As believers, God commissions us to evangelise (Matthew 28:18-20). What comes to your mind and how do you feel when you think of evangelism? An event or a programme? A Christian obligation? Bringing people to church?
Or this may sound familiar – “I can’t do this! I’m too shy, it’s too awkward.”; “I’m not a good communicator.”; “I’m too busy, too tired, wait till I have more time and energy.”; “I’m feeling discouraged and spiritually dry to reach out to others.”; or simply, “I don’t know how to evangelise!”
What if evangelism is as simple as saying “Hi” to someone? A neighbour you meet in the lift, a fellow commuter at the bus stop or a classmate in your school or colleague in your office?
I just moved to a new estate recently, and the Holy Spirit has been prompting me to say “Hi” to those I meet… at the lift lobby waiting for the lift, in the lift while going to my house, at the playground where my kids are playing, at the coffeeshop, etc.
As I started obeying these promptings, I’ received myriad responses from a stoic or surprised look, an awkward “Hi” back or a smile.
Some whom I’ve said “Hi” to regularly have started returning my greetings and even engaged me in conversation. A few have invited me to their homes and introduced me to their families – and dogs. One of them even baked me Chinese New Year goodies.
One incident of “Hi” resulted in a neighbour opening up and sharing the grief of her youngest brother’s passing. I asked if I could pray for her, and she started tearing as the love and presence of God came upon her right there at her doorstep.
As I started to be more aware of divine appointments on a daily basis, it’s interesting to have ‘random’ strangers come up to me to share what they’re going through, leading to the opportunity to pray for – and encourage – them with the love of God.
Evangelism is never meant to be a programme but a way of life for every disciple of Christ. As Leonard Ravenhill puts it, ‘Any method of evangelism will work – if God is in it.’ Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”
We don’t need a better plan for evangelism – all it takes is to start interacting with people we meet.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit for the words to say.
The Holy Spirit can also give you a word of knowledge and activate spiritual gifts in you to minister to others in prophecy and healing.
2. We all have a story to tell.
Your story is powerful. Share what God has done for you in and through your life. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to ‘always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’
3. Allow the other person to share.
Be a good listener and show empathy. Sometimes, this is all that’s needed of you at that moment. Then, listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit on what to say or do next.
You don’t have to be an extrovert to share the Good News. All you need is obedience and God’s love. As we grow in our love for God, we’ll also start growing in our love for people.
And all it takes to start is a simple “Hi!”