Do you have the “right stuff” to preach the Truth consistently to spiritual seekers?
Through the years, I’ve noticed that true evangelistic communicators who are effective over the long haul share 10 essential traits. You might want to use these points as a checklist to see if these qualities are also true of you.
THE RIGHT GIFTS
There is no substitute for having the spiritual gifts of teaching/preaching and evangelism, in either order. The evangelism gift helps you to know what needs communicating from a seeker’s perspective; the teaching/preaching gift will help you to communicate it effectively for optimal life change.
THE RIGHT HEART
That is, a heart closely attuned to God. You must be able to draw upon a reservoir of spiritual depth as you prepare and present evangelistic messages on a regular basis. There is simply no substitute for an authentic and passionate relationship with Christ.
THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS WITH NONBELIEVERS
Jesus was called a friend of sinners and was falsely accused of being a drunkard and a glutton because He was so closely identified with spiritually lost people. If you don’t like seekers, they’ll know it. If you do like them, you’ll naturally spend enough time with them to know their world, their language and their needs. Each and every church leader needs to build at least one strong, deep, authentic and caring relationship with an unchurched person in his community and develop a vibrant, no-strings-attached friendship.
THE RIGHT WORK ETHIC
Paul encouraged Timothy to work hard at his ministry. It simply takes time and work to stay connected with what’s current in the world, to come up with fresh illustrations, and to do the writing and rewriting necessary to regularly produce powerful messages for seekers.
THE RIGHT COMMITMENT TO FEEDBACK
You need a spirit of humility to be willing to submit yourself to the kind of honest evaluation that will help you improve over time.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD POPULAR CULTURE
I’m tired of preachers who sniff that they’re above watching television. The truth is, they’ll probably never be effective in communicating with seekers. To relate to nonbelievers, you need to stay aware of trends in television, film, music and other areas of popular culture.
THE RIGHT SKILLS FOR EDIFYING BELIEVERS
Rarely are you speaking solely to seekers; usually, Christians are present as well. Even if your primary focus is reaching nonbelievers, make sure you include enough for those who are believers, so that they, too, are grateful they came.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD INNOVATION
It’s important to be open to fresh ways to bring an age-old message to a new generation. Doing so requires a willingness to experiment with creative approaches to programming, as well as message formats.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD THE GOSPEL
Always resist the temptation to water down the Gospel. Instead of transforming Christ’s message by removing the tough parts about sin and repentance, keep it intact but work at translating it into language, illustrations and art forms that contemporary people can relate to and respond to.
THE RIGHT KIND OF SKIN—THICK!
If you’re offering a message relevant to seekers, you will be criticized by Christians. Virtually every effective evangelist has been unfairly attacked by Christians who are more concerned about traditionalism than reaching hell-bound seekers with the only message in the world that can rewrite their eternal destination.
So, how many of these 10 points describe you? As best as you can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope you’ll cultivate these qualities in your life and ministry—and watch how God uses you through the years to help more and more seekers find eternal life through Christ.