Getting Over Your Fear of of 'Evangelism'
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me." Acts 20:22
When you hear the word “evangelism”, what do you think? Are you super excited, or do you want to go and hide under a duvet? The thought of telling someone about our faith in Jesus can be terrifying. What if people laugh at me? What if they get angry with me? What if they think I’m weak?
These are all very real worries and they affect us all. The author of Acts does not deny the cost of being a witness, and knows he is facing “prison and hardships” for doing so. But although it can be difficult, it will be worth it. University draws us together from all across the country and the world, bringing with us our different ideologies, values and experiences. It’s a place where we come to learn, not just about the subject we’ve chosen, but about the big wide world we are about to enter. It’s a place where we are finally free to really think for ourselves. And this makes university the perfect opportunity for gospel witness.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:23-24
The Bible tells us that sharing our faith is a vital part of being a child of God. In fact, according to this passage in Acts, it should be our primary focus in life. Why?
The news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died in our place so that we could come into a personal relationship with him, is the most wonderful news in the world. Choosing to follow Jesus is choosing between an eternity spent with God or an eternity without him. The implications have eternal significance. But how exactly do we go about doing this?
1. Be open about your faith.
If we have accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives, then we are walking adverts for him. We need to be receptive to questions our friends may have, and ready to explain how Jesus has made a difference in us. One of the best ways we can introduce our friends to the gospel is by inviting them along to an event aimed specifically at people who are questioning Christianity. These sorts of events are often put on by churches, or by university Christian Unions who aim to share the good news of Jesus to students. They are usually set in a casual, welcoming environment, often accompanied by free food, and will involve a short talk or testimony. Afterwards, just ask your friend what they thought of the talk, and if they have any questions. You don’t need to have all the answers or outstanding Bible knowledge, you just need to be able to listen to their opinions and be prepared to challenge their thoughts with patience and love.
2. Love one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
When we can’t think of anything to say, we can still love. As Christians, we are called to love radically, unconditionally, without judgement. We are called to love each other because God first loved us. And this love is very, very conspicuous. It is by this love that others will see there is something different about us; something worth finding out about.
3. Remember God’s promise
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
So often, we hear this command and forget the promise. God has not told us what to do and then left us floundering on our own. He has promised that he will be with us, every step of the way, through the Holy Spirit living inside us. I have often found myself in conversations about my faith where I realise I have no idea how I’m saying what I’m saying. That’s because it’s not really me speaking, but God speaking through me. So pray that God will speak through you, give you the words to say, and use you for his glory.
Remember that God loves evangelism more than we do. He is the good shepherd who finds his lost sheep and carries it back to the flock. He is the loving father who runs to his disloyal son and welcomes him back with arms wide open. He is the beaten man who hangs on a cross so that all people might receive an eternity with the living God. He wants this more than you do. Trust that he will use you.
So let’s love our friends, be open about our faith and trust that God will provide for us when we don’t know what to say. But let’s also remember that ultimately, saving people is not our job, it’s God’s. We are called to bring them to a place where they are able to meet God for themselves. He is the one who changes hearts, and we have the privilege of being instruments in this glorious work.
Rebecca is a third year geography student at the University of Birmingham. Ever since Freshers’ week, she has loved getting involved with the Christian Union, which aims to share the gospel on campus. She also loves to dance, eat anything chocolate-related and has a slight obsession with cats.