Effective evangelism: love Jesus, love people, love life

I’ve been thinking about evangelism. I think three things are key to effective evangelism: loving Jesus, loving people and living life. Perhaps ‘delight’ or  ‘relish’ would be better words: relish Jesus, relish people, relish life.

In future posts I’ll look at the importance of loving people and loving life. Today loving Jesus …

Love Jesus

Enthusiasm for evangelism doesn’t begin with evangelism at all. Exhortations to evangelize just leave us feeling useless. Driven by guilt we try ‘turning’ the conversation at work round to spiritual things with horrible crunching gear changes or we knock on a few doors to little effect. And so we give up. Again. And feel guilty. Again.

Enthusiasm for evangelism begins with an enthusiasm for Jesus. My willingness to speak of Jesus arises from my delight in Jesus. People love talking about the thing they’re into. Man United. Knitting. Vintage cars. A new boyfriend. Whatever it is, they love talking about. It bubbles out of them with an infectious passion. When we’re ‘into’ Jesus an infectious passion for Jesus bubbles out of us. To get going on evangelism we need to rewind to some of our earlier principles – back to God and his glory, back to the God’s work of change in our lives, back to the welcome and grace of cross, back to future glory. We need to get excited all over again with Jesus. We need to excite one another with the gospel day by day.

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4 thoughts on “Effective evangelism: love Jesus, love people, love life

  1. Thanks Tim, looking forward to the next few posts. But i had a question, how will relishing Jesus help when we still have to steer that conversation to spiritual matters? The reason people relish everyday stuff is because they relate to Man U or boyfriends etc. But they don’t relate (naturally) to spiritual matters or Jesus. So, if i’ve gone back to excitement about gospel basics, what would it look like when i do start speaking to mates?

    thanks!

  2. Good point. I’ve been careful not to say these are ‘the’ three key things. So there’s more to say than simply loving Jesus. But I do think we can get too focused on ‘technique’ and lose the sense of naturally talking about what we’re passionate about.

  3. Good comment “Ant” — here’s a thought that might be helpful. I’m in the states but am passionate about football (soccer to us yanks) — I play it, coach it, watch it as much as I can. However very few people are passionate about soccer here in the states. A couple of weeks ago there were two ‘big’ sporting events on TV at the same time here — Duke/North Carolina basketball (think ManU-Chelsea on a college scale) and USA v Mexico soccer. The sports enthusiasts that I talked to the next day were surprised that I chose to watch the soccer match instead of the bball game. As I talked about why (passionately) they were actually curious about it because they caught a glimpse of that passion and it was intriguing to them.

    To apply that to what Tim is saying — I do think when we grow in our passion for Jesus and about Jesus — that when we have natural opportunities to speak of the one we’re passionate about, that people are intrigued even if they don’t completely relate. Stealing Tim’s (and Steve T) phrase — “living ordinary life with Gospel intentionality” — when we do that I think people feel safe to be intrigued regardless of whether they relate or not. The intrigue sometimes in my experience comes in the form of disagreement but my passion (when I have it) often at the very least opens dialogue.

    Hopefully that makes sense — I think I’m just beginning to learn this.

    Thanks Tim for the helpful post

  4. Thanks Tim, i think you’re dead right about the danger of relying on a technique (so EE for example can cripple a Churches evangelism) which can lead to lifeless “selling” of the Gospel. If the passion (and by passion i mean someone’s excitement about loving something intimately) is there, that more than anything is attractive. Do you think that even if the technique a person employs is perhaps a bit weak, passion will make up for it?

    Jason, that is really helpful. I’ve really enjoyed learning how to do evangelism communally/missionaly from the Crowded guys and others. But (as someone passionate about this), how do we get lazy Christians to see life through this communal/missional lens? i’m really struggling to convince Christians to get on board, build relationships and just BE salt and light in their various contexts. Any ideas how to encourage God’s people toward these ideals?

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