Evangelism means to spread the message of Jesus Christ—the Gospel, which means, Good News of Jesus Christ. Personal evangelism is sharing the Good News with friends and family.
The thought of evangelizing can make us nervous, but sharing the Gospel message with our friends and family? That causes more uneasiness.
Most of us can recall the circumstances of the day we were born again. Some of us learned about the saving grace of Jesus Christ in church. Others read about it in books, magazines or the Bible. I saw someone live out her faith so well that I wanted—no, I needed—to know where her hope and joy came from.
Many years ago I lived next door to a woman whose circumstances were not the best, but nevertheless, she radiated the joy of the Lord. We became close friends.
She often spoke to me about her faith. One day, as we sat in her living room, she shared the Gospel message with me and asked if I wanted to invite Jesus to be my Savior and Lord. Although I don’t remember her exact words or how I prayed to Jesus that day, I immediately felt an indescribable peace and joy that only comes from the Lord.
Over the years, I’ve shared the Gospel message with many people, but I have never experienced the chance to directly lead someone to Jesus Christ. This stumped me for a long time before I fully understood Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 3 (emphasis mine):
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.1
What is my point? Do not fret over when and how you can share the Gospel. Even though you may desire to walk someone through the process of asking Jesus to be their Savior and Lord, God’s plans for you might instead be to plant the seed in someone’s heart. That could be through the example of how you conduct your life or it might be through your words of encouragement to someone.
It could even be that He will use you via the internet and/or social media (Facebook friends or family, tweets, or through your blog) as a means to spread His Good News. This is how He has chosen to use me, although I didn’t see it that way for quite awhile.
God can and does use these and many other ways to fill people with a yearning to know more about Him—in other words, He provides the increase. Here is how the end of verse 7 is written in several other Bible versions:
- but only God, who makes things grow (NIV)2
- but God gave the growth (ESV)3
- but God that giveth the increase (KJV)4
It may not be easy to share the message of Jesus Christ with your family and friends, but never give up.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)1
Resources for Personal Evangelism
Sharing the Gospel online:
- NotAshamedOfTheGospel.com: 6 Great Ways to Get Your Internet Evangelism Groove On
- SearchForJesus.net (a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association): Many Are Searching for Jesus
- BillyGraham.org: Resources to Help You Share Your Faith
Sharing the Gospel in person:
- GotQuestions.org: How can I evangelize my friends and family without pushing them away?
- Carm.org: How to Witness to Friends and Family
- UnlockingTheBible.org: Five Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Family and Friends
1 New King James Version (NKJV). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
3 American Standard Version (ASV). Public Domain
4 King James Version (KJV). Public Domain