Evangelism Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward 

By Andrea Johnson 

I was on my first lap around a lake trail trying to get a run in before the temperature rose any higher when I saw a woman who looked to be in her thirties coming at me, arms waving to get my attention. My first thought was that she was quite possibly a crazy person I needed to ignore, but then I surmised she could be warning me about something ahead in the path.   

I halted long enough to hear what she had to say but made every visible cue I knew of to let her know I wanted to quickly move on. Apparently the cues were not obvious enough because she took her time with her prepared question: “Do you know Jesus?”  

“Yes, I do, thank you,” I quickly replied and picked up my gait, trying to smile although admittedly, it was probably more of a grimace. 

On my second lap around the lake, I ran into her again. She clearly didn’t remember me and waved me down again, asking the same question. I repeated that yes, I did know Jesus, and thanked her for sharing.  

Unbelievably, while cooling down after my run, I was reaching into my vehicle for my water bottle when “guess who” made her way over to me for a third time. I was more than a little annoyed and let her know that she had already “hit me up” twice. Of course, as she walked away having done her “duty,” I felt guilty. After all, she was just trying to share her faith, something we all should do.  

But that’s just the thing. I didn’t feel as if she were introducing me to faith in someone as amazing as Jesus Christ. I was simply one of several people she felt she had “evangelized,” not a soul she cared about.  

“Yes, I do, thank you,” I quickly replied and picked up my gait, trying to smile although admittedly, it was probably more of a grimace. 

Jesus’ way of evangelizing was totally different. He chose to disciple people. He lived His life among people. He didn’t just preach to the crowds from a mountaintop and then abandon them. He cared about them, so much so that even when He was drop-dead exhausted, He would still minister to them as if they were His family. He couldn’t NOT minister! Whether it was Nicodemus coming to him at night after a long day or the woman at the well when He was beyond parched, He engaged them. Since Jesus is God, He was more aware of what they needed than they were, yet He listened to them verbalize their thoughts. They needed to know their feelings mattered to Him. They mattered. 

He answered their questions, sometimes with questions of His own that led to deeper insight. He healed the leper, the blind man, the lame, the demon possessed. He provided food for more than five thousand people. He calmed raging storms. He taught people how to live by His words and His actions, and He endured the monotony of everyday life. Like parents everywhere, He suffered the shortsighted, constant bickering, the incessant questions, and the all-around selfishness of those closest to Him. 

Sharing our faith is more than spouting off a memorized prescription to someone we don’t really care to know, yet it does involve speaking truth. If Jesus simply preached to people but didn’t allow them to get close to Him, would they have followed Him for long? Maybe until the next eloquent rabbi came along. If He allowed for close relationships but didn’t offer sound teaching, would His followers have been any better off than before? If Jesus did miracles but didn’t lead people to repentance, would the miracles have become life-changing testimonies or would they have been explained away and simply forgotten?  

Jesus was neither wishy-washy nor timid about His message. Only truth can set someone free. But He followed up His message with His lifestyle and by His commitment to those around Him. When Jesus returned to heaven, the apostles followed His lead.  

Now it’s our turn to share our faith, not by doing a “good deed for the day” but by “loving our neighbor” enough to get to know them. We certainly need to be available for those times when the Holy Spirit leads us to divine encounters where we may speak a message to someone we don’t know. And we may be the person watering someone else’s “plant.” But too often evangelism can become something we “accomplish.” Discipleship is a process; it’s allowing the Holy Spirit to care for others using our bodies and our hearts. We are commanded to disciple others (Matthew 28:19).  

If we are filled with God’s Spirit, we WILL share our faith (Acts 1:8). Awkward? It can be. But not if we allow the Holy Spirit to act through us. God cares about the people we meet. If we permit His Spirit to fill us, so will we.

About the Author

Andrea Johnson, a credentialed Open Bible minister, is the managing editor of the Message of the Open Bible. A graduate of Open Bible College with a major in theology/missions, she has edited and co-edited several books, including Servants of the Spirit: Portraits of Pentecostal Pioneers, We Believe: Core Truths for Christian Living, and We Believe for Kids! Her goal is to reveal Christ to those who are searching for Him. In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea enjoying time with family and friends or hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children, three of whom are married, and eight grandchildren.

Message of the Open Bible © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.