What does the Bible teach about evangelism?
American practice notwithstanding, the Bible presents evangelism as a three fold process of: sharing, preaching, and bearing witness. All believers are individually charged to share the good news with family, friends, and people that they came in contact with. 1 Peter 3:15. Some believers are especially gifted and equipped to preach and teach; they are called to be the missionaries, evangelists, and resident pastors. Ephesians 4:11-14. And some believers are called to bear witness to Christ, that is to suffer even unto martyrdom. 1 Peter 4. Each is a part of what the Bible teaches as evangelism and the spreading of the gospel message.
The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8, is a “corporate” command to the church as a body to evangelize the world, rather than an “individual” charge to each believer. But each believer as a member of the Church has a part to play in the Great Commission. The focus of the Great Commission is Christ commissioning the Church, by his authority over heaven and earth, to make disciples through teaching and baptizing.
What is the part of the Slave-of-God in this Great Commission of evangelism?
Every Slave-of-God must honor Christ in their heart and always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that they have to anyone who asks, but they must do so with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15.
Some Slaves-of-God are called to be pastors, teachers and evangelists and to use their gifts to build up the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-14. These Slaves-of-God are particularly singled out to explain the gospel: to those who inquiry about the faith, to those who might otherwise be interested in the gospel message but didn’t ask, and to the unbelieving world in general, which is really not interested in the message.
Finally, some Slaves-of-God are called to withstand fiery trials and share in the sufferings of Christ, so that the glory of Christ may be revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-19.
Is sharing the gospel with family, friends, and people you meet optional?
No. And every Slave-of-God would benefit from training in how to share the gospel message. If you don’t know how to present the gospel, then you have duty to find out how and to do it.
Is sharing my testimony the same thing as witnessing?
No. While your “personal testimony” may inspire and encourage family, friends, and people you meet to accept the gospel, never confuse your personal testimony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is not about you, it is about Christ. Personal testimony is but one tool in sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What about handing out tracts, going door-to-door, and street-preaching to strangers, is this optional?
Some Slaves-of-God are called to be itinerant evangelists and to use their gifts in this way. If you are called to such a ministry, it is not optional. In addition, any Slave-of-God, although not called to such ministries, can gain experience by attempting to give the Gospel message to strangers through unsolicited witnessing or preaching and through the handing out of tracts. For those not called to such ministries, this is useful, but optional training. Again the value for most is simply the training.