Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Kirk Cameron & Ray Comfort's helpful book, Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith: Evangelism Made Easy, (Regal Books).
Jesus has called everyone who follows Him to take the Gospel message to the world. Yet recent studies show that only two percent of evangelical Christians actually evangelize. What stops the vast majority of Christians from sharing their faith with others? Fear.
You may be afraid of tension, ridicule, or feeling foolish when people debate you. But none of that matters nearly as much as the souls at stake. Every day, about 150,000 people die. Those who leave this earth without saving relationships with Jesus are doomed to hell. Refusing to share your faith with people before it's too late for them is like sitting outside a burning building without trying to rescue the people inside.
So overcome your fear so you can answer Jesus' call to share your faith. Here's how:
Don't back away from the Cross. It's painful to talk about Jesus' crucifixion on the Cross because it means talking about people's sin, God's anger, and the reality of hell. But it's a much more loving choice to talk about people about it than to avoid the subject and let them be deceived about their need for a Savior. Some discomfort now - while they still have time to respond - is far better than letting them go into an eternity of torment without reaching out to them.
Remember who will help you. God Himself has promised to help you share your faith with others. You can count on His Holy Spirit to empower you every time you evangelize if you pray about it. So rather than listening to fear telling you that you can't share your faith, listen to faith saying that you can - because God will help you. All you need to do to be successful in evangelism is simply to be faithful to share your faith and then leave the results up to God.
Pray. Prepare for sharing your faith by praying. Confess your sins so nothing will interfere with God listening and responding to your prayers. Pray for God to give you the compassion you need to care about lost people's souls and to do something to help them. Ask God to give you wisdom for each conversation you have with people about faith, and ask Him to motivate other people to join you in evangelistic efforts when they can. Surrender your own will to God's will so you'll be free to serve however God wants you to serve.
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Be willing to share with everyone. Talk with every person you meet about spiritual matters - not just certain types of people - when an opportunity arises. Don't discriminate against ardent atheists, angry hecklers, or anyone else who appears unlikely to respond well to the Gospel's message. You can't predict how anyone will respond, and even if a particular person doesn't begin a relationship with Jesus right then, you can plant important seeds of faith in his or her heart that will grow over time.
Use the Ten Commandments to show people why they need a Savior. The Ten Commandments can act like a mirror that reflects truth back to people about their need for a Savior. Whenever you encounter an opportunity to talk with people about spiritual matters, start by asking them what they think happens after death. Then explain what you believe: that people face God when they die, and He deals with them according to His standard - the law mentioned in the Bible, the Ten Commandments. Mention the various Ten Commandments and ask people whether they've ever broken any of them. This will show them that, although they may consider themselves good people who deserve to go to heaven, they can't possibly meet God's perfect standard on their own. All it takes is one lie, lustful thought, or other sin to fall short of perfection.
Listen carefully to the thoughts and feelings that people express to you so you can show them how the Gospel's message relates well to their lives. Describe judgment day; the reality of hell; the glory of the Cross and what Jesus' death, burial and Resurrection means to them; and their need to repent of sin and have faith in Jesus alone to save them from eternal judgment. Help people understand that all other religions are simply systems that people use to try to get right with God, but only Christianity offers a real way to connect with God - through God reaching out to people and bridging the gap between them through Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross. Urge people to transfer their faith in themselves and their works into faith in Jesus Christ so God will forgive their sins and give them everlasting life.
Trust God with the results. Remember that your part of evangelism is simply to be faithful to share your faith with others and pray for them. God's part is to draw people to Himself and save them. So trust God to bring about good results from your efforts, even when you don't notice any change happening in some people's lives right away. If you have ongoing relationships with some of the people you've evangelized, you can encourage them to grow in areas such as: being aware of sin, pursuing a healthy relationship with God, expressing concern for the unsaved, hungering for God's Word, passionately living for God's will, praying regularly, loving other Christians, praising God, loving Jesus, and preaching the Cross. But always rest assured that God is at work in the lives of everyone with whom you share your faith.
Adapted from Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith: Evangelism Made Easy, copyright by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.
Kirk Cameron is a television and film actor best known for his Golden Globe®-nominated work on the TV series Growing Pains and for his role as journalist Buck Williams in the Left Behind feature films and, most recently, Fireproof. Kirk, author of the bestselling autobiography Still Growing, produces and co-hosts The Way of the Master TV series, winner of the National Religious Broadcasters Best Program of the Year award, and produces and appears regularly on The Way of the Master radio show (www.wayofthemaster.com). He is married to Growing Pains and Left Behind co-star Chelsea Noble, with whom he has six children, and they live in Southern California. Together they run Camp Firefly (www.campfirefly.com), a retreat for seriously ill children and their families.
Ray Comfort is cohost of the award-winning television show The Way of the Master with actor Kirk Cameron and the president of Living Waters Ministries. He has written for Billy Graham's Decision magazine and Bill Bright's Worldwide Challenge, and his literature is used by the Moody Bible Institute, Leighton Ford Ministries, Campus Crusade For Christ, Institute in Basic Life Principles and the Institute for Scientific and Biblical Research. He has written more than 60 books and is a regular speaker at Southern Baptist state conferences. Ray has spoken in more than 800 churches from almost every denomination. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Southern California, and they have three grown children.