The phrase “keep your eye on the ball” is very important when you’re out there evangelizing (Ephesians 4:14).
People will take out their cameras, give you the middle finger, shout at you, honk at you, cheer you on, thank you, tell you to go away, walk away from you, get the local authority on you (for doing nothing wrong), and so much more. It reminds me of the list of what the Apostle Paul went through (2 Corinthians 11:24-27), only what we go through these days is so much less than what he went through.
During all that–and through all that–it’s important to remember why you’re out there in the first place.
It’s not to receive applause.
It’s not to jump into debates and win arguments all day either.
It’s to win souls with what Christ did for us (Romans 5:8) (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). His finished work is what we’re to proclaim all day long as his ambassadors, soldiers and workmen. What happens to us is not the issue, nor why we’re supposed to be out there.
There are days when we go out to evangelize, and nobody takes a gospel tract. Nobody.
Our response? We’re there tomorrow.
Other days, we go through stacks and stacks of gospel tracts to the point where we can’t keep up with passing them out.
Our response to that? The same.
We’re there tomorrow, treating both situations equally the same.
Operate in spite of the circumstances, not due to them.
What matters most is Christ and Him Crucified, and making sure people hear about what our Lord did for us. We’re just the messengers and we’re thankful to be just that in a present evil world (Galatians 1:4).
Jon Cooper lives in Belle Isle Florida with his family, evangelizes in the Orlando/Central Florida area as well as many other locations, and is the author/creator of https://www.soulsinthebalance.com
As you look, I see you searching for that one thing that can fulfill you.
You look at clothes and try to find the perfect item.
You find it; it looks great. You buy it.
Two months from now, it’s just another shirt or pair of shoes in your closet.
I see you looking, climbing that corporate ladder because when you reach vice president you think you will fulfill your dream.
After 10 years of hard work and sacrifice you finally made it.
Then one year later, you feel unfulfilled and want to be president of your own company.
I see you looking, thinking that winning the lottery will fulfill you.
But the $10,000 you just spent left you wanting more.
I see you looking thinking that a great steak or Chicago-style pizza, or backyard barbecue will satisfy, but hours after you’re full, you’re hungry again.
It’s like the Rolling Stones said: I can’t get no satisfaction.
I see you looking as you walk by our stand. In your head, you are saying I don’t need that. It’s just like I once thought, “That’s for the weak, the stupid, the gullible, because there is no God.”
I see you looking!
Now you are here looking to drink, eat, chill or find that perfect somebody.
Can’t you see these things don’t satisfy forever?
God put eternity in your heart. The hole you’re trying to fill cannot be filled with things or people. You have been on the treadmill of life chasing a carrot just out of reach, thinking—if you got it—you would be satisfied.
It’s a lie.
It is what you are rejecting is the only thing that can fulfill your soul. Nothing is eternal but God. Only He can fill us. It is God who must become a part of your life.
I hope you see now or you will keep searching and, when you die, you will be without Him.
You are like a son or daughter who was adopted at birth and felt things were not right. Then the knowledge comes that you were adopted and your birth parents were out there, so now you are searching.
But God didn’t abandon you.
He made you and loves you and desires that you come home to Him. It was our sin that separated us from God. You were born into it and by choice of your sin you were kept from our loving Father God. So the Father sent His son, Jesus, to bring us back together. He sent Him to take away the barrier between us and Him; our sin.
Since we all have lied, that makes us a liar.
Since we have stolen, regardless of size, that makes us a thief.
Since we have had sex or looked with lust outside of marriage, we are adulterers of heart and body.
Even if we have done just one thing wrong that separates you from God.
Jesus came to live a perfect life; a life without sin. Then Jesus died for all the sins that we committed. He was placed on a cross to be crucified and after three days He rose from the grave.
So for you and I to be complete, we must believe He died for us. Be willing to turn from sin. Believe that He rose from the grave. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. You will be forgiven. You will receive eternal life and be restored into an eternal relationship with GOD, your Father.
