Thursday, October 16, 2008
This past week, I completed a series of revival meetings at a little church in Washington, NC. On Friday night, I preached on How to Share Jesus Whether You are Gifted or Not. I challenged the people to get out and share the gospel with someone in their circle of influence. I also gave them an opportunity to go out and try street evangelism on Saturday.
To my delight, 4 people from the church joined me and two others - whom I had previously trained - to share the gospel. At the end of the hour, we gathered for a debriefing.
Everyone had a great experience, in fact, we saw 2 salvation commitments. I asked the question to the newcomers, "Was it as hard as you thought it would be?" They replied, "No, in fact we were well received."
Their surprise betrayed an underlying sense of fear that nearly all Christians have when it comes to witnessing. It's scary stuff! Forget the fall festivals and hallelujah houses for Halloween; put some tracts in the hands of church members and shove them out the front door of the church! That will terrify them. (Of course, I'm kidding.)
I feel that sense of fear every time I hit the streets. It is real and it certainly does not come from God. (See 2 Timothy 1:7) I have learned to pray through and plow through the fear and keep on going.
In Ephesians 6:19, Paul asks the church to, "Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news." (CEV)
WHAT? PAUL NEEDED TO PRAY FOR BOLDNESS?
He sure did. So did Peter, John and the other Apostles in Acts 4:29. They prayed "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness." (ESV)
In their case, the stakes were high. Proclaiming the gospel meant they were risking punishment or death. In our case, it means that we might lose a friend, lose a job or get called names. I don't think the cost compares, do you?
The best way to overcome fear is to pray for boldness, just as the early church did. Through the Holy Spirit, God will answer your prayer and give you the words you need and the boldness you desire. After that, just get out there and give it a try. The more you practice evangelism, the more comfortable you will be with evangelism. - Darrel
Posted by Darrel Davis at 9:45 AM