Personal Evangelism Day 7: Strategies to Build Confidence: Part 2
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11)
Love. The entire Word of God revolves around this one word. If we are going to tell people about the love of God, we must first love them ourselves. Let’s take a look at two more strategies of personal evangelism to help you build confidence in telling others about Christ.
See People Through God’s Eyes
When you meet someone for the first time, what goes through your mind? How many labels do you place on that person? We usually notice what they’re wearing, how they talk, if they look rich or poor, if they’re good-looking, etc. Then we make snap judgments about them.
God doesn’t see people that way. He simply sees a soul that needs to be saved. He doesn’t care about a person’s wealth, skin color, nationality or anything else. He sees each one of us as His lost creation that He wants to redeem. The most famous verse in the Bible begins with “God so loved the WORLD…” There is no distinction made by God. He loves each and every one of us and He showed it by giving us His Son. Just look at the people Jesus interacted with in the Bible. So many of those He spent one-on-one time with were outcasts of society (tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers). Even though they had little value in the world’s eyes, they had great value in the eyes of God.
This is the example we need to follow. If we truly want to do the work of an evangelist, if we truly believe hell is real, then we must look past all the labels and see people as God does: as a soul that is perishing. We should be thankful God looked at us as sinners on whom He wanted to lavish love and grace.
One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to build relationships in everything we do. Spreading the gospel is no exception. We are dealing with people; no matter who they are or how much time we have with them, we must learn to celebrate them. So, what do I mean by that?
First, take an interest in them; ask questions about their lives, hobbies and family, and really LISTEN when they are talking. Show them you care. Far too often, when we enter conversations we have an agenda; we have things we are determined to say. That sends the message that we are only concerned about ourselves. We must shift the focus from ourselves to them by asking questions and by listening.
Second, compliment them. Picture this with me. You are out for dinner. At some point, you look at the waitress and say, “Hey I just want to let you know that you are really good at your job. We appreciate the service you’ve given us tonight. We’ve had a really enjoyable evening and it’s mostly because of you. Thank you.” What do you think her reaction will be? Now it’s time to pay the bill. As you leave, you look at her and say, “Thanks again for a wonderful evening. I’m leaving you this little story about how I came to know Jesus as my Savior. If you have the time, I hope you will read it. It’s a story about how my life was changed forever. Have a great night!” What are the odds that the waitress will read what you left her, after the compliment you gave her? You showed her you cared about her. So maybe at the end of her long shift, she will think about what you said. She will pull out that story and, out of curiosity, read it. That’s all we can ask. We faithfully presented the gospel to someone we just met in passing. Now we leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
Third, we should seek to serve the people around us. This is where we can shine as Christians. The world is full of self-centered people. Nothing shows people we care like serving them and seeking to meet their needs. Time and time again Jesus took care of the physical needs of a person before addressing their spiritual ones. When people see the unselfish, caring nature of the people of God, the foundation is laid for us to present the gospel and for them to be open to receiving it. Never underestimate the power of showing love and how God can use it.
At some point in the relationship, you are going to have to cross the “pain line” and take the risk to move the conversation to spiritual matters. Here are a few examples of some easy questions to ask:
- Would you like to go to church with me this Sunday?
- Have you ever thought about what happens to us when we die?
- Do you believe in God?
- Have you ever thought about how this whole world began?
You won’t always be comfortable asking questions like these. You might be thinking, But what if they respond poorly, or don’t want to talk about it? Well, then go back to celebrating them! Repeat the process: ask questions, listen to them, compliment them, serve them, and at some point, cross the “pain line” again.
I want to leave you with these final thoughts of encouragement. The more we practice, the better we will get. No one turns into an incredible evangelist overnight; it takes work. Be willing to fully surrender to God and let Him use you in this important work. We can’t make excuses, and we shouldn’t sell ourselves short. We each have a responsibility to tell people we encounter about the love of God. It’s a privilege, and if we faithfully present His Word, He will take care of the rest.