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Tired of Not Evangelizing But Too Afraid to Change?

Tired of Not Evangelizing But Too Afraid to Change?
 
Do you struggle with evangelism? Have you made a commitment to be a better personal evangelist this year? Perhaps you made this commitment as you engaged in fasting and prayer with Pursuit 21. Below is an excerpt from an encouraging post I recently read.

Not Alone

The day before the fast began, I got on my face before the Lord in prayer, led by the Spirit to ask God what goals He wanted me to set for the year. Ouch! He led me to set a goal of witnessing to others more.

“Oh, but you’re in ministry,” you say. “You already evangelize.”

Yes, but personal evangelism involves sharing my faith in person…with strangers, one-on-one. Perhaps sharing with someone beside me in the check-out counter at the grocery store…or with someone sitting beside me on the airplane.

Fear of man, fear of my own incompetence, or simply hating to hold up the grocery store line or interrupt someone else’s day (still, fear of man) get to me most of the time. All these fears are massive lies of the enemy.

If you feel convicted about your lack of personal evangelism and you want to do better, take heart, you and I aren’t alone!

Only Once in About 30 Days

Thabiti Anyabwile, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands, recently wrote about his own commitment to be a better personal evangelist:

“I began this year with a desire to be a better personal evangelist. By God’s grace, I’ve preached the gospel each Sunday I’ve been in the pulpit. But I don’t want my evangelism to be limited to the pulpit; I want to do the work of an evangelist as well. More, not less, proclamation is needed.

So, what’s happening with that desire? Well, I think I’m learning (again!) two vital lessons.

First, desiring something ain’t the same thing as doing something. Not by a long shot. And while I know that sounds like a rather obvious thing to say, in my case it needs saying. Desire has to be translated into specific plans and actions. I’m looking up nearly 30 days after expressing that desire and only once have I personally shared the gospel with someone. Aaaargh!!!

Second, I’m learning again that faithful evangelism requires putting to death the fear of man. Will I ever stop having that halting tightness in my chest? Will those hesitation-inducing thoughts of rejection and offense ever fade away? You know, probably not. I’m likely to always feel some hesitation and some fear of man when it comes to evangelism. But what am I going to do? Not share the greatest news the world has ever received? No. I’m going to remember Romans 1:16, Philemon 6, and Hebrews 10:38-39, and other such texts which encourage, admonish, promise, and guide.

By God’s grace, that’s what happened yesterday on the flight from Memphis….

Security was easy at the Memphis airport. I dutifully boarded with the other sleepy passengers, quickly put my bag in the overhead compartment and took my seat. A few moments later a young woman asked to take her seat next to me. She carried a large bag (suitcase for the shoulder), a breakfast container and drink, and her iPad with ear phones dangling. I began reading my morning’s devotional on my iPad, secretly hoping I wouldn’t have a conversation but enough peace and quiet to read. Also heard the soft “good morning” of fear of man.

Before long I heard the announcement to turn off all electronic equipment. Still not sure why electronic gadgets cause so much trouble for pilots, I complied. Turned on the overhead light to read my book. But the yellow tint in the dark cabin was useless even when she graciously tried to turn her light in my direction as well. Nothing left to do, we began to talk. Two minutes into the conversation I knew this was an opportunity, but I wasn’t making a commitment. Maybe she was already a Christian? Maybe she would be like so many other passengers who complete the pleasantries and prefer sleep? Maybe the sun would come up or the cabin lights brighten and we’d silently expect the other to turn to their electronics? So many maybes.

But none of those things happened. Instead, she began to talk.

(Read the whole post here.)

Question: How does this encourage you to share your faith with others, knowing that even a pastor steeped in training feels your same fears? Will you now be more confident in God’s enabling? (Hint: Read the whole article and see how well this story ends.)

 

 


 

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