Are you sometimes afraid to talk to people about the Gospel? Maybe you are one of those people whose mouth dries out while you are speaking. Or maybe your voice quivers or you lose your voice when you start talking. Maybe you can't remember what to say or your mind goes blank. If your like me, you fit in all the above listed categories. On top of that, you listen to a message on evangelism, then feel guilty because you remember the last time you tried to talk to somebody, they wouldn't listen and you never wanted to try again, at least for a long, long time.
It is not easy to share the Gospel. In fact, it really is impossible. That is why Jesus promised that the disciples would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Evangelism takes the power of God to carry it out and be effective.
One time Moses told God, that he didn't want to go to where God was leading them, unless he knew that God's Presence was going to be with them. The Bible says that the power of the God is in the Gospel. That is why we cherish it. That is why we need it.
I will give a little bit of my story to encourage you, if you are one of those people who feel like you are slow to speech, when it comes to evangelism. I was a very unlikely candidate for being a person that could share the Gospel. First of all, I didn't really know how to talk well. I had a small vocabulary, plus just didn't know how to communicate about anything. I remember as a child, going to the doctor's office and the doctor would be talking to me, and my mom had to do the responding for me because I didn't really know how to answer him. Kids bullied me around because I didn't talk, and I ended up being very disadvantaged because of my lack of ability to speak. I felt stupid around other people, and basically didn't really even want to socialize very much because of that.
At the age of seventeen, something dramatic happened to me one Sunday morning. My life was changed and I believe it was because the Gospel connected in my heart. I got it, finally. I was never the same. My friends tried the year before to get me to pass out tracts. I didn't really understand what that was all about, but God was working in my heart making me ready to respond to Him. God helped me understand the Gospel and it took root in my heart. I had a great desire to share the Gospel and preach the word after that.
But there were still problems. I was still a tongue tied person. It was still hard to communicate. I gave tracts out to my classmates, but if they were to ask me questions about the Gospel, I felt so unprepared. Time went on. I got married. I went to an evangelism course called "I Found It". I took Evangelism Explosion classes. I join Child Evangelism Fellowship. I had a lot of teaching on evangelism. But I still found it hard to talk to people. Usually, my mouth would dry out. If I could get words out, then I would lose track of what I was saying and couldn't follow the conversation. I was still leaving tracts out at the mall when I was 22, but the desire to evangelize became weaker. Then after having four children over a period of about 13 years and homeschooling, who has time for evangelistic activities? Evangelism was now a foreign concept to me, or just a fading memory by this time. I thought maybe one day it would happen, at least maybe I could still leave tracts around, but even that seemed a long way off. Even though I continued to go to evangelism classes as they were offered, I was pretty much resolved to the fact that the best I would ever be able to do would be to lay tracts around, or, maybe if I could get brave and make my voice strong, I could actually give them to people. But it would only happen if someone else were leading that way. I certainly was not now envisioned to lead in this area!
Well, it happened. We had an evangelism class at our church that used videos from 'The Way of the Master' and I came to the church building at 8:30 am, which was way too early for me to be anywhere. There were opportunities to go out and evangelize. The desire came back into my heart again to do this. I wondered if it would be different. I certainly had a better understanding of the Gospel. It looked so easy on the videos watching Ray and Kirk talking to people. Guess what? I went out there and it was still hard. My son and I would go out there with the group and since he wasn't afraid to start conversations with people, I took advantage of this. I would jump in and be able to talk to people once the conversation started. But there were still problems. Sometimes, it was just me talking to someone, and my mouth would still dry out. I still had some fear of man. My mind would still go blank. Sometimes, I would start shaking and couldn't talk. But my heart really wanted to do this. Why would God give me the desire to do something and then have it not work out. Again, I was resolving myself to just pass out tracts and lay them in conspicuous places.
It came to the place where I had to be in prayer about this. Since it was a major struggle, I would have to wrestle in prayer. My desire to carry out this 'work of service' would have to be strong enough for me to stay in prayer over it. So that is what I did. I prayed for God to change me. I am still praying that I will have the grace and ability to do this, and that I will not be afraid of people. I will have to pray for this until my last day on earth, because I cannot do this in my strength. I need help, God's help.
Now, we are at the place we God has allowed me to be prepared for this work. I am still afraid at times, but I am not paralyzed anymore. My mouth dries out occasionally, but most of the time, everything goes well. I can have conversations with people and help them understand the Gospel better. I need to keep reminding myself that there are some people who really are interested in listening to what God says. There is only a small handful of people who are antagonistic toward the Gospel. And God can give wisdom in those situations. He can also lead us to talk to the people He wants to hear the Gospel, on that day. We can be in faith that God is at work, because He is here with us. He will help us when we get stuck. He will give us courage to talk to people. He will do all this for us, but we need to be in prayer for ourselves and for the lost. The key to all of this being successful is trusting God and being diligent in prayer.
If God can take one person and help this person to learn how to go from just leaving tracts in places to actually communicating the Gospel in conversations with people on a regular basis, He can do it for anyone who has that desire in his or her heart. It may take months of praying, but praying is a must. The fruit that will come out will be amazing and many people will hear the Gospel that would never have had any opportunity if that person did not learn to share their faith. God is able to make us able. Let us trust in Him now.