Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Why It's Not Evangelism Until We Speak

Why It's Not Evangelism Until We Speak

Let me start with a question:

What is the best thing that has happened to you over the past three months?

It doesn’t have to be about faith or spirituality, though it might’ve felt close to a religious experience for you! It could be a promotion you received at work that finally validated your efforts. Or maybe it was the chance to relax on a tropical beach, reading the latest page-turner from your favorite author. Or maybe your granddaughter introduced herself to the world with health and vigor.

After you have an answer in mind, move on to the more important question.

Did you tell anyone about it?

Odds are, you did. An old marketing adage says you tell three others when you have a great experience with a brand. A more recent study put it higher—7.44 people to be exact. In sum, “people enjoy speaking of positive news and remember good news clearly” (Trnd.com).

We love sharing good news. In the retelling, we not only re-experience these wonderful moments, but we also spread those good vibrations around, allowing others to step into the same kind of wonder.

In fact, we’re all wired to share good news. God designed us in his image, so we’ve taken on, at least on our better days, some of his characteristics. And God himself loves to share good news. From the beginning of time when he proclaimed that all of creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:31), to the days he came to earth in the form of Jesus to launch the kingdom of God, our God has always been a bearer of good news.

Like God, we love sharing wonderful news. The Scriptures even speak highly of those who do: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Isa. 52:7).

But this brings us to a more puzzling question.

If we’re actually wired to share good news, why do many of us find ourselves hesitant, insecure or just plain resistant when it comes to talking about the very thing we say is the best hope for all of mankind, the greatest expression of love in the universe, the very climax upon which all of history hinges?

What keeps us from sharing the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus?

One of two things must be going on here. One, we don’t think someone else will receive it as good news. We wonder if they’ll turn their backs on the message and, more painfully, on us. Or two, we secretly don’t think it’s actually good news.

Is It Good News Now?

In my 20s, many winds converged into a spiritual storm in my soul. A number of personal setbacks had me wondering if ministry—or even keeping the faith—was worth it.

Among my personal issues, I also struggled through one that would affect my witness. Even though I was a full-time campus minister, a part-time seminarian and a “part-time” church planter, I couldn’t shake this one thought:

I didn’t know if I had good news to share.

I grew up thinking the central thrust of Jesus’ message was about our eternal destinies. As a follow-up phone operator for a televised evangelistic event, I was trained to ask: “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” The gospel, as it was taught to me, seemed like it was all about the afterlife.

We had to die to gain any of the benefits.

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James Choung, the national director of evangelism for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, teaches evangelism and missional leadership at Bethel Seminary San Diego. He helped plant the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, an urban multiethnic church in Cambridge, Mass., and is currently planting a missional community called the Vineyard Underground in Torrance, Calif.