Outreach/Evangelism / Spiritual Gifts

Find Freedom to Reach Others by Being Yourself

Dr. Larry Gilbert

A presupposition is an assumption, something taken for granted; a deduction lacking direct evidence.

There are many pesky presuppositions that are “guilt–makers” and barriers to outreach and evangelism – the process of influencing others for Christ.

Let’s eliminate some of these presuppositions that prevent many Christians from reaching others with the love of Jesus Christ…

  1. Any Christian who is willing to commit himself or herself can become a dynamic witness to others, skillfully able to meet total strangers and lead them to Christ.  Truthfully, not everyone is going to develop into a door-to-door evangelist or street preacher. Only Christians with the gift of evangelism can effectively do this. However, all Christians can use their own God-given spiritual gifts in the process of evangelism and can help bring people to Christ.
  2. I need to participate in an intense, repetitive training program before I can effectively share Christ with others. You do not have to participate in a lengthy training program, memorizing dozens of Scripture passages and answers to objections to effectively reach out to others. Being secure in your relationship with Christ with a simple understanding of salvation will work.
  3. I must increase my level of spirituality before I can effectively share Christ with others. If we could measure spirituality on a scale of one to ten, where would you be? Realistically, no one would be a “10.” Regardless of where anyone would be, most people at one time or another were convinced that before they could effectively share Christ, they had to become more spiritual. I am not suggesting that spiritual growth is unnecessary or that discipleship training is optional. However, a higher level of spirituality should never be a prerequisite or barrier for sharing Christ with others. You only need to understand your relationship to the Holy Spirit of God, the nature of evangelism itself, and the use of the particular witnessing method with which you are comfortable.
  4. “Spiritual” Christians are concerned about the spiritual well-being of casual acquaintances and strangers. Most people care about those within their own sphere of influence: family, friends, neighbors, and associates. They will pray for and work harder to win familiar people to Christ than they will for strangers. Christians are more likely to invite neighbors to an meal or event where they have opportunity to hear the Gospel than they are to invite a stranger or distant acquaintance. The truth is that everyone cares more for some people than others because of established relationships which have developed over the years. People improve their potential for effective witnessing by concentrating on those with whom they regularly communicate, and these are the ones who are most receptive to them, their church, and their Savior.
  5. The longer I am a Christian, the fewer unchurched friends I will have, until finally all my friends are church-attending Christians. Many people believe they cannot do any form of evangelism because the people with whom they have relationships are already Christians. Therefore, all they have left to reach are strangers. Everyone, regardless of how long they have been a Christian, has relationships with many people who do not know Christ and do not attend a church.
  6. Sharing Christ with someone should be a “now-or-never” decision-making situation. Some Christians believe a person has not even witnessed unless he or she has presented the Gospel and pressed for a decision. Most Christians are taught to present the Gospel as if everyone is going to die tomorrow. The Bible does teach that we “do not know what will happen tomorrow” and life is “a vapor” (James 4:14), but pressing for an immediate decision often builds barriers that prevent people from accepting Christ. Even worse, it builds barriers in Christians that prevent them from even presenting the Gospel. Sharing Christ can be a process. Done at the right time, in the right place, and in right way makes a difference in successfully influencing others for Christ.
  7. Before I can share Christ with others, I must become sales-oriented and able to get a decision. Many people view evangelism as a “when I build up enough nerve” program. They feel sure they have to change and become like someone else to share Christ effectively. The truth is that you can be yourself and be effective and inoffensive in sharing Christ.

Some important questions…

  • Would you be a witness for Christ if you did not have to become someone else to do it?
  • Would you be a witness if you did not have to pressure someone into a decision for Christ?
  • Would you be a witness if you did not have to participate in an intense, prolonged training program?
  • Would you be a witness if you could just be yourself?

The goal of Team Evangelism is to become part of a team that will help you to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) through utilizing the spiritual gifts which God has given to you.

The 90 percent of the Christians who do not have the spiritual gift of Evangelism can work in harmony with the 10 percent who do have the spiritual gift of Evangelism, using the individual spiritual gifts which God has given to them to influence others for Christ.

Team Evangelism allows all Christians to be themselves, using their God-given spiritual gifts to be the person God intends to effectively reach others.

 


 

 

This article is excerpted from the book Team Evangelism: How to Influence Your Loved Ones for Christ When You Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism by Larry Gilbert. Copyright © ChurchGrowth.org

For help on teaching others about how to share their personal testimony, see Team Evangelism: Everyday Evangelism for Everyday People

Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank-you for number six, great points, I needed this article about ten years ago.

  • Larry is definitely on to something here. I have often felt that the approach that many evangelicals use in witnessing for Christ is perceived by those being witnessed to as confrontational, particularly when the evangelized is not ready to make a decision at the moment. To me this does not seem like the methods that Christ used when He met people in His walk in life. We should remember that we are told “some planted, some watered, but God gives the increase”. We are told to “go and tell” which is the witnessing part. The Holy Spirit does not always work immediately and that is what it takes for one to become saved, so in spite of our best intentions, being overbearing while witnessing can actually have a negative or opposite effect for what we hope to achieve.

  • I think your exactly right I am a evangelist and I love speaking the gospel to everyone thats my job and as long as I do that God takes care of the rest

  • Hi Cindy,
    Great article. It is like the parable of the sower. The sower’s responsibility was to sow the seed in his hand. While the various types of ground were at different stages of receptivity. We can pray for the Holy Spirit to make our message and timing right for a particular individual, but only He knows when they are ready.

    However on the flip side of this coin, we can through intercessory prayer hope to be a part of the preparing of the ground of the souls of men. So that their hearts will be ready when the time is right.

    2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB Strong’s)
    The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

  • It is true we do not need to be trained, the activation of the Holy Spirit is that all we need. Our Lord Jesus did the same when He said to some of His disciples that:” follow Me/be a fishers of men. He did not say to His disciples to go do training instead boldly go feed my people. He knew that everyone has the Holy Spirit that could make them do things in spiritual realm. Thank you for your article, God influences you more to influence many.

    Berna.

  • This is a very good and new information for me. And God bless you for these shares.

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