I am afraid of evangelism.
Does that surprise you? As the Founder & CEO of Dare 2 Share, a ministry devoted to mobilizing teenagers to share their faith, you might think that evangelism is not something that terrifies me. But there are still occasions when it does. Even after decades of sharing my faith with thousands of people.
But I’m in good company. The great apostle Paul struggle with fear when it came to evangelism, too. Read what he wrote to the Corinthian believers,
I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 1 Corinthians 2:3
So I want you to know that your teenagers (and you) are not alone when they experience fear and trepidation at the prospect of sharing their faith with friends or strangers.
But while it’s important to acknowledge our common evangephobia, it’s even more important to understand that Jesus has provided a whole range of God-given gear to help our teenagers face down their fears and step out bravely to reach the lost around them.
What God-Given Gear?
“What? What God-given gear?” you ask. “How do a requisition a set of this gear for each of my students?”
It’s true! God doesn’t just assign our teenagers the big job of sharing Jesus with others and then walk away, leaving them holding the bag by themselves. Far from it!
Because at its root, sharing Jesus’ message is a spiritual endeavor that requires God’s supernatural involvement. The Bible puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
So He’s provided a whole range of mission critical gear to help our students enter the spiritual battle and wage war, not on their friends but for their friends. For make no mistake, if they choose to share their faith with their friends, they really are entering into a spiritual battle.
And it’s up to you as their leader to get this essential gear into their hands and to train and equip them in how to use it in a powerful, yet loving, way for maximum impact. So in the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring the following seven essential pieces of God-given gear.
1. Every Person’s Inner Knowledge of God
2. Every Person’s Conscience
3. The Power of God’s Word
4. The Power of the Gospel
5. The Power of Prayer
6. A life of doing good
7. Our love for other Christians
Let’s take a look at the first piece of gear.
Every Person’s Inner Knowledge of God
Everybody on the planet believes in God. Yes, even atheists. Down deep inside secret chambers, there is the knowledge that a one true God exists. They may deny it. They may argue against it. But down deep inside they know He is there.
So instead of assuming someone is a true atheist, speak of God as a reality. Romans 1:18-21 makes it clear that,
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
At the end of the day there are no true atheists. In the deepest parts of their soul every atheist, according to Romans 1, truly believes in the existence of God but doesn’t want to give glory to Him or give Him thanks.
I have found that the more you speak of God as a reality the sooner the atheist will say something like, “Well, if God is so good then why….” It’s at this moment they are admitting that they actually do believe in God but they don’t want to acknowledge it for whatever reason. So, instead of attacking their arguments, speak of God as if He exists and let them deal with the true core of their problem with God, not His existence, but their accountability to Him. Let them wrestle with why they are trying to push the truth of God’s existence of God away from themselves.
When you help your students grasp these Biblical truths, they will begin to get a clearer understanding of their unreached friends hearts and minds. As they approach their non-believing friends with love and concern, they’ll be better equipped to get past the smoke screens and defensiveness.