Evangelism is something I have many questions about. Whether or not it is necessary is not one of them.
I doubt anyone would disagree that evangelism is done best when the message is motivated by a deep and passionate awareness of the beauty of the gospel, and of the desperate need sinners have of it. I think it stands to reason that if that foundation is set, then a willingness to share that message should flow naturally from that. When we become so enthralled at God’s love for us poured out through the cross, and see the perilous position of unsaved sinners, that should naturally motivate us to share that message with those around us.
By the way, I am here referring to evangelism as the bowl-up-to-randoms-on-the-street-and-share-the-gospel variety, which I am aware is a very narrow definition, but in my situation seems to be the main thing pushed.
My questions arise when something is missed from this picture. What do we do when people feel the need to share their faith, and are not driven by a deep and profound awareness of the reality of the message? And what can be done for people who truly rejoice and are thankful for God’s grace, yet have no inclination towards evangelism? What comes first? Where do we start? Do we get people sharing their faith with strangers from the word go, assuming that evangelism is a means by which God works in his people? Or do we come from another angle, saying God changes his people through other means, and that the natural overflow of these is to willingly advocate Christ in all situations?
I consider myself someone who truly enjoys God, and finds immense satisfaction in Christ. However, when the challenge goes out to witness, on the street or around the campus, something in me draws back and cringes. Intellectually I totally agree that the message we are taking is desperately needed, so why do I resist so much? More importantly, what is the solution? I have had people tell me something to the effect of “get hard,” which no doubt has some element of truth in it. But as a rule, I think an indifference to evangelism is more of an indication that my own hunger for God needs improvement.
I think the answers to these questions will turn out to be ‘a bit of both.’ There are other factors that come into it, of course, like fear and other objections I have with pushing ‘street evangelism’ on everyone. But I think these are questions worthy of consideration.