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Evangelism: The Forgotten Piece of the Puzzle


When you hear the word “evangelism,” what are the first words that come to your mind? Perhaps you think of words like pushy, Bible thumper, zealot, money-hungry, manipulative, argumentative, or irrational. If you are like me, I forget the positive words about evangelism—words like faithful, obedient, bold, courageous, faith-filled, and spirit-led. Evangelism means to tell the Good News of the message of Jesus. It is the “words” side of the gospel.

Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

When you hear the word missions, what are images that come to your mind? My thoughts immediately go to images of feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless, and showing love in tangible ways. We usually equate missions as the “works” side of the gospel. If we define missions in this way—as the works—I think Christians, as a whole, have this down pretty well.

If we just share just the words of the gospel, and do away with works, the gospel message comes across as cold and uncaring. If we just share the works of the gospel, without the words, the gospel message is lost because good people do good things all time. However, when words and works come together, this gives great power to the gospel message.

In my experience, the words side of the gospel message is where followers of Jesus struggle the most. When I research people who are consistently winning people to Jesus, all of them have a plan to share their faith. In my own life, having a plan has taken away some of the fear in faith-sharing because I know what I am going to say about the gospel before I even say it. I have mastered a faith-sharing plan, and it has helped me immensely when I tell others about Jesus. I look at learning a plan to share one’s faith as an act of worship to God because I believe our Father in heaven loves it when we learn how to share with others about His love for them.

What would happen if we shared with people we serve with our works the reason why we are ministering to them in the first place, the words?

For example, if someone were to ask why you are doing some selfless act, you can explain, “Because God loves me, and I want people to experience God’s love for themselves.” This is what I tell people. Then I follow that quickly with a question like: “Has anyone ever shared with you what it means to be a follower of Jesus? May I share that with you?”

Ask permission to share your faith. Don’t cram the gospel message down people’s throats. Remember, it is not our job to save people. Jesus saves. We are simply called to be His messengers. Don’t seek to “save people.” Share with them the works and words of the gospel message, and leave the results up to God.

Dr. Dean Osuch is the director of partner development for The Mission Society.