It all starts with a prayer like this from your heart:
“Jesus, I am a sinner. I cannot save myself. I turn from my sin and believe that you died for me on the cross to take away my sins. I believe that, after three days, you rose from the dead. I believe you are my Savior and my Lord. I now follow you and give you the rest of my days. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
If you have prayed that from your heart and have confessed Jesus as your Lord, your sins are forgiven and you have been adopted into the family of God. You are complete in Christ and have been made a new person.
You are now a son or daughter of God.
Now to understand what God has done for you and the relationship He has with you, please read your Bible and pray to Him. Go to a Bible-believing church to fellowship with other believers. Go out and tell others about Him, as we have you.
Your looking is over. You have found eternal life in Jesus.
If you’ve been in the Church for more than a week, you’ve likely run across the term “evangelism”. While the word evangelism has been around since the 1100’s, secular marketing and other industries have been busy expanding its definition over the past 50 years. These days, there are evangelists for pretty much everything. We have
Platform evangelists (has nothing to do with shoes)
There are even “chief evangelist officers”. No kidding.
Well today, Church, we’re stealing evangelism back.
Can I Get a Witness?
At its very basest definition, evangelism is sharing good news.
For we Christians, this means sharing thee Good News.
You thought you were going to get a Wikipedia definition, didn’t you?
Well, honestly, you almost did.
But truth doesn’t need to be as dusty as an encyclopedia entry. The Gospel is simple, so let’s keep ourselves simple. Jesus came to set us free. Though He continues to intercede on our behalf to the Father (and on the Father’s behalf to us,) the work of the Cross has been completed. That redemptive, restorative power has been made available to us if we yield to it.
It’s in that yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives—in not loving our own lives (agendas, calendars, possessions, ambitions, relationships and yes, even our physical lives) over Him—that allows for the transformation. From this intimate place, evangelism is born. It’s not something we have to force. As we see in the Apostles and many others since, the Good News can become so large in us it becomes something we can’t contain.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
WWW Love (Web Witnessing With Love)
Now let’s talk about the digital part. There are three means by which evangelism flows, whether offline or on.
The expression of our lives testifies to Holy Spirit indwelling—not just through our conscious effort—but through Kingdom identity and the spiritual buoyancy right identity brings, even in the face of crisis. Our right living (or supernatural conversion to right living) witnesses to family, friends and coworkers around us. Through identity evangelism, observers watch from a distance and are drawn (or repelled) by the Father’s growing light within us. While too passive to really be called a “method,” this form of evangelism is more about being the Father’s expression of love (2 Corinthians 3) than actively proclaiming the Word (though that may be present).
Eyes Wide Open
Especially in cases where the heart-shift of regeneration is quick and dramatic, those witnessing the transformation may feel uncomfortable, confused and repulsed. (Remember, Jesus did not come to bring harmony, but a sword, Matthew 10:34.) Still, we are being recast in His image and He is love. As conflict arises (and it certainly will), old ways may try to resurface (anger, pride, willfulness, etc.) If you don’t see it in Jesus, you’re not to see it in yourself. When an expression of the old flesh presents itself, don’t lose your identity to self-condemnation; press into Him more (prayer, fasting, worship) and grace will meet you there.
Digital Expression (Organic Sharing)
What does identity evangelism look like in the digital world? Well, what do your social media posts look like? What does your personal blog speak to? If people have no idea you’re a Christian, you may look too much like the world. I’ve actually seen church leaders promote violent action and horror movies on their social media channels. As in, they were excited to go and support some dark, demonic thriller with their time, money and attention and then disconnected enough from the concepts of holiness and righteousness to promote that fallen movie to their social network.
“If people have no idea you’re a Christian, you may look too much like the world.”
Are you sold enough on the Gospel to share encouraging Bible quotes with your social media followers? Do you share Bible lessons, praise music or spiritual insights currently feeding you? Do you share your church and volunteer activities online? Or are you a closeted, weekend warrior for God? We are called to be salt. We are called to be light to a darkened world. What good does it do if a person lights a candle and places the candle under a basket? (Luke 11:33)
If identity evangelism is passive evangelism, intentional evangelism is active outreach. Traditionally, intentional evangelism uses signs, tracts and personal testimonies through conversation. This form of evangelism tends to be more interruptive. Breaking into a person’s trance as they pass you on the sidewalk may or may not be welcomed.
