The goal of Discipleship Discipline Five is to develop the ability to articulate why you are a Christian, why others should trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and to assist in sharing the gospel in some way. The ultimate goal is for you to personally participate in sharing the gospel and to contribute to an ongoing effort to share the gospel.
Sharing the gospel will be different depending on what country you are in and what area of that country you will be available to work. In some parts of the world, people are hungry for a spiritual connection to God. In places like the United States, there are many who have already heard the gospel message and rejected it; in fact, there are many who are outright hostile to any discussion about God. How you approach your chosen mission field will need to be tailored to the audience you will encounter.
In all cases your preparation will be the same. You should start with yourself. Write out a detailed account of how you became a believer in Jesus Christ. Include what your life was like before you trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, how you came to trust Him, and what your life is like since the day of your Salvation. Analyzing your own experience will give you some insight as to how you might approach others.
Next, you will want to seek out resources of suggested ways to share the gospel with unbelievers. If possible, find someone who does this kind of work on a regular basis and join them as an observer. Learn as much as you can about all the different approaches to sharing the gospel and adopt those you feel the most comfortable with for yourself.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Miraculously, all the world is at our fingertips via the Internet. Face-to-face encounters can be intimidating for those new to evangelism; however, the various forms of social media make it possible to share the gospel across the globe with a click of the keyboard. Look around and see how others are using the Internet to spread the gospel and consider how you might join in the effort. Be careful, the Internet can be a wild and untamed place. When confronted by those whose only goal is to disrupt your efforts, the best course of action is to simply ignore them and block them from your account if possible.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (NIV)
One of the best ways to share your faith is to be a bright light that others will want to emulate. If you are constantly full of joy and sharing God’s love at every opportunity, people will naturally want to know your secret. Be ready. When asked about your bright spirit, have a ready answer that directs those interested to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many resources that provide instruction on how to share your faith. Do some research and find the method that works best for you.
“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 (NIV)
Be aware of those people in your life who are unbelievers. Make a list and keep track of your efforts to bring them closer to God. The last thing you want is to be a nuisance in their life by repeating the same approach over and over again. Write down when you ask someone to attend church with you, or when you offer a helpful book to read, or when you share your personal testimony. Allow an appropriate amount of time to pass before you follow up or expand your effort. Listen to unbelievers and respond with encouraging answers. If you don’t have answers to their questions, let them know you will seek help from a trusted advisor and get back to them. Follow through on that commitment without fail and keep the conversation going as best you can. Your best tool in this effort will be prayer. Pray for their salvation and pray for your own guidance every step of the way.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)
There are many evangelistic mission experiences available throughout the world. Many churches have an ongoing missions program that includes trips designed to spread the gospel. Find out how you can get involved and jump in with both feet. There is no greater teacher than experience. If you have a mentor assisting you on your path to discipleship, he/she will likely be able to guide you in this process. Ideally, the two of you can participate together. If you don’t have a mentor, your church pastor will certainly be able to help you get pointed in the right direction. If there is nothing that appeals to you within your immediate contacts, simply do an online search for evangelical mission opportunities. Find a mission program that works for you and do whatever is necessary to get involved.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
When you have reached a point of maturity in your evangelistic efforts, consider establishing your own mission field. You don’t have to travel around the world to share the gospel. Chances are there are many people within a mile of where you live who need to hear the gospel. There are likely those seeking to know God, who are simply unaware of the steps to take, who would greatly appreciate your guidance. Be innovative. Develop a method to reach out to unbelievers that is specifically designed to work in your mission field. Develop a method to gather together all those in your mission field who are actively seeking to know God and minister to them accordingly. Be bold. God has no limits and you are working on His behalf. Anything is possible.
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV)
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