West London Alliance Church

In the helpful little book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever gives us 12 steps to help us evangelize. These aren’t ground breaking, but rather helpful reminders and strategies to help us to stop not evangelizing. Here they are with some quotations from the book and a few comment of my own.

12 Steps to Help Us Evangelize

  • Pray – “Simply put, we don’t pray for opportunities to share the gospel, so how surprised should we be when they don’t come?”
    • This is great. I have often prayed for conversions, but have not often prayed for opportunities to share the gospel. Both prayers are legitimate of course, but praying for opportunities engages us in the process as we should be.
  • Plan – “…we can plan to make time to build relationships or to put ourselves in positions where we know we’ll be able to talk with non-Christians. We plan for so many less important things; why not plan for evangelism.”
    • This is a great step in terms of intentionality. Let’s take the step of actually planning for the opportunities not just hoping they fall in our lap.
  • Accept – “We have to accept that this is our job … we have to realize and admit how we’ve been dodging our duty and adjust ourselves to accept responsibility for evangelism.”
    • Yes. This is the reality. Let’s be honest about that; no excuses.
  • Understand – “Part of our failure to evangelize comes from a lack of understanding … Your conclusion that you are not gifted for a particular task [evangelism] does not absolve you of responsibility to obey.”
    • I do believe that some people are gifted evangelists. Not just gifted with a certain personality or certain strengths or abilities, but actually gifted by God through the Spirit. Nevertheless, gifted or not, we need to understand that this is for every disciple of Christ.
  • Be Faithful – “Perhaps we need to rebalance our allegiances. Maybe we are too polite to be faithful to God in this area. Maybe we are more concerned about people’s response than God’s glory. Maybe we are more concerned about their feelings than God’s. God does not like having his truth suppressed, and that’s what the non-Christian is doing (Rom. 1:18). Good manners are no excuse for unfaithfulness to God, but we have, too often, used them so.”
    • This is my philosophy of ministry: focus on faithfulness, not fruitfulness.
  • Risk – “We must be willing to risk in order to evangelize.”
    • As I said in my sermon, evangelizing is not easy. Sharing the gospel with those in our lives is a difficult thing. But, it is a risk that is worth taking.
  • Prepare – “… we could prepare ourselves by knowing the gospel, working on our own humility, and studying more. Just as we might plan to have time, so we might prepare to be able to use the opportunity well when it comes.”
    • Again, a good step of intentionality suggested here. Let’s proactively prepare to grow in this area.
  • Look – “We must not only close our eyes in prayer for opportunities, but we must then open our eyes to see them.”
    • Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” We need to have our eyes opened.
  • Love – “We are called to love others. We share the gospel because we love people. And we don't share the gospel because we don't love people. Instead, be wrongly fear them. We don't want to cause awkwardness. We want their respect, and after all, we figure, if we try to share the gospel with them, we’ll look foolish. And so we are quiet. We protect our pride at the cost of their souls. In the name of not wanting to look weird, we are content to be complicit in their being lost.”
    • Ouch!
  • Fear – “When we don’t share the gospel, we are essentially refusing to live in the fear of the Lord. When we take pleasure in evil. God hate. We are not regarding him or his will as the final and ultimate rule of our actions.”
    • Fear of men should never trump fear of God. Those who truly fear God having nothing to fear in all of creation.
  • Stop – “We should stop blaming God. We should stop excusing ourselves on the basis that God is sovereign. We should not conclude from his omnipotence that our obedience is therefore pointless.”
    • We should never use the sovereignty of God as an excuse for disobedience in regards to sharing the gospel. Full Stop!
  • Consider – “When we don’t sufficiently consider what God has done for us in Christ—the high cost of it, what it means, and what Christ’s significance is—we lose the heart to evangelize.”
    • Look to the Christ. Look to the cross. Look to the gospel. In these we have both the motivation and the power to evangelize.

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