“…tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” – Mark 5:19
I’m not an evangelist.
Sorry admission, perhaps, from one serving as an associate pastor at a church but it is nevertheless true. Don’t hear me saying I never evangelize! There are many times I share the Gospel especially in the context of biblical counseling. But I am not gifted as an evangelist per se.
This, I think, can be said of many people in the church. While we know we all bear some responsibility to the Great Commission (see Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15), for some of us, walking the streets and accosting a couple dining “al fresco” at their favorite Italian restaurant with the Four Spiritual Laws and a hearty “Did you know that God has a wonderful plan for your life?” can be an unwelcome thought.
Perhaps it is so, because there is no context at that moment for the message. It can feel decidedly awkward. Not all evangelism has to be this way.
If you are a Christian, you are in possession of something which can give The Story a welcome context…
Your own story.
Your own testimony is the one thing which you can share within the context of sharing The Story which, I think, helps alleviate some of the reluctance to speak, or fumbling for exactly what to say, etc.
Consider with me Mark 5:1-20.
You will recognize this as the story of Jesus encountering the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons in the country of the Gadarenes. You’ll recall that this man had been possessed for quite some time and had many times been chained by members of the community and would end up breaking the chains. Needless to say, he was in a bad place in his life!
Jesus encounters him and immediately the demons within him recognize Jesus. They implore Him to cast them into into the herd of pigs which were feeding nearby. As He does so, the herd of pigs rushes headlong into the sea and perishes.
While the people who were feeding the pigs and the townspeople were a bit freaked out over these events, it is what takes place between the formerly possessed man and Jesus that is the most telling:
“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” (Mark 5:19-20)
Like this Gadarene man, we all have a story. We have been changed by Jesus Christ. And better than a memorized or “canned” system for sharing the Gospel, your story has the one thing which these other “methods” need to give them power – personal experience and testimony. Maybe you came to Christ as someone shared the Four Spiritual Laws or Steps to Peace With God with you. Wonderful! But, it was your life and how God orchestrated the context of your coming to Him in faith that gives the message its power.
Friends, all of us who have been born again have a story. While we may not be adept at apologetics or theology or discussing all the different nuances of the faith or answering every question someone may ask, still, we can all say, “Look what has happened to me! Look what God has done in my life!”
So, go. Don’t be afraid. Tell what great things God has done for you and how He has had compassion on you. Your story can guide you through the awkwardness at times of telling others about Jesus. It is, in my opinion, the purest, most natural form of evangelism. It is the one story that you don’t have to memorize, that you can tell with authority and conviction, and that you can’t mess up. And it makes the perfect context within which to tell The Story. Because, if you have been changed by Jesus Christ, in the end…
…your story is His story.