Digital Expression (Paid Promotion)
If the digital expression for identity evangelism is simply sharing your reasons for the hope inside you (along with pictures of your children and the evening’s dinner), digitized intentional evangelism is actively promoting those posts. This means paying to promote the Gospel message (or content that leads to the Gospel message) across television, radio, email and Internet marketing channels (blogs, social media, email, forums). That messaging may take the form of shareable graphics, instructional videos, podcast interviews, blog articles and other brilliant, Life-giving content.
Simply sharing your love for God in comments or images on your channels is the first step, as seen in identity evangelism. However, on some social media channels, as little as 7-13% of your followers see your posts. (Open rates for email blasts can be even lower.) This means very few of your channel subscribers are seeing your content. Most channels allow you to boost your content (for a fee, of course). Just as you would buy tracts, print flyers or take your time to street evangelize, here you simply put dollars behind Kingdom messages you produce or discover.
Platform evangelism is preaching the Gospel message from the platform you’re given, whether from the pulpit at church, the office boardroom, on the playing field or in the classroom; wherever your influence lies. Essentially, you are leveraging your authority or position in a given setting to influence thinking and culture. You have the observer’s captive attention. Now deliver the message with love, respect and wisdom.
Digital Expression (Influencer Marketing)
Yes, platform evangelism is similar to intentional evangelism in its digital expression, however there are a couple distinct differences.
First, platform evangelism leverages your social currency (your influence) or that of another, while in intentional evangelism, your audience may not even know you.
Second, platform evangelism may or may not be paid by you. An itinerant preacher who gives a powerful message while visiting a church may be recorded and promoted by that church years after their actual visit. (No pressure!)
Where and When to Evangelize
If you have concluded it’s possible to operate in different stages of evangelism at the same time, you are right. These forms of evangelism overlap considerably in places.
Well? Which form of evangelism do you think is the greatest? Is platform evangelism best, where you have the potential to reach millions? Or maybe it’s the more intimate path of intentional evangelism?
I feel the greatest of these is identity evangelism. Surprised? Without first becoming love, we’re taught we become “a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13). Even if you were the last person on earth, your identity in Him would still be the most important thing to press into.
The Christian walk is one of transformation. It is a walk of spiritual restoration, not by our hands or efforts, but of His. He is the Master Potter; we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). When we charge ahead of Him and His plan for us, we risk doing damage to ourselves and others. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about evangelists who—being short on character—make very public mistakes, only to lose their position and their flock’s respect. We are refined by Him and made ready for more and more responsibility, in His time.
Final Thought: How Not to Evangelize
Is everyone going to be an evangelist? Well, no. And there is a danger in that, unfortunately. Not only is there that whole “spew you out of my mouth” message to the lukewarm church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22), but we are also counseled by Jesus that “whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
Is every Christian called to evangelism though? Yes. This is the Great Commission, after all. Jesus told us to go forth to all nations. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Luke 9:2) Indeed, He modeled this His entire itinerant ministry.
As mentioned earlier, you may be relieved (or slightly convicted) to hear that evangelism is actually a natural by-product of Christ within you. That means you’re not biting your lip, trying to evangelize. You’re not putting a checkmark in your proclamation box.
In fact, it may be more elegant to say we don’t evangelize (verb) as much as we become evangelists (transformation). Your evangelism will be a result of your over-the-bar heart position for the Gospel to the extent it lives in you. If you’re yielding to the Holy Spirit, dying to the Cross daily, the ensuing love affair that takes you over simply bears good fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes:
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NKJV)
So there we have it. We become living epistles. It all begins with identity evangelism, the fruit of His artistry in us.
Now go spread the news about the joy you have found.
Wilson, Ross. November 26, 2012. How to Build Brand Evangelists with 3 Winning Examples. Ignite Social Media. Retrieved from https://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-strategy/how-to-build-brand-evangelists-with-3-winning-examples/.
Hearing the word “apologetics,” many immediately think of our modern understanding of what it means to apologize for something as an expression of regret. This could be understandably confusing since we are talking about Christian apologetics, potentially implying that we regret being Christians. However, to do apologetics ironically means quite the opposite of “apologizing” for something.
