October 2018 Blog Theme: Overcoming Evangelism Challenges
You must break barriers to live your life on mission.
We all have things we want to do, but never do. We want to lose weight and get fit but find ourselves never working out. We want to get financially independent but find ourselves charging up credit cards for stuff we don’t need. We want to have a great marriage but find it difficult to carve out time for our spouse.
There seems to be a big gap between what we want to do and what actually gets done. What lies between the two are excuses. In my experience, the same could be said for living on mission. I meet very few Christ followers who will say, “I don’t want to be used by God to reach my lost friend or family member!” Most would agree that sharing the Gospel is a good thing, and that we even have a responsibility to tell people about Jesus. They may even say, “I want to share my faith more,” but the truth is, very few do.
This is an excerpt from the book Reach Your World by Craig Etheredge, which you can purchase here.
The gap between wanting to live on mission and actually living on mission is wide. Why is that the case? Let me make it more personal. What’s holding you back from telling people about Jesus? Just let that question hang in the air a bit. No answer? Ok, I’ll go first. Confession is good for the soul, right? I will admit that I’ve never been the bold and brash evangelist.
When I was a teenager, I shared the Gospel with my lost friends, but I wasn’t the guy who led his whole football team to Christ. As a young married adult serving on staff, I wasn’t super engaged with lost people. Much of my time was spent dealing with church people and church problems. When I became a lead pastor, I led out in “door-to-door” type programmatic approaches to evangelism, but I never felt comfortable.
Honestly, the most comfortable I felt sharing my faith in Jesus was while I was living life with my lost neighbors. While I saw many of them come to Christ, I would say for the most part, I was a reluctant evangelist. I say that with a sad heart. You see, I wanted to do more. I loved the rush of engaging in spiritual conversations and every time I did share the Gospel, I felt God’s pleasure.
So, why didn’t I do it more frequently? Honestly, I leveraged excuses. I would say, “Well, Lord, I’ve never really been trained that well,” or, “Lord, I don’t know how to transition a conversation,” or, “Lord, I’m really busy with my own family.” The gap between what I wanted and what I did was littered with excuses. Now, if that’s true in my life, I’m pretty sure it’s true in yours.
One day Jesus told the story of a king who threw a banquet and invited all his friends to come, but no one came. (Luke 14.18 ESV) says, “They all alike began to make excuses.” One guy said, “I can’t come — I just bought a field.” Another said, “I just got married. I can’t be away from my wife!” Another said, “I just bought five new oxen, and I’ve got to try them out.”
Whatever is important to do in life is seldom easy. Excuses will keep you from doing what really matters. You can always come up with an excuse for why you’re in debt, overweight, struggling with your marriage or not sharing your faith, but excuses never fix the problem. They just mask the problem. In order to start living the way you want to live, you have to toss the excuses.
Over the years, I’ve been able to get rid of the excuses that have held me back from sharing my faith, and as a result, I’m experiencing more joy and excitement than ever before in talking about Jesus. That is what I want for you! I want you to move from “wanting” to “living” — and in the process know the pleasure of God in a fresh new way!
Most people are held up by four basic excuses: fear, busyness, indifference and disobedience. These big four tie us up in indecision and inactivity. This week we are going to tackle these excuses head on and ask God to free us up to start living on mission! So, let’s get started!
Written by Craig Etheredge
This blog is an excerpt that comes from our book Reach Your World, which you can purchase here.