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Help! I Don’t Like Evangelizing

By Koa Sinag

Help! I Don’t Like Evangelizing

This article is part of the Help! series.

You’re Not Alone

You have probably clicked on this article because you find evangelism hard, daunting, or awkward. You’ve felt the cold shiver down your spine when the e-word has been mentioned in church. You’ve sipped the strange cocktail of love for the lost and an honest desire to speak about Jesus mixed with clumsy attempts at witness, guilt, and shame. Why do others seem to feel so much more natural at evangelism than you? You’re probably planning to delete your browser history when you’ve finished reading this.

But you need to know that you’re not alone in feeling that way.

Admitting the Problem

Christians the world over have the same struggle as you—and for a whole variety of reasons. We worry what other people might think of us if we start “Bible-thumping.” Fear of failure keeps us from sharing the gospel in the shadow of rejection or indifference. We don’t feel well equipped. We aren’t confident enough in the power of the gospel.

In the face of all that, many of us naturally reach for practical fixes: “Top Four Tools for Evangelism,” courses with slick videos, diagrams or tracts that keep us on track with the content, and so on. The trouble is that we’re looking for a silver bullet to solve a problem that goes much deeper than techniques and presentation. But is the issue really as surface-level as our lack of ability as evangelists or our need for better resources?

The Heart of the Issue

If we dig a little deeper, we may discover that the issue has deeper roots. If we are entirely honest, when we think about evangelism we often feel something close to resentment towards God. The sense of duty, the occasional guilt trips from over-zealous Christian leaders, and the secret embarrassment at our inability are all too easily projected back onto him. Why does he make us do this hard work anyway? Wasn’t the gospel a promise of grace and not of works? Why has Jesus ascended to heaven and left us with this difficult and demanding job to do before he returns?

When we can honestly acknowledge that the problem is at this deeper level—in our view of God—we are on the right track to changing everything.

As much as we can likely all be better at the how of evangelism, it’s most likely our hearts that need the most work: warming them again with a view of God as he really is.

We must correct our distorted pictures of God. And the only way, as always, is with a fresh look at Jesus Christ.

If God seems to us a demanding taskmaster, we will never be his eager ambassadors in the world. If we feel ourselves conned into having to perform evangelism, we will never warm to the calling he has set before us. Unless we honestly find God to be beautiful and enjoyable, we’ll have nothing worth saying to the people around us.1

A Great Heart

So how can grudging would-be evangelists warm their hearts and so recharge their spiritual batteries? We must correct our distorted pictures of God. And the only way, as always, is with a fresh look at Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Father’s revelation of himself. He is the radiance of God’s glory (Heb. 1:3), the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), and the Father’s perfect Word (John 1:14). Nothing and nobody can better show us the truth of God than the baby in the manger, the compassionate healer, the suffering servant, the friend of sinners, the crucified and risen Lord. In his life—the most beautiful life ever lived—Jesus reveals a God who is fundamentally loving, kind, outshining, and self-giving. He wants to be known by us, to be with us, even possessed by us, so that we will call him our God (Jer. 31:33).

Far from demanding from us, or burdening us with evangelism for his own good at our expense, Jesus shows us a God who delights to give, to overflow, and to share his life. As Charles Spurgeon said, “When I think of God I am led to see his glory in the outgoing of his great heart; for he is altogether unselfish and unsparingly communicative.”2

Those who can enjoy the sunshine of this loving and generous God are the happiest Christians and the happiest evangelists. The light and warmth of Jesus melt away our hard and frosty misapprehensions of God. And knowing how greatly he has loved us, we begin to love him in return. Seeing in Jesus what our God is really like causes us to shine out like he does. That is what Christian mission is most fundamentally about.

The Mouth Speaks!

If, in your attempts at evangelism, you’ve imagined that God needs your efforts, you’ve imagined an empty and needy god. And any god that only takes from his followers invites empty-hearted service. Knowing Jesus and allowing him to show us the truth about God means we have a totally different God to share with those around us.

The God we know—or think we know—is the God we will show to the world.

Real, fruitful, healthy evangelism must begin with our delighting ourselves in God. Our hearts must be filled with the glory of God in Christ. His beauty awakens joy in us and fertilizes our proclamation of him. As William Tyndale once put it, the gospel of Jesus is “good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance and leap for joy.”3 In other words, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”! (Luke 6:45).


“It is Christ who shows us God as he truly is: full, rich, and delightful. Those who satisfy themselves in Christ will be the best missionaries; and the best missionaries will be those most deeply delighted in his love for them.”4

You are not alone in your struggles in evangelism. You are not alone in imagining the worst about God. The good news is that there is no secret to learn, no techniques to perfect, and—truly!—no shame in confessing the one thing you need: a bigger, better, clearer sight of Jesus Christ to warm your heart and open your mouth.

Notes:

  1. Michael Reeves and Daniel Hames, God Shines Forth (Crossway, 2022), 20–21.
  2. C. H. Spurgeon, “The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ” (September 7, 1879), in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 25 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1879), 510.
  3. William Tyndale, A Pathway into the Holy Scripture, in The Works of the English Reformers: William Tyndale and John Frith, ed. Thomas Russell, vol. 2 (London: Palmer, 1831), 490.
  4. Reeves and Hames, God Shines Forth, 142.

Daniel Hames is coauthor with Michael Reeves of God Shines Forth: How the Nature of God Shapes and Drives the Mission of the Church.



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