TWO STEPS TO EVANGELISM: SHARE THEN DECLARE
When you think of Las Vegas, I’m sure your senses run wild. We conjure up images of the flickering lights of the Las Vegas Strip, unlimited crab legs at an over-the-top buffet, a scowling man in sunglasses pushing a bunch of multi-colored chips across green felt, or sad people flying home looking broke and beatdown. Las Vegas has developed a bad-boy reputation on an international scale. After all, it’s notoriously labeled as “Sin City.”
When I think of this glitzy city in the middle of the desert, I don’t think of bright lights or buffets. I think of its advertising. Sin City became synonymous with its popular catch-phrase: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” This slogan was so successful because people desperately wanted it to be true. They wanted to live a disjointed life where they were free to be someone else for a weekend. They didn’t want their personal lives affected by their foolishness in Vegas. People deeply desired the ability to leave their experience and consequences behind them when they left the city.
If we aren’t cautious, we can adopt this slogan ourselves. What happens on our phone stays on our phone. What happens at my friend’s house stays at my friend’s house. What happens over summer break stays in summer break. And, sadly, what happens at church stays at church. Sometimes we can even divide our social circles up into different categories. We have soccer friends, work friends, Snapchat friends, and church friends. We act differently around the different categories. Each group brings out a different side of you, which makes your life start to feel scattered, and this will ultimately make you feel like you’re living multiple roles like an actor in a local production of your life.
This is not what God wants for you. He doesn’t want you to feel fragmented. He wants you to be whole. Your experience and relationship with God should inundate every part of your life. Don’t leave God in the rear-view when you drive off the church property. Don’t reserve Him for your next youth retreat. Don’t live a compartmentalized life; rather, live a life fully consumed by Christ.
READ: John 4:39-41
“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe.”
The Apostle John recounts a powerful story of a Samaritan woman getting water in the middle of the desert. She was dragging her bucket through the sand around noon, so she was sweating as the sweltering sun hit her back. It was probably well over 100 degrees. This was incredibly dangerous and foolish. Why was she out there at that time? She didn’t want to be seen. She wanted a segmented life because she had a painful past full of mistakes and missteps. Jesus looked past her past, pointing her to the future she could have with Jesus. Right there by the well, she experienced Jesus, and her life was radically changed forever.
What did she do when she went to her home? Did she continue to compartmentalize her life? Did she shrug it off and keep it to herself? No, she told everyone she knew about her interaction. The woman at the well was so overjoyed that she left her jug of water behind. She probably told numerous people she didn’t even know. She was so fired up by her experience with Jesus that she shared it with everyone who’d listen. As a result, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him” (John 4:39). What happened at the well didn’t stay at the well.
Salvation is worth sharing. You don’t have to be a scholar. You don’t have to be a pastor. You don’t have to know all the answers. You just need to share. It’s a simple conversation with supernatural ramifications. People are quick to exchange excuses here. They say things like “Someone else will do it,” “What if they reject me,” or “I don’t know enough.” It’s pivotal to push past the excuses. Just step up and share. When you choose to share your faith with someone, you can change their life forever.
So how do you share your faith? A good place to start is to share and declare.
Simply put, you are going to heaven because someone cared enough about you to share faith with you. Who have you cared about enough to tell them about Jesus? When you share, it shows that you care. You don’t need to dive into a complex argument about theology. Just share what Jesus did for you. It’s that simple: share your story. Tell them how Jesus changed your life. Tell them about how God made you more patient. Tell them about how you are no longer scared of death. Always start with your story. It’s easy to challenge theological concepts, but it’s near impossible to challenge someone’s story. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It just needs to be honest. Point to Jesus. Celebrate what He did for you. Ultimately, your story will bring God glory.
After sharing how Jesus changed you, it’s time to give tell them how to experience the same change. The gospel is contagious and powerful. When you start to declare, God’s power will flow through you (Acts 1:8). When you declare God’s truth, God moves. One helpful tool I learned while serving in missions was the “A-B-C” method of evangelism. Encourage them to ADMIT that they’ve fallen short (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). Encourage them to BELIEVE in Jesus (John 6:40). Lastly, pray with them, encouraging them to CONFESS their trust in Jesus (Romans 10:9).
We can share a dozen lists, tips, and tricks about sharing your faith. However, the ultimate hurdle is just starting the conversation. Push past the awkwardness. Tell your friends about Jesus. Refuse to segment your life. Let Jesus be known everywhere you go. Share salvation. Share it with whoever you know and everywhere you go. When you do, God will move through you.
TALK IT OUT
Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.
Q1: Why do you think people act differently around different people? What does this say about their beliefs?
Q2: The Samaritan woman at the well was making things harder on herself in an effort to avoid people and compartmentalize her life. How might we make things harder on ourselves when we too try to hide certain parts of our lives from people?
Q3: How does experiencing Jesus in a deeper and more personal way help people feel whole and overcome this type of fragmented living?
Q4: Has your faith in God ever helped you to grow, learn something new, or overcome a challenging situation? (If you can share a story like this, you are sharing your faith with your circle!)
Q5: What’s the best advice you could give to your friends in your circle when it comes to sharing your faith?