June 5, 2012 by
Categories: General | Resources
Today, Jim Donohue, pastor for evangelism at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, shares his thoughts on evangelism and talks about a course he helped prepare for evangelism training.
Water skiing can be scary. You’re floating in dark water behind a powerful boat that’s revving its engines. Two planks of wood are strapped to your feet, and you are holding onto a rope attached to the engines. Meanwhile, someone is gently and soothingly encouraging you with the essential instructions to survive on the aforementioned wooden slats. “Keep your ski tips up, bend your knees, lean back, keep your back straight, and lock your elbows!” As you desperately try to remember these tips, the soothing voice asks, “Are you ready?”
You give a tentative nod, and the soothing voice suddenly screams, “Hit it!”
It can all be a little unnerving, and so can evangelism. In fact, water skiing is a lot like evangelism. It’s a little scary at first but once you get going, it’s a lot of fun.”
It really is true. I’ve shared the gospel in quite a variety of contexts, and believe it or not I still feel hesitant before I begin. The little voice in my head whispers, “I’m not sure this is a good idea!” But then the Spirit inside of me says, “Hit it!” and I end up opening my mouth.
Once I open my mouth, the conversation unfolds and is often very enjoyable. However, in the two decades of my Christian life, I have found that whenever I seek to share the gospel, I am met with resistance and doubt. I have never found a way to erase these feelings, but I have learned to overcome them. And I’ve experienced the flood of joy that comes when I overcome the flesh and obey God’s command to evangelize. It’s a little like finally getting up on those skis and skimming across the lake with the wind in your hair.
The gospel is the most powerful and precious message in the world. As followers of Christ, we are called to share this message with others. God does not want us to keep this good news to ourselves! But there are many challenges that we face when it comes to reaching out to people with the gospel. We can feel scared or guilty or hypocritical or busy. We can lack courage, conviction, time, or an understanding of the depth of what Christ has done for us. These things often can keep us from jumping into the water even though we know that obeying our Savior brings joy. So what can we do? Where can we find that soothing voice that helps us get up on our skis?
It’s a good question and one that prompted us to develop the Proclaim Course. This seven-week small group DVD course is designed to encourage and equip average Christians to join God in the unstoppable proclamation of the gospel. The course helps us to understand God’s role and our role in evangelism as well as the incredible motivation that comes from the gospel. We also learn how to be ourselves when reaching the lost, how to build friendships with unbelievers, and how to share the gospel faithfully when opportunities arise. It’s an easy way to get up on your skis.
Even though evangelism is challenging and our hesitant feelings may not go away, we can share the gospel with confidence because we have the Spirit’s grace-filled presence with us saying “Hit it!”
If you’d like to find out more about the topic of evangelism, check out the Proclaim DVD Course.