A Field Guide to Evangelism (1/10)
Many Christians, according to Russell D. Moore, think about evangelism like they think about flossing. They know they should do it more often – and they even feel guilty when they’re reminded of it – but they think of it as an optional discipline.
Such a laissez-faire approach to evangelism is certainly foreign to Scripture. Charles Haddon Spurgeon went so far as to say that this sort of attitude is antithetical to the gospel itself. “Have you no wish for others to be saved?” Spurgeon asked. “Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!”
Perhaps the metaphor of food is a helpful way to view our responsibility to share the gospel. Sri Lankan evangelist D.T. Niles said that evangelism is simply, “One beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread.” We must recognize, however, that lost people are unaware of their need for spiritual bread. Our task would be much easier if everyone sensed the hunger pangs of their sacred starvation.
On the other hand, Christians are often guilty of being gospel hoarders and simultaneously spiritually malnourished. If we hide the gospel away for our families, and ourselves, the result will be an evangelistic anorexia that fails to convince the watching world that we have found the source of supreme satisfaction. God help us.
This little book is designed to help you cultivate your craving to see “grace extend to more and more people” so that it “may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Cor 4: 15). If you finish this guide book and still see the Great Commission like the unfortunate duty to floss accompanied by a scolding from a well-intentioned hygienist, then we have failed. And so have you.
It’s our goal that the following pages serve you by fanning your passion for the glory of God. And it’s our prayer that each chapter will provide some helpful resources for sharing the gospel with specific people groups, both as individuals and churches. We confess up front our complete reliance upon the gospel as the exclusive power of God for saving sinners (Rom 1: 16). Of this we need not be ashamed.
So, since you own a copy of God’s Word, even if you had never stumbled upon this little book, you already have all you need to share your faith sufficiently. So why publish this book? We understand the perennial need for the scriptural reminder that sharing the gospel is the joyful duty of every believer.
And we want to provide some insights from leaders who have spent significant time evangelizing different groups like Mormons, Muslims, skeptics and even lost persons who might sit next to you in your church pew on Sunday mornings. Take what you can that’s helpful. Feel free to disregard the rest. And as you read, pray that God will give you a boundless passion to see the kingdom spread like wildfire from house to house and shore to shore.
Jesus once told a parable that likened the kingdom of heaven to a great wedding banquet (Matt 22: 1-14). After the original invitations were rejected, the servants went out into the main streets and invited everyone they could find to return with them to the feast. The surprised guests were welcomed at the party. Jesus also told a series of “lost stories” in Luke 15. One story is about a lost sheep. The second is about a lost coin. The third is about a lost son. All three stories end with a party and illustrate the fact that there is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.
All of these stories end with scenes of food, feasts, celebrations and parties to describe God’s response to people coming to saving faith. If we look at evangelism like dental floss, we have missed the point in a bigger way than we may care to realize. God entrusts the Christian with the divine duty – the magnificent mandate – to spread the invitation to the eternal celebration of God’s redeeming love.
May this resource encourage you to hit the streets in like manner to tell hungry beggars where they can find the bread of life. For whoever encounters Jesus in saving faith will never hunger nor thirst again (John 6: 35). Let the party begin.
The content is taken from chapter nine of the SBTS Field Guide to Evangelism available in print or as an eBook here.