I’ve read other books by evangelists who try to teach me how to be a better evangelist. And I do aim to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5). But, frankly, I don’t have the gift of evangelism. Even after serving as a pastor for more than 25 years, honestly, on a scale of 1-10, my verbal witnessing skills are about a 3.
John Dickson, in his new book, The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission, takes the pressure off us non-evangelistic type Christians. While many evangelists are prone to project their giftedness upon others, they just make most of us feel more guilty and inadequate.
I listen to what the expert evangelists say and how they say it. I model their techniques. I follow their patterns. I use their scripts. But I just can’t make it work for me. It’s not smooth, nor is it effective. I keep searching for the right combination to unlock spiritual results.
Dickson, however, underscores how evangelism takes place in its many forms – by nudging people closer to Christ – being a friend of sinners, praying for their needs, giving our money, doing good deeds in the name of Christ, living a light-shining Christian life, declaring God’s praise in community, and, yes, when appropriate, adding our words.
• Through your prayers, you demonstrate God’s power.
• Through your giving, you release God’s blessing.
• Through your lifestyle, you display God’s beauty.
• Through your actions, you show God’s love.
• Through your worship, you declare God’s nature.
• Through your words, you tell others God’s truth.
These dynamic multifaceted means produce a synergistic witness for expressing Christ to others. Use all, Dickson says, with intentionality.
So maybe after hearing his message, I don’t have to be so hard on my own “evangelist” rating. I still may not be a 10, but from God’s perspective my ways for witness are broader than I might think and probably more effective than I credit myself.