How should we overcome a fear of evangelism? Dr. Ligon Duncan addresses what holds us back from sharing the gospel and explains how we can become bolder in sharing our faith. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
We all fear evangelism for different reasons. Sometimes those reasons have to do with not being confident that we know how to share the gospel clearly and compellingly. Sometimes, very frankly, it’s fear of man. We fear rejection. If it’s a family member, for instance, that we fear we might offend if we share the gospel, sometimes we don’t want to get involved in that conversation. So there are lots of reasons why people fear evangelism, and I would say just several things to us by way of encouragement.
We Love to Talk about the Things That Matter Most
One is we all love to talk about what matters to us most. If you’re around grandparents who have just had a new grandchild, I’ll bet you’ve had them pull out pictures of them to tell you about their grandchild. The thing that matters most in this world is the loving, holy, sovereign God and his work of grace and salvation and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby we are saved eternally, brought into a family that will never end, and made to be in the image of God again, what we were originally created to be. That is the greatest, most happy, most wonderful thing that has ever happened in this world, and we ought to be excited to talk about that. Study to know how to share the gospel.
So one thing that we can do is really work through that issue in our heart. Do we care about this more than anything else in the world? If we do, we will find natural ways to talk about that with others in respectful ways.
Study to Know How to Share Your Faith Concisely and Respectfully
I would say in wrestling with the fear of evangelism, study to know how to share the gospel. Just make sure that you know in 30 seconds how to share the gospel. There are different ways that you can do it. You can use outlines: God, man, Christ, faith. Or God, our maker; sin, our failure; Christ, our Savior; faith, our answer. Or there are all sorts of wonderful books and gospel outlines out there that you can read and study. So if your fear is “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how to say it well” then give yourself to study on that from the Word and from the various other Christian helps that there are. Do we love people enough to tell them about something that matters eternally?
Do We Really Care about People?
But if it’s a fear of man, a fear of rejection, then I would say again, two things. One, we need to go back and say, “What matters to us most?” Do we love people enough to tell them about something that matters eternally? And then we decide we’re going to talk about this with people that we know and love as respectfully as we possibly can. We’re going to take them seriously as human beings in the image of Christ. We’re going to look with the most effective times and ways and occasions that we can talk with them about the gospel.