The word comes from the Greek prefix “apo-”, which indicates a separation or a deflection of something, and the word “logos”, which is unsurprisingly where we get our term “logic.” So, the Greek word apologia paints a picture of something that is being deflected by way of logic. The most common definition of the word apologetics is “a reasoned defense.” (Think Jude 3.)
Side note: Imagine how the conversation would go next time you needed to apologize to someone, and you offered “a reasoned defense” of your actions.
There are apologists everywhere. Every political position, sports fan base, and brand loyalty has its apologists. Every religion has apologists who defend their faith as the one true religion. Even the nonreligious have apologists who defend the secular mindset that all religions are ultimately wrong.
When it comes to us Christians, however, we take the role of the apologist to an entirely different level. Christianity is not simply supposed to have apologists; as we shall see, every Christian is supposed to be an apologist. For Christians, apologetics is not something we simply leave to “the experts.” It is something that is very much a part of what it means to be a Christian.
The most famous usage of the word in the New Testament comes from the Apostle Peter. In 1 Peter 3:15 he gives both a directive and a definition of apologetics. There Peter states:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
The phrase translated into English as “give an answer” is actually one word in Greek. You guessed it: apologia. The command is clear. We are always to be ready with an answer, always ready to do apologetics.
Among a few qualities of what a good answer may look like, Peter zeros in on the main subject—“the hope that is in you.” Christian apologetics is a focused discipline with a singular goal, namely to bring people to the gospel. Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world and preach the gospel; Peter reminds us to be ready with an answer when they have questions about it.
The Need for Apologetics
As much as the world has changed since the first century, the Great Commission has not. All Christians have been tasked with preaching the gospel. The only alternative to evangelism, as they say, is disobedience.
Apologetics has always played a pivotal role in our evangelism. Christian apologist James Patrick Holding observed, “What we call ‘apologetics’ was, in fact, what the apostolic church would have called ‘evangelism.’” He goes on to explain, “Early missionary preaching testified to the historical realities upon which the Christian faith was grounded and called for repentance on those grounds.”
Indeed, if you were to review the evangelism of the apostles, personal and public, there is very little reliance on personal experience or emotional appeal. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:22-25), for example, Peter gave a textbook example of what he describes in his epistle. He appealed to Jesus’ miracles, culminating in his resurrection, and his fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. On the basis of the historical reality of what Jesus had done, Peter calls his audience to repent and believe.
In our post-Christian secular age, the presence of apologetics in our evangelism is as important as it ever has been. Our culture is moving ever further away from a time when people had the same general understanding of God, the Bible, and religion. However, the popular consensus has changed in virtually every category. To talk to someone about the gospel today is a vastly different endeavor than it was years ago. Apologetics professor Travis Dickinson notes,
“More and more, apologetics does the work equivalent to what Bible translators do for an unreached people group. The Bible translator must get the content of the Gospel into the vernacular of the people for an individual to even grasp this content. Could the Holy Spirit miraculously allow the tribesman to understand the Gospel in a foreign language? Absolutely. However, it typically takes the hard work of translation. Likewise, God can bring conviction if He wants, but it often takes the hard work of engaging in apologetic discussion for someone to be able to grasp the content of the Gospel.”
In our evangelism, we declare what the gospel is, and what people ought to do about it. Yet, increasingly people ask why. Why should someone believe in any God, much less the one described in the Bible? Why should someone believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh and that he rose from the dead? If God loves us so much, why do so many bad things happen to us? If God went to such great lengths to save us, why did he put us in a situation in which we need saving? These are precisely the questions Peter was talking about.
“I’ve heard plenty of Christians try to answer the why question by going back to the what. “You have to believe because Jesus is the Son of God.” But that’s answering the why with more what. Increasingly we live in a time when you can’t avoid the why question. Just giving the what (for example, a vivid gospel presentation) worked in the days when the cultural institutions created an environment in which Christianity just felt true or at least honorable. But in a post-Christendom society, in the marketplace of ideas, you have to explain why this is true, or people will just dismiss it.”
If the only alternative to evangelism is disobedience, which I believe it is, then the only alternative to apologetics is ineffectiveness.
The Point of Apologetics
While apologetics is vital to evangelism, it is also substantively different. There are two major objectives in apologetics that contrast from evangelism.
