists. No, it was because of normal Christians who were excited about Jesus!
This is what I want. I want to be a Christian who joyfully shares the gospel wherever I go. I want my church to be so thankful to God for salvation that they naturally tell others about the Savior.
I think one of the biggest problems with our churches today isn’t that we’ve embraced a false gospel, or that we need to restructure our churches for growth, or that we have a lack of volunteers. It’s that we’ve forgotten how great a salvation we have in Christ! We need to remember daily where we’d be without Jesus, and what He endured for us, and who we are in Christ now that we’ve been forgiven of all our sins.
We need to earnestly pray with the Psalmist:
Make me as happy as you did when you saved me;
make me want to obey! (Psalm 51:12, CEV)
God, do this in me. Amen.