If our motive is to help everyone we know move one step closer to Christ, then everything we do in relationship with another person is evangelism.
When we invite people to go to dinner, play golf, attend an event . . . even go shopping, and do it with a spiritual motive (i.e. to build a relationship for the purpose of influencing that person toward Christ) then it’s evangelism.
Craig was a talented young sales rep in our company. As I got to know him, I saw his potential as both a business person and an ambassador for Christ. The only problem was that Craig wasn’t a believer! He had gone to church as a kid, but a conflict in his church coupled with the tragic death of a teenage friend had turned him off to ‘God stuff.’
I started to pray for Craig. He was an avid golfer, so I asked him to take me out for a round of golf. We discovered our mutual interest in auto racing, so we went to several races together. We were developing a friendship . . . a real friendship based on mutual interests and mutual respect. But how could I be a real friend and not try to help Craig discover the love of Christ?
Over the next several years, my friendship with Craig continued to grow. As I prayed for him, God continued to nudge me to keep investing in him . . . to keep telling him about the ways God was working in my life, and to stay focused on helping Craig find the Lord. Eventually, Craig agreed to study the Bible with me. Then, after a couple of months of Bible study and discussion, Craig decided he wanted to become a Christian.
So which conversation with Craig was the most important? Obviously, most people would say the one when he said ‘yes’ to Jesus. But would that conversation have ever taken place if it weren’t for all the other steps . . . the golf games, the race outings, and all our previous conversations?
Evangelism is a process not an event. I believe we’re called to love and serve people, and to help them move one step closer to Christ, regardless of what that next step is for them. If we will pray for the people God has placed in our lives, ask Him what He would have us do next and listen for his leading, He will show us those next steps.
And don’t forget that saving people isn’t our job. Only God can save a soul. Jesus was clear about this when He said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . .” (John 6:44a). Can we be involved? Yes. Can we be useful? You bet. But we’re only responsible for being intentional and making an effort . . . God is responsible for results.
So relax, love the people God has placed in your life. Accept them, serve them, pray for them . . . and look for opportunities to help them move to their next step. We can all do that!