Many Christians in North America have been hit by a terrible malaise; we’re afraid to share our faith. Some of us are afraid of offending people; others, of not being able to expertly answer people’s questions. Many worry about the risk of damaging friendships, or of being rejected or ridiculed. And so, although increasingly surrounded by people who don’t know the person at the heart of the Christian faith, we remain silent.
The Institute of Evangelism exists to help Christians (and their churches) let go of the fear. We believe sharing our faith doesn’t need to be coercive, mechanistic or manipulative. We exist to help cultivate communities which not only know the good news of Jesus Christ, but share it simply and elegantly.
To help in this delightful project of cultivation we’d like to share four core beliefs we have about evangelism that we think will help Christians let go of their fears:
God is already at work
God is already at work in the lives of every single person you have a chance to talk with, and will continue to be with them long after your conversation has ended. Far from evangelism being ‘all up to you’, God is calling people into relationship with himself. Your job is to watch for and lean into opportunities to join in his gracious invitation, and to pray for that person’s relationship with God to flourish.
Many are already thinking about big life questions
Although non-Christians may not know much about Christianity, many have genuine and often deep reflections on theological questions. In the context of authentic relationship they are often quite happy to discuss their ideas with someone willing to listen and engage respectfully.
Many are curious about Jesus
Many people of other faiths, or no particular faith, are quite open to learning what the earliest biographies of Jesus (and other 1st century writings) say about him. They may even bring some unique perspectives to the discussion. The fact is many people today are curious about Christ.
You can share your story
You don’t need to be a brilliant communicator or have vast quantities of Scripture memorized, and you don’t need to put all your own questions aside. You simply need to be willing to share what you’ve come to know about Jesus, what he means to you, and how it’s changed you. Basic grounding in the Christian story, plain language, honesty, and authentic engagement, are all it takes to share the faith.