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The uneasy evangelist making evangelism easy

By Austin Holley

I’m American, but my desire to engage with strangers is decidedly British – I don’t want to talk to new people, and making eye contact on the underground is a definite a no-no. And now I work in a rôle where a large portion of my job is going up to people and talking about Jesus.

Suffice to say, evangelism doesn’t come easily to me. Nonetheless, I’ve learned quite a few things in the short time I’ve been actively sharing my faith that I hope can help you, whatever job you find yourself in. 

To start off, I want to be clear that evangelism isn’t just engaging strangers in a conversation about Jesus. There are all kinds of ways to engage your friends, colleagues, and neighbours with the good news about Jesus. However, since most of my experience with evangelism is in initiative evangelism (the approaching people one), I’ll focus on that here. 

People are more willing to talk to strangers than you think

Something that shocked me when I started evangelism was just how willing people were to talk to us. We approached students who were studying, and probably 70%-80% would be willing to have a conversation with us about life, faith and God. It blew me away. The vast majority of the students we met were not believers, but they were so often willing to talk about the deep things of life. You’ll be stunned by how many good conversations you can have with strangers! 

Evangelistic resources can be really helpful in making the approach easier

There’s a lot of ways to start a conversation with a stranger. You don’t have to just jump right in with ‘Hello, do you have a few minutes to talk about Jesus?’ Whilst that type of question definitely has its merits, it may be offputting for a student or colleague who has virtually no knowledge of the good news about Jesus.

The ARC (Agapé UK Resource Centre)

Agapé UK produces resources to help you grow in confidence in your faith as well as sharing your story and God’s story with others.

Check out all of our resources by clicking here.

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A couple of resources I like to use are:

  1. Unfilter’d (Soularium), a picture questionnaire 
  2. Perspective cards, a series of five questions about life, faith, and God

One great thing about both of these is that you can approach people in a non-scary way, like ‘Do you have a few minutes to do a picture questionnaire about life, faith, and God?’

Furthermore, this type of approach goes deeper into the other person’s beliefs worldview. Instead of you lecturing someone about Jesus (no matter how well-intentioned we are, we can often be perceived this way by students) you’re asking someone else what they think. Afterwards they’re often more willing to hear your perspectives on these matters. We’re not at all trying to hide that we’re Christians and believe in Jesus, we just want to try and approach people in ways that are helpful and engaging so we can have genuine conversations. 

It’s not about you! 

Something so absolutely comforting about evangelism is that it’s not at all about you! It’s all about God and seeing Him work through you and in the hearts of those you’re talking to. This means the results are not up to us. Our job is to show up. The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict, convince, and transform, through the words that He gives us to speak and through the impressions He places on their hearts. This provides tremendous comfort in the midst of our labours. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

We sow the seed (evangelism) and water the seed (discipleship), but it’s God alone who can save, and God alone who can grow us. 

I pray that you’ll consider how God will use you to reach the people He has placed around you. And I ask that you pray for us as we continue to sow and water the seeds of faith among students all across the UK. 

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