"Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time." Zig Ziglar
"If you don't know where you are going, you probably end up someplace else." Yogi Berra
This week I’ve spoken about the importance of evangelism and the definition of evangelism – why we need to do it and what it is. But usually our problem with evangelism isn’t the theoretical side; it’s the practical side. It’s the “how-to” that we struggle with.
So today I want to make it easy for you. I don’t like to do anything unless I know the goal upfront. If the goal isn’t clear, how will I know if I am doing it right? How will I know if I am accomplishing anything? No one wants to work hard on something and later realize that they were doing it all wrong. So we need to establish a goal for evangelism before we dive in.
So what’s the goal? What would you say? Is the goal to bring people to church? Is the goal to baptize people? Is the goal to make them pray a certain prayer or to do certain good works?
What is the goal of evangelism and how will I know when I’ve accomplished it?
If you don’t know why you’re doing something, I’ll bet that you won’t be able to do it for very long. I remember back to my days in college at the University of Virginia. I was pretty good at math and I remember signing up for calculus during my first year.
If you’ve taken calculus, you can sympathize with me when I say the following: high school math and college calculus are two totally different animals and I was learning that the hard way. For the first time in my academic life, I was struggling with math.
So I asked my professor a simple question, “what’s the benefit of calculus and how will it ever help me in life?” His answer was something to the effect of “Just do it and stop asking questions.” That was the last math class I took in college.
If I don’t know the goal, then why should I waste my time trying to figure it out? Now, back to our subject of evangelism…what is the goal of evangelism?
One answer that I’ve heard is that our goal is “to bring others to Christ.”
At first look, that sounds like a good answer. But I have some problems with that answer:
- What if I preach to thousands but no one listens or accepts? Does that mean I am a failure?
- How many people am I supposed to bring to Him? Is there a certain quota I must fulfill so that I can call myself an evangelist?
- Even when Jesus Himself was on earth, many rejected Him and didn’t follow Him. Does that mean that He wasn’t an evangelist to them? Did He fail them?
The problem with “bringing others to Christ” is that it is results-oriented. It says that success is based on what you produce in the end. That is how we think, but not God. God does not see as man sees. God looks more at effort than He does at results (see the story of the widow with the two mites).
God is not results-oriented, but rather He is process-oriented. He cares more about the output than the outcome. Therefore, I say that the goal of evangelism is not to bring others to Christ, but rather “TO BRING CHRIST TO OTHERS.”
What’s the difference? Bringing the whole world to Christ is not possible. Even the idea that I can bring everyone I know to Christ doesn’t work. Even Christ Himself didn’t do that.
You can’t bring everyone you know to Christ. But you can bring Christ to everyone you know. You can be so filled with the Spirit of God that when others see you, they see Jesus inside you. They see His love, His compassion, His encouragement, His joy. You don’t need to convert your whole city to be an evangelist. But you do need to let your city see the true character of God through you.
The goal is not to bring others to Christ and force them to accept Him. You can’t do that. The goal is to bring Him to others and let Him do the job of convincing them to follow Him. Let His Light shine through you – through your words and your deeds – and let God do the rest.
Is that an attainable goal? ABSOLUTELY.
There is nothing stopping you from bringing Christ to everyone around you right now. If you’re at work, bring Christ to your work. That might mean a simple hello mixed with a smile. Or it might mean a random act of kindness to a stranger. Or it could mean extending patience to someone that may not deserve it, but certainly needs it. It could be anything. The goal is to be bring Christ to others – whoever God puts in front of you today.
If you’re at work, bring Christ into your office.
If you’re at school, bring Christ into your classroom.
If you’re at home with the kids, bring Christ into your home.
Wherever you go and with whoever is in front of you today, make it your goal to BRING CHRIST TO OTHERS. If you do that… congratulations. You’re an evangelist.
For discussion: how can you be an evangelist today?