If the word “evangelism” has ever sent a shiver down your spine, I have some encouragement for you: the apostle Paul sometimes battled fear as well. Why else would he ask for prayer to proclaim the gospel boldly as he did in Ephesians 6:19–20? In fact, the NIV even translates this request as proclaiming the gospel fearlessly.
And certainly Paul had reason for fear. His ministry rap sheet included imprisonments, beatings, a stoning, and seemingly constant danger (see 2 Corinthians 11:23–27). He knew the temptation to shrink back when he had an opportunity to share the gospel, so he asked other believers for prayer.
Many Christians find themselves fearful when thinking of sharing the gospel. After all, society seems more angry and divided by the day. But our lost and broken world needs to hear the good news of Jesus (1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15).
Thankfully, the Bible is filled with encouragement to help us trust God as we proclaim the precious truths about His Son and what He has done for our broken world. Here are seven encouragements.
1. God saves people, not you.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
Your lack of eloquence or skill in presenting the gospel will not stop God’s plans to save. Pastor J.T. English’s conversion story illustrates this. While biting into a Big Mac at McDonalds, English’s friend read a gospel tract nervously without emotion. But God cut to English’s heart, converting him. Proclaim the gospel faithfully and leave the results to God.
2. God can supply boldness when needed.
After Peter and John were threatened by religious leaders for preaching about Jesus, they prayed with the church, “Lord…grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29). Instead of shrinking back, the disciples doubled down and asked for divine strength in their proclamation.
“And when they had prayed,” Luke records, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). When we lack boldness to proclaim Christ, we can ask God to supply our lack by the power of His Holy Spirit.
3. People rejected Jesus, too.
Success in evangelism is measured in our obedience, not the outcome. Consider the story of the Jesus and the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-30). The young man approached Jesus, interested in hearing about how to get to heaven. You would think that any encounter with Jesus would have been a sure-fire conversion. Nope. After Jesus led him through the law (which shows us our sin and need for the Savior) and told him the cost of discipleship, the young man went away sorrowful. If you’ve ever been rejected after sharing the gospel, you’re in good company.
4. When we are rejected, we are promised heavenly rewards.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
If you think about it, every possible outcome of witnessing of Jesus to others is a win. If the person comes to Christ, that’s an obvious win! If they listen (even without interest), you plant seeds that God could grow in the future. Another win. If they reject you, you get heavenly rewards (see Matthew 5:11–12 above), which is definitely a win!
Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from sharing the good news of Christ. You can’t lose.
5. The Holy Spirit will give you words.
Every Christian needs to be ready to share a reason for the hope within them. That presupposes some ability to share what they believe and why. That doesn’t mean we will have all of the answers—nobody has all of the answers!
When Jesus talked to His followers about defending themselves before rulers and authorities, He commanded, “do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11–12).
If God can speak through donkeys like He did in Numbers 22:28, human beings should be no problem for Him!
6. Our job is to plant seeds or water the soil. God takes care of the growth.
Just like a gardener cannot force seeds to grow merely by his will, evangelists cannot force people to respond to the gospel. God is the One who gives new life. We should take advantages of the opportunities we are given to plant gospel seeds and to water existing seeds, trusting the growth to God (1 Corinthians 3:7).
7. God will be with you.
After He gave the Great Commission to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20). Going out on your own can be a frightening thing, but that is never the experience of the Christian. Christ promises to always be with us as we go and proclaim His gospel.
News Worth Sharing
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Are you going to be a laborer, someone willing to take a step of faith and love to share the message of the gospel?
Strengthen your grasp of the gospel so you can share it with others by taking the free course Grasp the Gospel by Dr. Scott Lothery. Learn more about our practical training program called Open the Bible Courses.