Why should Christians do evangelism? What are our motives?
When asked, most Christians quickly reply:
- It’s the Great Commission.
- Jesus tells us to.
Guilt is not a motive
I’ve seen guilt used as a motive.
When well-meaning preachers and teachers hammer home obedience to Great Commission too hard, people feel guilty:
- for not obeying enough,
- for not doing enough evangelism,
- for not leading enough people to the Lord.
Some faulty presentations leave us on the hook for someone else’s eternal separation from God.
This leads to enormous guilt!
Guilt can be a pretty powerful motivator, but this motivation will only take us so far. Maybe one conversation and then we quit.
Desperation is not a motive
Other times, church leadership will declare the need to do evangelism because the church needs new members.
One pastor told me he wanted to receive new Presbyterians who have moved into the neighborhood.
Evangelism is sometimes motivated by church survival, membership recruitment and budget provision.
Evangelism becomes a means to church survival, not expanding the kingdom of God.
A Better Answer is Needed
The fundamental question is “Why do Evangelism?”
We need to find an answer that is not rooted in guilt. Guilt drags one along like a bridle can drag a horse.
We need to find an answer that is beyond church survival. Survival drags one along but only so far.
What is foundational teaching about evangelism that can propel us from behind, like rocket fuel blasting the Space-X Falcon9 into space?
Can evangelism be something that is not fearful?
How does one joyfully do evangelism… where evangelism can be joyful, ordinary, and fun?
What understanding of the discipline of evangelism can motivate us so that “out of the overflow of the heart, our mouth speaks?”
Other Motives for Evangelism I have heard
Some other motives for evangelism that I’ve heard over the years that are similar to the motivations above:
- We are losing members and need new ones.
- I might be the only person in their life to explain the gospel to them.
- Your friend might die on their way home tonight so share!
- We need more money from new donors.
At a teaching session at mission base in Panama, my students gave the following list of answers:
- Obedience to the Great Commission
- If you have something so awesome, why not share it?
- God gave us compassion for the lost.
- Pastor says so.
- Fill the pews.
- Selfish not to share.
These lists are not exhaustive, but I’d love your recommendations of insufficient evangelism motives to add to the list.
Digging for What Motivates My Evangelism
A question has been stirring in my heart for a long time.
What motivates me to share my faith on a consistent basis?
“What is the fuel for evangelism?”
How do I find the “overflow of my heart” that propels my mouth to speak?
It has to be more than just obeying a command to “go.”
I can obey a command
- because I want to, or
- because I have to.
Just observe any child and see the difference between “want to” and “have to.”
My Motivation for Evangelism
It is found in a simple verse. “Because God loves us, we ought to love one another” 1 John 4.8.
It’s because God loves me.
The deeper that sinks into my soul, the more I want to tell others about His love.
What fuels me to do evangelism
- is more than the great commission;
- is more than a passion to see people apart from Christ get found by Him;
- is more than a concern about people’s eternity.
What fuels me is that I’m convinced that God loves me, and this theme in Scripture stirs something indescribable in my heart.
Peter speaks of an indescribable joy (1 Peter 1:9ff).
It wells up from within and overflows. It’s the deep [in me] that cries out to deep [in God]. It overflows.
It’s subjective, no doubt. I can’t put words to it.
But it fuels me all the more — I can “feel” the good news. I can feel the irresistible draw of God’s love.
I can enjoy God! God enjoys me!
I can have all the tools I want about how to evangelize.
But without the passion of relishing in the love of God for me, I’m just relaying information hoping to convince somebody of the truth.
Delighting in God’s love for me gives me the passion that communicates conviction of truth.
I’m not sharing what some speaker or teacher has taught me to repeat. I’m communicating what I believe and have discovered in life.
It’s the truth that has sunk into the heart and then oozes up from the heart with an intoxicating quality.
Just as I know the gospel (information, facts, theology, etc), I feel the gospel (passion, compassion, concern). The left brain and right brain together.
Truth with passion. Passion propels me to invite people to discover the truth with me.
We are told to “Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that is within you.”
I wonder if that “reason” is unique to the work of God in your life.
Jesus loves me!
Getting lost in the love of Jesus, experiencing it in its richness, exploring its depths as I read the Word and meditate on it, gets me lost in the wonder of worship.
I can describe it, I can experience it.
My favorite Spanish worship song by Jesus Adrian Romero contains the line
“Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor”
which translates, “if it wasn’t for your grace and your love.”
None of my pursuits for God, none of my worship, none of my evangelism and good works would matter to a hill of termites if it wasn’t for God’s grace — shown in His love for me.
I’m firmly convinced that experiencing God’s love propels us towards evangelism.
Guilt compels, grace propels.
Let me ask you this?
Why motivates you do or practice evangelism? Consider posting your answers in the comments portion.
With your copy, you’ll have the right to share this valuable teaching with your entire team.
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 your evangelism skills?