According to a LifeWay Research study conducted in 2012, 80 percent of church-going American Protestants who attend church one or more times a month believes they have a responsibility to share their faith. Of that same group, however, 61 percent have not shared the gospel in the six months prior to the research. The research also found that 48 percent of church attendees had not invited an unchurched person to attend church serve or a program at their church over the six months prior.
Most of us are probably not surprised by these statistics but we should be. Knowing that we have the greatest news on earth should motivate us to get up and share, invite, and engage those who may not know Jesus. I think there are several reasons why we don’t share. But today I’d like to explore one possibility: evangelism seems complicated.
Most articles tend to focus on how we over complicate sharing the gospel with our words. We over think, fear forgetting something, fear looking stupid, wonder if we even know the good news. So as a result of our muddled mind, we don’t say anything at all. We stumble enough with the words (trust me, I’ve been there) but what about the when/where/how? This aspect of evangelism seems to stump people as much, if not greater than, what to actually say. Perhaps we want an angel to appear and tell us that now is the time. Or wouldn’t it be much easier if someone simply asked you, “How do I become a Christian?” It happens, but not often.
One way to simplify evangelism is to make it a part of your everyday life and one place it can begin is in your home.
Hospitality is a wonderful means of not only sharing the love of Christ in a practical way, but also it provides an opportunity to build friendships and share the gospel. To be clear, though showing the love of Christ to others through good works is important, it is not sharing the gospel. To share the gospel means that we open our mouths and use words. For we know that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). But hospitality can be one means to that end. So having people in your home is a simple way to share the good news.
Hebrews 13:2 gives us a beautiful picture of hospitality: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware." Though this passage is most likely referring to the needs of other Christians (verse one speaks of brotherly love, Rom. 12:13 addresses hospitality as caring for the needs of the saints) there is no doubt that the call to be hospitable applies beyond our Christian circles and church walls.
The early Christians were hospitable to those traveling and it could be assumed that they were all followers of Jesus, but there’s no guarantee. In my context, in the South, it can often be assumed that your neighbor is a Bible believing, professing Christian because here “everyone is a Christian”, but the reality is not the case. All around me are people who need to hear the gospel. Invite your neighbor over and show love and hospitality and boldly proclaim the good news to your neighbors at the dinner table.
We over-complicate things but it doesn’t need to be that way. We have a treasure—a great treasure. We are jars of clay—we won’t get it right 100 percent of the time. But God is the one who does the heart work, we simply must be faithful to share. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Love your neighbors, the friends you meet at the park, your fellow PTA members ("Parent Teacher Association" for all of you not yet exposed to this sort of thing) moms, and whoever else would enjoy a friend and a meal. Those around you are people made in the image of God, not projects, and you have the best news you could ever share. So, out of love, share it with boldness and entrust the rest to God.