What Is An Evangelist? How To Share The Gospel In 5 Steps

What Is An Evangelist? How To Share The Gospel In 5 Steps - T E Hanna | Of Dust & Kings
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What is an evangelist?

The heart of God yearns for reconciliation with His children. In the garden, where shame and nakedness first broke our relationship with the Father, He responded by seeking us out and then clothing His naked children, even before the exile. When His people cried out in bondage to Pharaoh, He responded by leading them through a parted sea and into the promised land. His voice reverberates throughout Scripture with the singular cry of His heart: “They shall be my people, and I shall be their God” (Ex 6:7, Lev 26:12, Jer 7:23, Jer 24:7, Ezekiel 37:27, Zech 13:9, Heb 8:10). Thus it is that we who have encountered His love and been forever changed are now tasked with participating in God’s transforming work in the lives of others. Ultimately, this is what evangelism is about. For us who are changed, this is what it means to be an evangelist.

Having said that, it is important to recognize some key theological underpinnings. For starters, the process of the heart being wooed into the loving embrace of the Father is principally a work of the Holy Spirit, not of some superb rhetorical skill we may think we possess. This is incredibly important, because evangelism is often presented to us as a system, and learning how to share the gospel is either made overtly passive (such as leaving tracts in the laundromat) or obnoxiously in-your-face.

Asking “what is an evangelist” is really asking “what is God doing, and how do I participate?” This awareness completely changes our role. Rather than trying to manipulate someone into the kingdom, or coerce them through subtle discourse, our purpose in learning how to share the gospel is to discover where God is already at work and to join Him in that. With that in mind, here are five tips for becoming a better evangelist and learning how to share the gospel as an expression of love in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

How To Share The Gospel

1. Pray

This should be the most obvious, but it is also the most overlooked. If the gentle wooing of the heart to Christ is a work done by the Spirit of God, then prayer becomes an integral means of cooperation on our part. So what should we pray for? Pray first for the person, that God lets the radiance of His love permeate their being. Pray also for yourself, that God open your eyes to see where He is at work, and open your heart to love deeply and genuinely. What is an evangelist? An evangelist is one that seeks after the work of God.

2. Love Genuinely

Perhaps the most important aspect of this is that we are not loving someone so that they may be converted. Love is not a means to an end. We do not pretend to love, go through the motions, and act ‘nice’ in order that we can get a foot in the order for sharing the Gospel. Rather, we love because the person is worth loving. What is an evangelist? An evangelist is one who learn to love as God does.

3. Pay Attention

In other words, shut your mouth and open your ears. Get to know the person… again, not as a means to an end, but because you genuinely find them interesting. Listen to their story. Know their passions. Comfort their pain. In the midst of all this, watch and wait for God to reveal to you where He is already working, and is inviting you to join in. What is an evangelist? An evangelist is one who cares more about the reconciliation of the other person than about winning an argument.

4. Participate

At some point, God will show you where He fits. In all honesty, this is rarely the ‘have you broken a commandment’ speech. Rather, this is recognizing where that gap exists between who we want to be and who we are, and how Christ fills that space. I remember a story one of my professors shared with me of a Muslim friend of his. The two men began conversing one day, and the Muslim gentleman began to share all the laws and practices Islam requires, the spiritual and behavioral morality it demands, and how he was not the good Muslim that he so desperately tried to be. In response, my professor began sharing about the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and transform us. After some thought, the Muslim asked, “So what you are saying is that, in order to be a good Muslim, I need to become a Christian?” And that is exactly what he did.

5. Pray

Did I mention this one already? Well… do it again. Prayer is the lifeblood of the faith.

So What Is An Evangelist?

In the end, evangelism begins and ends with Jesus. Not just speaking about Jesus, but the reality of Jesus already at work. Our goal, as bearers of the Good News, is simply to love, to pay attention, and to participate where we are called. The is how to share the gospel with love. This is what it means to be an evangelist.

The rest is up to God.

How about you? What are your experiences with evangelism?

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T E Hanna is the author of Raising Ephesus: Christian Hope for a Post-Christian Age and has published articles across the web on issues of faith and culture.

