Let’s say that you have become inspired to share the good news of salvation. Like Jesus, you are motivated to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). But you’re not sure how to start. Let me share some ideas.
Write a List. First, make a list of five people who you would like to bring to heaven with you. The rich man had a list (Luke 16:27-28), but sadly he waited until he was dead to make it!
This list will likely include a few family members or close friends, maybe even an acquaintance. Put it where you will see it weekly. This list will allow you to be more mindful of your duty. You’ll be ready to speak up the next time an opportunity arises, instead of constantly being caught on your back foot, and wondering twenty minutes later why you didn’t say something.
Pray for the List. Pray for each person weekly (Romans 10:1). Pray for God to “open a door for the word” in general (Colossians 4:2-4). Be more specific and pray for their souls individually. Christians proclaim, sinners respond, but God opens hearts (Acts 16:13-15), through softening, through circumstances, through opportunities.
Behave Yourself. It’s not enough to believe and teach the correct doctrine. We must live as Christians, as “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Sincere faith warms the soil. The fruit of the Spirit are attractive to our neighbors.
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12).
When a Christian sins, it is hypocrisy, and it does great damage to the cause of Christ (Romans 2:21-24).
Invite Them. Invite people to attend worship, especially if the church holds a visitor Sunday, or is about to start a new teen class or adult class. There’s no reason to get nervous! “God has not given us a spirit of timidity” (2 Timothy 1:7-8). You’re just asking your friends to come to see something that is important to you, like the woman who said to the people of her town, “Come see a man!” (John 4:29). If they don’t want to go, they will say no thank you, and your friendship will continue. But many people will be touched that you cared enough to invite them.
The more you invite, the more people will say yes! And when they do, text them a friendly reminder the night before. Arrive early, so that they will find the comfort of a familiar face.
Better yet, invite them to sit down and study with the preacher. Getting someone to come to worship is a good start, but the real work of sharing the gospel comes face to face.
Go Further. As you have success inviting people to come, you will certainly want to learn to explain the gospel plan of salvation all by yourself (1 Peter 3:15). While it is very important to prepare (2 Timothy 2:15) and it is very important to communicate the whole truth (James 3:1), it doesn’t require a college degree or initiation into some high society of evangelists. “By this time you ought to be teachers” (Hebrews 5:12)! Part of maturing in Christ is no longer being spoonfed elementary principles on a pew, and being able to communicate them to others.
Be a good participant in services. Study carefully at home. Familiarize yourself with the literature and tracts available. Consider mastering the use of prepared material such as The Big Picture. Chain reference your Bible; that is, when you can never remember all the important verses on baptism, jot them in the margin next to Acts 2:38, the one verse you can remember. That’s not cheating; that’s just good preparation.
Then, teach the class! The only way to learn is do. The only way to grow is to make a few mistakes. Start out by going with the regular evangelist and watching how he teaches (pairs is best anyway, Luke 10:1). Then, conduct the class while he watches. Soon, you’ll be ready to lead the class without him present. Don’t worry or be ashamed to sometimes say, “I don’t know; I’ll have to look that up.” You’ll look unready a few times, but you’ll improve each time.
Broaden the circle. Expand your list from five names to ten. While it’s good to evangelize your friends first, don’t restrict yourself to “friendship evangelism.” Paul didn’t have to play six games of tennis with every person he wanted to reach with the gospel. As you grow in courage, add acquaintances, like the guy who is always at the gym, the mail carrier who always smiles. Learn how to turn a conversation toward the gospel.
Get ready to feel awesome (John 4:32-37), as you see the seeds you planted grow, and watch people put on Christ! It is a very, very good thing for the kingdom of God when the preacher is not involved in every baptism. –John Guzzetta