by Anthony Vargas

I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I had just left work, and as I pulled into my apartment complex, I noticed some teenagers playing basketball. I decided this would be a great way to get to know my neighbors, so I parked my car and went over to play with this group of kids. After a few games, it was time to go home; yet as I was leaving, I felt compelled and convicted to talk to them about Jesus. I then turned around and asked, “What are y’all’s spiritual beliefs?” One question led to another and, before I knew it, one of the teenagers was reaching to hold my hand praying to receive Christ.

This story points to the idea of evangelism. Now you may be wondering, “What exactly is evangelism?” In this article, that question will be answered along with why evangelism should be practiced and how to prepare yourself.

Let’s begin by answering, “What is evangelism?” Matt Queen, a professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, defines evangelism as a “Spirit-empowered activity in which believers share the gospel; inviting and calling unbelievers to become disciples of Christ by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Jesus Christ alone.” After studying different definitions and meanings of the word evangelism over the past, my own definition sums up evangelism as this: Sharing the Gospel. The Gospel can be broken down to the words “Good News.” Throughout the New Testament, we come across this idea of sharing the Gospel – witnessing, soul-winning, and evangelizing. So we know this idea is biblical, but does it apply to us? The answer to that question, as you’ll discover reading more, is yes!

As you might already know, Jesus lived a perfect life on this earth, teaching, preaching, and healing people until He was crucified on the Cross, buried in a tomb, and resurrected from the grave three days later. After defeating death and defying the odds, He appeared to the disciples and said these important words in Mark 16:15–20,

Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation…. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

This passage of Scripture is powerful. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He delivered one last message to His disciples: a command to evangelize. This is the biggest answer when it comes to why Christians should share their faith with other people: because Jesus commanded every disciple to do it. Jesus gives a duty and a delegation to carry out the message of His being alive today. That is the message of the Good News – Jesus died for our sins, conquered death through His Resurrection, and allows anyone to believe while repenting of their sins to receive forgiveness and redemption from God. We should be actively sharing the Gospel because great things happen when we do – lost people become found, the blind see, and people’s lives are changed as they are saved from an eternity separated from God.

For a believer in Christ, this is our purpose and mission on this earth. Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., states, “This is what every follower of Jesus should be engaged in on a regular basis: sharing their faith, leading others to Christ, discipling them, and helping them to get grounded in the church and then going out and doing it all again.” The reality is everyone, every day, should be an evangelist. Unfortunately, statistics describe the opposite. LifeWay Christian Resources writer Aaron Earls reports that 45 percent of churchgoers say they have shared how to become a Christian with someone within the past six months. What could it be that is causing paralysis to so many Christians sharing the greatest news that has ever existed? It’s simple, and it starts with knowing how to evangelize.

Sharing the Gospel starts with knowing what the Gospel truly is. The Gospel can be broken up into three parts: the bad news, the good news, and the best news. God created this world and even created us. At first, everything God created was good. Later, Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and brought sin into this world. The Bible teaches that we are like Adam and Eve in that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Due to our sin, we deserve the consequence of death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). This is all bad news. The good news is that God knew this and sent His one and only Son to die for us while becoming the propitiation of our sins (1 John 2:2). Finally, the best news is that anyone who believes in this Good News can be saved, for the Bible teaches that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).

Sharing the Gospel continues with preparation and practice. Preparation is praying to God for opportunities as the harvest is plentiful (Matthew 9:37–38). Practice could be having conversations with other believers, walking them through an evangelism method of your choice until you become familiar with it. A popular evangelism method is 3 Circles, which I’ve personally had success with. While taking multiple groups out to practice 3 Circles, I’ve discovered that the best way to open up any conversation with a stranger is simply by asking, “How are you?” The question is simple, yet invites any individual to respond, and you have the privilege of sharing some good news with them. Few may listen and many might reject, but it is all worthwhile when one responds in faith. Practice sharing with groups of friends, and you will grow in confidence when sharing your faith. Just know that we are always ready to share the Gospel because we have the Spirit of the Living God residing within us.

Begin having Gospel conversations with people you encounter in your daily life. Maybe it’s people in your circles or at work, but whatever the case may be, share the Gospel. There are tons of books and resources when it comes to obeying the Great Commission. I can only imagine what it will look like when Christians start becoming serious about evangelism, and move the percentage above from 45 to 100 percent.

Anthony Vargas is Minister to Junior High Students at the North Campus of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Prosper, Texas.