Critics complain that lifestyle evangelism is not biblical. But I can clearly see evangelism as a lifestyle in the actions of the early disciples in the book of Acts.
Acts 5:42 describes a lifestyle of evangelism in the early days of the church:
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 5:42, NIV)
How I Define Personal Evangelism
Since I’m a Presbyterian pastor, I choose to use an excellent definition of personal evangelism, as adopted by the General Assembly (1990).
Joyfully sharing the good news of the sovereign love of God, and calling people to repentance, to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, to active membership in the church, and to obedient service in the world.
I’ve written about this definition before. See these articles:
- Joyfully – The Emotion of Evangelism
- Sharing – The Activity of Evangelism
- The Good News – the Content of Evangelism
- The Invitation – the Call of Evangelism
This definition of evangelism has guided me since the early part of the last decade and I have chosen to live it out in my own personal lifestyle of evangelism.
As I look at the activity of the early disciples, I see they too lived a lifestyle of evangelism. They joyfully shared their faith on a regular basis in areas where they had influence.
So let me show you:
1. Frequency: Day after day
Talking about their faith was part of their ordinary life. It was something the early disciples made a part of their daily life. You might say that faith based conversations characterized their activity.
Their passion for Jesus overflowed in their ordinary conversations.
Do current stories of God’s activity in your life appear in your conversations?
Would your friends characterize you as a Christian because you talk about your relationship with God?
What is God doing in your life today that makes following Jesus good news?
In my life this week, I’ve talked with my not yet Christian friend about God’s provision, how the Holy Spirit is teaching me to love my wife, how I use Bible principles to raise my kids.
In the week before, we talked the sayings of Jesus and what he learned about Jesus from reading some of the gospel of John.
My faith in Christ overflows into our conversation.
Talking about Jesus was an occurance, day after day for the disciples. I try to make it so for me.
2. Places: In their spheres of influence
Luke tells us where they chose to share their faith in Christ.
In the temple courts and from house to house.
As most of the early disciples had Jewish roots, it makes sense they shared in the temple courts. That was their community center. That was their sphere of influence. That is where they likely choose to pass their time if they were not working.
I don’t hang out in temple courts. So how can I live this out?
In my city, people hang out and socialize in the parks. They sit on benches and watch people. They talk with their friends.
Kids scream, run, and play on playground equipment. Parents sit on park benches and talk with each other.
- The park is where I met my friend and we talk bout my faith and his questions on a regular basis.
- The park is where we met a lady who eventually took baptism after placing her faith in Christ.
- The park is where Patricia did intentional evangelism which led to 2 baptisms in 6 months.
The park may not be your social scene, so where is yours?
Your work, your peer groups, your activity groups?
Likewise, the early disciples spent time going from house to house. Now those who like to practice door to door evangelism find their justification in this verse. But I think it refers instead to the family relationships and friends. It is the more intimate relationships than in the public square of parks and where you work.
How do I live this out today? I hang out with people at their house. We have friends over to ours. We play games, we eat, we talk, and we discuss what we are learning in our relationship with God. All this is part of our ordinary rhythm of life.
Where are your spheres of influence? Where do you spend most of your time building organic relationships of influence?
What I see is that the disciples did evangelism where they lived. They had a lifestyle of evangelism.
3. Content: They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news
Their conversation was full of elements of the good news. I am sure their lifestyle was an attractive one and one that opened the doors to effective spiritual conversation about Jesus.
Their friends knew they were a follower of Christ.
They were sharing their faith without being obnoxious. They didn’t have obnoxious evangelism habits we see today like:
Instead, I can imagine that out of the overflow of their personal relationship with Christ, they spoke of the work of God in their life and connected that to helping people follow Jesus.
I have found that my friends don’t mind me talking about my faith. Instead, they respect it as part of who I am. We’ve talked about the gospel several times, and are working through the differences between belief and following. My friend is getting close I think to repentance.
That’s because I’ve not stopped teaching about being a follower of Jesus. I’ve not stopped talking about what I’m learning from Jesus in my daily walk. I’ve not stopped sharing stories of transformation in my own life of how following Jesus has changed me.
Take a few moments and do a self evaluation of your lifestyle of evangelism.
- Is Jesus regularly a topic of your conversation?
- Are you talking about the activity of God in your life now?
- Can you talk about how you discovered the grace of God in your life?
- Are you regularly talking about what you are learning in your devotional life?
- Do you share what you learned and are living out from last Sunday’s sermon?
What can you do differently now?
Do you need help in Personal Evangelism?
Start here with this MP3 Download on Evangelism Training from the store to help you see where you need to grow.
In this 70 minute MP3 AUDIO recording on personal evangelism you will learn:
- How church invitations are part of evangelism
- How to discover and share your own journey to faith
- What you can say about the gospel message.
- How to personally lead someone to faith in Christ.
It’s a 70 minute audio file that takes just a few minutes to download, but it may help you answer the question:
What can you do in the next 90 days to grow in your evangelism skills?