Recently I had the privilege to have lunch with a missionary couple and hear what God had been doing in their life and later that night as they presented their stories to a local group of believers. As I was listening and taking notes, I picked up some key principles of evangelism and missionary work that every believer and church needs to learn or be reminded of. I pass these twelve nuggets on to you for your encouragement.
Learn to tell the stories of the Bible.
Most people love stories, no matter the language or culture.
Know those to whom you are called.
Missionaries are normally called to a people group. They learn the group’s language, customs, foods, habits, what’s appropriate and not appropriate between men and women, music, history and other cultural subjects that help them know the people better. In the same way, we need to try to understand our neighbors, friends, and co-workers better in order to relate to them at a higher level and to connect to them, all for the purpose of sharing the gospel.
Use everyday objects to create a conversation about the gospel.
Like Jesus and the woman at the well, the missionaries used a container of water to explain the living water Jesus offers. Anytime you can use a visual aid to help communicate the gospel, do it.
People need to know you are a Christian.
You shouldn’t be obnoxious about it, but people need to know you are a follower of Jesus. This can range from how your house is decorated to being seen reading the Bible. Don’t hide your relationship with Jesus. Just as a husband should communicate he is married, the believer should communicate that he/she is a child of God.
Before they listen to you, people need to know you care.
Find ways to bless people. Remember their birthdays or help them in a time of crisis. Be there.
Most of the people in your life are not believers.
Most of the people you work with, go to school with, or live in your neighborhood are not followers of Jesus. In my county, research shows that 70% of the residents are not connected to any faith or a local church. That is 7 out of 10! The harvest is ripe. Be aware of and alert to the lostness around you.
Learn how to do evangelism well.
Talking about spiritual matters can be difficult for many believers. Become a master at relational evangelism. Weave your faith into the conversation early into the relationship. Let others know you are a believer and ask them where they are on their spiritual journey.
God is faithful.
God will open doors for you to share Jesus with others. He is also faithful to provide encouragement, wisdom, and boldness when you need it. Remember, God is more dedicated and passionate about others hearing the gospel than you are. When you start talking to others about the gospel, God “shows” up.
Present the gospel in love.
It is truth, but needs to be packaged in compassion. Be humble, gentle, and sensitive when telling others about Jesus. It’s good news!
Pray for the lost.
Intercede for those you are wanting to see Christ save. Put them on your prayer list. Pray for them regularly. Be persistent.
Missionaries are able to do what they do and where they do it because of the financial giving of people like you and me. Support missionaries and missionary organizations through your local church. If your church is not connected to a missionary organization I would highly recommend the International Mission Board. They train, organize, and deploy about 5000 missionaries around the world.
Go on a mission trip.
Seriously. Go on a mission trip to another country. See God work in cultures and environments completely different from yours. Most people, after returning from a mission trip, see God as a bigger God than before they left and return with a new passion and commitment to reaching the lost in their own town.