  • http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com Slimjim

    Good point to remember

  • http://grandmasbookshelf.net Margaret Welwood

    My favorite definition of evangelism is “one beggar telling another where to find bread.”

  • http://www.justifiedfreely.com Luke

    One might ask if all Christians are evangelists?

    Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    God calls men to different functions in the church. I do believe that most Christians
    alienate many a man by their witnessing. When God calls by the preaching of a evangelist those who are to hear will hear. God builds the house not man or the efforts of man. Great article, especially the point made about cooperation with the Holy Spirit. There are many spirits in the world, 1Jo 4:1, and often times a man is following his own spirit and soulish desires rather than the Holy Spirit.

    • http://tehanna.com T E Hanna

      You bring up a great point. I think there is a difference between the office of an evangelist and the commandment to evangelize. All are called to proclaim the gospel; some are called to devote their entire lives to it.

  • Bob Green

    I am new to your posts. I love your choice of topics and you writing style. I used to think of love as just one of the fruits of the spirit, basically an optional attribute, etc. The I read The Agape Road by Bob Mumford and the HS used that to “flesh out” the whole picture of what God is doing. Now I sing that old song that went “Love, love. love, love, that’s what it’s all about.” May God bless you and your ministry.

    • http://tehanna.com T E Hanna

      Glad you can join us Bob! Stay connected!

  • http://smallestofseeds.wordpress.com/ Gabrielle

    This was a wonderful post. I don’t have any experience evangelizing though I’ve been evangelized to plenty. And those who were the most compelling were those with an abundance of love to give -real genuine love. It just seemed to radiate from them. They really were an example of God’s love and grace at work in us. It’s something I’ve carried with me though I haven’t seen these folks in years.

  • Kenneth Dawson

    Very beautifully said

  • http://www.gracegrowswings.blogspot.com Chanda Griese

    Thanks for making the process of sharing the gospel look more simple and doable…still, it is a huge undertaking to help lead someone to Christ, but by the power of the Holy Spirit it is possible!

  • http://Sharingthefaith.net Kimberly Medina

    Besides my blog and talking to family members, I haven’t really had much experience yet with evangelism. Being a new Christian myself I feel like I am not yet qualified. I am making my way through the Bible but I can’t recite scripture from memory or anything yet. I feel people might want to know exactly where I am getting my information from and I would have to go searching. I pray each night that God pours out His wisdom and guidance on me.

    • http://tehanna.com/ T E Hanna

      That’s a wonderful place to be, Kimberly. If we come to a place where we are convinced that we are fully equipped, we tend to forget that God is the one doing the work. Knowing that God does the work, tho, takes some of the pressure off. We just show up, love people, and pay attention. When God shows us where He is already at work, we simply join Him and participate. Naturally. Lovingly. Powerfully. Simply.

  • http://blindfoldedfaith.blogspot.com/ Jennifer Dunn

    Loved your post! It’s so true that we often get so caught up in the “Great Commission” that we forget about the greatest commandment. I was recently reading in Romans and your post brought a couple verses to mind for me. First, Romans 10:14-15 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!'”

    The second is just a few chapters over in Romans 12:9,10″ Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” These two verses really hit home for me. I’ve been thinking on them and really examining my heart about whether or not I’m really loving on people or if I’m being fake about it. If I’m being fake, I need to get to the foot of the cross and first ask for forgiveness and let His love overflow from me out onto others.

    • http://tehanna.com/ T E Hanna

      I agree. I think it’s insightful that the example of being a faithful evangelist that we see in the Scriptures is not the mega church pastor but the martyr.

  • http://heartstonejourney.com Tim

    Awesome…”For starters, the process of the heart being wooed into the loving embrace of the Father is principally a work of the Holy Spirit, not of some superb rhetorical skill we may think we possess. ”

    It breaks my heart that we who call ourselves Christians judge and beat people over the head with His word and even worse…our lives just don’t demonstrate what we say! How about we begin by loving people! Love them, love them more and keep loving them until they pause and ask why?

    Then tell them why!