The first major objective is to provide reasons to believe. While evangelism declares what to believe, apologetics gives people a reason to do so. For example, many people are unaware of the abundance of manuscript evidence that demonstrates the reliability of the New Testament as a historical document. So, as astounding as much of the New Testament narrative is, we can give people reasons to believe what it says.
The second major objective is to remove reasons to doubt. While evangelism warns of the consequences of not believing, apologetics demonstrates that there are no good reasons not to believe. For example, many people have a problem with believing in the miraculous features of Christian belief because they supposedly conflict with modern scientific understanding. Yet, many Christian apologists have demonstrated that there is no real conflict between science and faith.
This is illustrated by one of my favorite metaphors for the relationship between apologetics and evangelism. Apologist Matt Slick gives the illustration of “what apologetics really is.” As he tells it, the gospel is like a garden in the middle of a field. That garden has one gate, which is Jesus. One path takes you right up to the gate. That path is evangelism, leading people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, for many people the journey to the garden is difficult. There are many paths that appear to head toward the garden but eventually veer off into some other direction. There are massive rocks and heavy brush obstructing the way. Then, in steps the apologist, pointing people back to the right path and clearing any obstacles ahead. The apologist may not be the gardener, and he is definitely not the gate. In fact, he needs the path, the gate, and the garden every bit as much as the people he helps. Nevertheless, he helps as many as he can along the way.
It is important to note the differences between apologetics and evangelism, or else we run the risk of treating apologetics as an end in itself. Even still, noting the differences helps us focus on the primary purpose of apologetics. It is easy to get bogged down and sidetracked by neverending debates and peripheral issues. But, doing so renders our apologetics fruitless.
Here’s the thing…
Apologetics is the process of getting people to the gospel as soon as possible.
It may be more than that, but it should never be less.
Travis Satterfield is a family man, teacher, and blogger. Here’s the thing… is a blend of his personal story of doubt and faith, his professional experience of teaching the Bible, and his passionate insight into theology, apologetics, and culture. Subscribe to receive email updates, follow on Twitter (@h_t_t_blog), and join the conversation on Facebook (@httblog).
Christian blogs. One of the most powerful weapons in the Christian arsenal for expanding the Kingdom on earth is the printed word. Whether you’re looking to write for a Christian blog just to share ideas or simply praying for a great backlink and a little exposure for your own Christian blog, guest posting should become a regular practice.
To help you with that effort, here are the guest post submission guidelines for over 70 Christian blogs. (No kidding.)
Did we miss you? Submit the form at the bottom of this post and–if it fits–we’ll add your blog to the list.
Blogs help you quickly and easily publish compelling content about you and your services out to the world. Blogs help to connect your business to potential customers. But how do your readers know when you’ve published a new blog post?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) helps you connect your customers to your blog. The problem is, not many people know what RSS is or even how to use it. Your audience wants to connect with you, but they’re not sure how. The fact you likely don’t know how to help them connect with you makes the challenge even greater, right?! Well, blog owners, there’s an answer to this.
Aweber has made it easy to connect your blog to your newsletter (your electronic newsletter, that is). Now you can turn your blog into an email newsletter. Simply plug in your blog’s RSS feed (for WordPress sites, this is usually something like yourdomainname.com/feed/) and choose one of Aweber’s colorful templates. When you publish a new post, Aweber places your brilliant content into the email template and fires it off to your subscribers.
You can even schedule your newsletters to go out on a particular day and time in the form of a weekly digest that delivers all of your latest posts! As your subscribers click through to your posts, you’ll see an increase in readers and comments. Plus, even more readers will discover your blog as your subscribers forward your emails to them.
Over the years, Aweber has been continually recognized for a high-quality email marketing experience:
PC Magazine 2016, Business Choice Award – Best Email Marketing Software
2016 Gold Stevie® for Best Service Industry – Contact Center of the Year
2015 NCSA All Stars Service Team of the Year – First Runner Up
Interested? If you’re tech-savvy, you can go straight to Aweber and proceed in setting up your account. If you’re a little unsure how to proceed–or if you get stuck–simply contact us and we can walk you through the next steps.