The first time I ever knowingly did evangelism happened in a church basement.
A temporary call center had been set up on tables with screen dividers.
Heavy phone sets with a little light bulb that shone bright red when a call was coming through to me.
I would be a phone operator on the receiving end of an 800 number that people would call to receive prayer or to learn more about Jesus.
The Setup for Conversational Evangelism
When the Billy Graham Association would air their messages during prime-time TV, an 800-number appeared at the bottom of the screen.
I was one of the operators who answered the phones in the church basement that night.
I remember being nervous and anxious long before I sat in my chair that night.
I did not want my phone to ring, even though I knew it was going to ring.
I was scared out of my mind.
I had pre-convinced myself I couldn’t do it.
The closer 8:00 pm arrived on the clock, the faster the heart and mind raced to failure.
I can’t do evangelism.
Before the clock reached 8:00 pm, the counselor in booth number 1 (which was opposite me) was already on the telephone. It was 3 minutes before 8:00 pm.
I remember panicking. “How could that happen? Billy Graham is not even on the TV yet.”
Because of the phone counselor’s proximity to me, I listened in on the conversation to gain tips for what I was about to do.
The counselor was comparing Jesus with Buddha and Mohammed.
The panic rises up my back.
I’m thinking, “Oh, God. I cannot do this. I’m only a teenager. I have no experience in this.”
I was afraid.
I didn’t have all the answers to all the possible questions I suddenly imagined. A torrent of possibilities came through my brain faster than hail falling during a thunderstorm.
Evangelism Fears Paralyzed Me
I had not memorized the 3-day seminar on apologetics between major religions.
I had only been a Christian for a few years.
I already felt clumsy with the material the Billy Graham Association had already given me.
I was a disaster waiting to happen.
My first conversation
My phone lit up. I took a deep breath, lifted the beige handset to my ear, and trepidatiously mumbled some polite greeting.
The gentleman calling me quickly confessed that he was thinking of ending his own life and that “your job is to talk me out of it.”
Panic shot through my veins.
But with the help of the Holy Spirit (which I didn’t understand at the time), the man and I had some conversation about the hope that Jesus gives.
That man placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that night.
It was a divine appointment.
I went on to answer many more phone calls.
It was in this little cubicle in a church basement that I began to learn valuable lessons about personal evangelism that have given shape to my desire to help you push through your fears of sharing your faith.
I overcame my fears
Faith-sharing conversations have come naturally now once I learned a few principles of evangelism.
Evangelism can be as normal as breathing.
I’ve condensed these into a DVD set on personal evangelism. Read more by clicking on the banner.