The call of Matthew 28 to “go and make disciples” rings down through the centuries, spurring the church to share the gospel. Anyone who has read through Acts has felt the conviction of realizing that every Christian is entrusted with sharing the truth of Jesus.

Yet evangelism is difficult. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable. We might fear how people respond to us. We may worry that we will look foolish if we don’t have all the answers, or that we will say something confusing or offensive.

Despite the difficulty, sharing our faith with others doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle. In fact, we can even be excited about sharing our faith with others. It all begins with cultivating the right attitude. A right understanding and practice of sharing the gospel is a crucial part of our sanctification.

I was raised in a Christian home and came to faith at young age. As a child, I was regularly exposed to teachings about evangelism, and had moments where I inexpertly attempted to share my faith. But by the time I entered college, I had grown disillusioned. I believed that every person was a sinner in need of saving by Christ alone. Yet I had also become deeply uncomfortable with all but the mildest forms of evangelism. Years of listening to American culture lash out against awkward or inappropriately coercive Christians had dissuaded me from my former zeal. I came to a place where I would only share the gospel in my closest friendships or if I was asked about my faith directly. Otherwise, I would be “respectful” by keeping it to myself.

In college I found Cru, a campus ministry known for their incredibly direct evangelism style. “Initiative evangelism,” which means walking up to strangers with the explicit purpose of sharing the gospel, is taught and practiced regularly. I joined the group but stayed far away from these activities, fearing we were scaring people away from Christ. However, as I encountered Scripture and the kind persuasion of other believers, my heart did a complete one-eighty. Here are some key passages and principles that altered my perspective:

Romans 5:6-8: Christ Came to Us

I re-discovered this famous passage which clearly states that, in our sinful state, man is “powerless.” By definition, we have no power to reach out to God; instead, God took the initiative to come to us. He did not wait for me to discover Him or move towards Him for my own salvation. In the same way, unbelievers around me are dead and powerless. I cannot wait for them to move towards Christ. As an ambassador of Christ, I must move towards them and take the initiative to share the gospel. This passage taught me that I could no longer allow silence to be my default.

Matthew 28:18-20: Evangelism is Not Optional

The Great Commission is arguably the most famous passage on outreach. It is striking in its directness. The imperative is undeniably clear: Christ Himself commands all of us to actively share our faith. I realized that I was no exception. I had given Christ authority over my whole life, and that meant I must obey this command, just as I sought to obey commands like, “do not steal” and “love your neighbor.”

Acts 8:4-13: God is Preparing Hearts

The story of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch shows us that God prepares the hearts of those whom He is calling to Himself.  In Acts 8, we read that Phillip is led by God’s spirit to encounter a man who is not from Israel yet is reading the Old Testament out loud on the road. Moreover, the passage he is reading is a direct Messianic prophecy! These are not coincidences. They are evidence that God was working in his heart before Phillip arrived on the scene. God used Phillip as a critical actor in the process of saving the Ethiopian man.

This revelation took pressure off me. It was not my job to figure out the perfect situation and the perfect words to present the gospel to the right person. Rather, it was my job to obey Scripture by sharing my faith and trust the Holy Spirit with the results. God would lead me to whomever He wanted, and He would work in that person’s life however He wished.

Psalm 96: Evangelism is a Matter of Worship

Psalm 96 is all about worshiping the Lord. It is also one of many places in the Bible that commands God’s people to tell of His works among the nations. The purpose of man is to bring God glory, in part through our worshipful delight. When I talk about Christ’s atoning death and resurrection, my affections are stirred up towards Christ. Regardless of the other person’s response, the act of declaring God’s truth in this world brings Him honor. And when I bring God honor, I am fulfilling my purpose as a human. This was exciting to me, and it freed me from needing a particular response from others. Whether they accepted Christ or not, I knew I was honoring God by praising Him.

Romans 3:1-23: People are Lost

Perhaps this point feels too obvious. But it should be a central motivating factor for evangelism. Christianity is not just one of many good options. Without faith in Jesus Christ, every person you know will die and be condemned to eternal hell. As a college student, I began to walk around campus in a state of contemplation, looking at each person I passed. I realized that most of them were headed towards destruction, and my heart broke. I no longer cared if they were offended by my faith. They were dying of spiritual cancer, and to not share the cure would be the greatest act of hatred I could perform.

Evangelism and the Christian Life

As I meditated on these and other Scripture passages, the Holy Spirit transformed my heart. I went from being a student who stayed far away from evangelism activities, to one who was teaching others how to share their faith. I’ve been out of school for a long time now, and the Lord has continued to highlight the necessity of evangelism in every life situation. One of the marks of a growing Christian life is a desire to share Christ with others, and regular, active attempts to do so. May these Scriptures speak life to your own heart, and may Christ be made known in your life as a result!

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Jane Story

Jane is on staff with Cru and has served both in the US and abroad. In addition to writing she enjoys history, podcasts, board games, and all kinds of sports and recreation.