How Christians can Evangelize without being Weird or Pushy

While at the mall, a woman approached me to ask where we might have met. When I laughed she said, “Your smile – your laugh. It’s so familiar. I just know we’ve met.” As we talked, we realized she’d been the nurse in the ICU where my daughter Meredith was treated.

She went on, “I remember your laugh and smile because it’s rare to see joyful people in such circumstances. How do you explain that?”

Immediately I wanted to tell her how knowing Jesus is what gave us peace to trust Him with our child – and that His joy was the source of our strength. However, the words wouldn’t come. Instead I said, “We prayed and God answered our prayer.”

But in my heart I knew I blew it! This was an opportunity to share my faith and I failed miserably. So I determined to learn how to share the gospel. Here’s what I discovered:

1. Know your story. 
Revelation 12:11 reveals how powerful is the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Consider your own story so you can share it with others. How did Jesus draw you to Himself? What people did He send to share with you the gospel? Was it a Sunday School teacher? A neighbor? Or a stranger?

Ask yourself, “Who would I be without Jesus? Where would I be if God hadn’t sent someone to tell me?” Without the life changing reality of the gospel in my own life, I know well the self-absorbed, arrogant woman I’d be. That realization drives me to tell others how they too can be rescued from sin’s captivity to live the abundant life Jesus offers (see John 10:10).

2. Ask God to send people to you. 
Yesterday I asked God to send to me a person He’s drawing to Christ. As I went about my day no one in particular crossed my path. (Which is interesting because usually when I ask God to send someone it’s crazy how quickly He does.)

Today my phone rang while I was working on the final edits for my new book. I usually don’t pick up the phone when I am working but for some reason I did. It was a sales call. When I told the young man I wasn’t interested in what he was selling because I was super busy finishing up my book, he graciously asked what my book was about.

I gladly told him the title: Real Life Romance, and explained how the book offers hope for happily-ever-after romance. Soon he and I were in a conversation that revealed he was seeking answers for true happiness, which opened the way to share the gospel. See how it works?

3. Listen for where God may be at work in their heart. 
Along with asking God to send to you people He’s drawing to Christ, pay attention to people when you find yourself in a conversation. Take time to listen. You’re too busy you say? I get it. We all are so caught up in the captivity of activity that it is easy to miss divine appointments with eternal significance.

For example, when the sales caller asked what my book was about, it led to a conversation about his own failing love life. When he said, “We just can’t seem to fill the void we’re missing in our relationship,” I knew that was my invitation to share with him how Jesus is the only One who can fill the emptiness in our hearts. I could easily have given him relationship advice, but that’s not what he needs. He needs Jesus––and so does his fiancĂ©. (Do me a favor and whisper a prayer right now for the Holy Spirit to help this young man surrender to Christ.)

4. Remember their real need is Jesus. 
When you’re at the grocery store and the bagger starts telling you all about his life, or the receptionist at the dentist office confides in you, pay attention. Listen intently as they talk. And remember, while you might be able to give them some good pointers to better their situation, realize how often God brings trials into a person’s life to draw them away from their comfortable lives to come to a place of surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

When I meet someone, I don’t pounce upon them thumping my Bible while spewing hellfire and brimstone. Rather, I ask God for His compassion to meet them at the point of their need and find a way to show them how much He cares for them. Instead of beating them over the head with Scripture, know Scripture so well that it is weaved into the fabric of your conversation to bring them to repentance – because, “The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (see Hebrews 4:12).

5. Ask God to give you compassion. 
Remember when over Jerusalem Jesus cried, “O Jerusalem… How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). Here was Jesus the King of Heaven weeping over His own people who wanted nothing to do with Him. Let Jesus’ example remind us how it breaks the heart of God when a person chooses to reject His Son. Oh that it would break ours as well.

As God is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) let it be said of us – not that we had good arguments to make people feel guilty, but rather that our hearts of compassion drove us to shed the light of Truth onto the darkness that blinds their eyes.

Romans 2:4 reminds us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance. Are you kind when you tell people about Christ? Or do you come off judgmental and preachy? Learning to love others with Jesus’ compassion will be key in helping you share Christ in a way that doesn't appear pushy.

[written by Rhonda Stoppe]