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    “Rather than trying to manipulate someone into the kingdom, or coerce them through subtle discourse, our purpose is to discover where God is already at work and join Him in that.”

    Amen to that! This is a great post! Thanks!

  • http://godschick.wordpress.com godschick

    Awesome. Telling people about Jesus who are in my life on a regular basis….and then ones the Lord brings to me to tell about Him.

  • Edith

    The way I learned to evangelize is simply by sharing my own life – what the Lord has done for me, which is more than I can say… People don’t want to hear what they are doing wrong… they want to hear that there is hope, that they are loved and that God is a God of relationship. Jesus is that hope, so share him.
    Love your blog T.E. Hanna – thanks for posting!

    • http://tehanna.com/ T. E. Hanna

      If you look at Paul the Apostle, this was certainly his approach. The vast majority of the time he would simply tell of his own conversion experience. And I’m glad you enjoy the blog, Edith! Welcome to the community!

  • http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com rodi

    My own encounters in speaking about Christ to non believers have been responsible for shaping my own Gospel presentation with more humility and a greater reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide my answers and speak the truth in love. In evangelizing, it is awesome to know that God works through persons such as “us”, for we are rescued sinners, ourselves!

  • http://musingandmotion.wordpress.com musingandmotion

    I think all of this is sound, helpful advice that conveys the spirit of evangelism (“how beautiful are the feet of those…”) well. I would only add a helpful point that my pastor often makes that we (meaning our good deeds, our acts of mercy and kindness, our attentiveness) are not the good news, but the gospel is. While we should embody Christ-like love toward those not yet reconciled to God, we should also be careful not to equate loving acts with the good news of the gospel. After all, heralding good news must involve words!

    • http://tehanna.com/ T. E. Hanna

      Agreed, but the ‘Good News’ is that Christ is risen, is King and Messiah, and is reconciling us to God, each other, and ourselves after sin had shattered that. The points about ‘paying attention’ and ‘participating’ are just that… seeing where God is already at work in the person’s life drawing them to Him, and revealing it. God draws each individual in a unique way, and if we attempt to make every evangelistic conversation a ‘four spiritual laws’ tract, we fail to do justice to the work the Holy Spirit is doing and was doing long before we got there.

      All of that to say… yes, we need to use words. But those words need to be founded in love, and in response to God’s invitation to participate where He is already at work.

  • http://dailymomprayers.wordpress.com irishsignora

    My most effective evangelization is to simply be kind and thoughtful to the people who cross my path, like listening for the answer when I ask someone, “How are you?”. I chair our parish moms’ group, and there probably aren’t a whole lot of women of any faith or no faith in our county who haven’t been personally invited to bring their tiny people to our playgroup. I call the drive-thru order takers “sir” or “ma’am,” because they’re worthy of my respect — and I’m teaching four little children to do the same things. I have to be the face of Jesus to those who have never met Him. That guides my steps, and shames me when I fall into wrath and pettiness. I don’t know if that’s helpful, though.

    • http://tehanna.com/ T. E. Hanna

      More than helpful, I think that’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • http://muddypearls.com Tola


  • 220lily

    I’ve failed all 5 steps. Ouch. I’ve been loving in order to evangelize. I haven’t been seeing people as they really are (as Jesus sees them – good, bad, ugly). I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been getting to know people. I haven’t been working with God but trying to be persuasive. Yuck.

  • http://groundedangel.wordpress.com groundedangel

    Yay! :)

  • http://quietlyradical.wordpress.com quietlyradical

    I love your point about showing “genuine” love. I think too many Christians approach evangelizing in much the same way that used cars sales work on “closing the deal”. People can tell when you truly care and when someone is just trying to advance his or her own agenda.

  • http://ericbates.wordpress.com Eric Bates

    Wow! Good, good stuff, my friend. I loved it!

  • http://terry1954.wordpress.com terry1954

    i enjoyed reading this

  • http://conmakhalira.wordpress.com conmakhalira

    “For starters, the process of the heart being wooed into the loving embrace of the Father is principally a work of the Holy Spirit, not of some superb rhetorical skill we may think we possess.” This is nothing but the truth.

    God bless