What do you feel when you hear the word, “evangelism”?
I came to faith in college through the influence of the incredible ministry, Campus Outreach. Those first few years when my faith was new, I easily expressed my story to others. It would come up naturally with a waitress or in a conversation with a friend. My new heart was easy to talk about and I was eager to share about how Jesus had rescued me.
Over time, I have become quite complacent in sharing God’s saving work in my life. It is now normal and just part of who I am. The “newness” of my salvation has worn off and my exuberance has dwindled.
How about you? Do you find it easy to communicate the story of Jesus to others? Are you comfortable with your own story of how you met Jesus and have words to express it?
One thing that holds me back in intentionally sharing my faith is the lack of compassion for others. I can be consumed with my own agenda and leave no time to meet someone new in my day. I do not see them as God sees them. I do not let my heart engage in their lives. I keep my distance and go to my next appointment.
What can we do to cultivate a heart of compassion that leads to evangelism?
Below is a simple exercise that will lead you through seeing others the way Jesus sees them. You can do this anywhere. You can do it as an intentional exercise with a group or your family or just randomly one day on your own.
For example, the next time you are waiting in line, pause and think of the verse, Matthew 9:36 “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Ask Jesus to move in your heart and to give you compassion for others. Ask Him to help you see the individual instead of the masses.
Read through this exercise below. Would you like to try it? We would love to hear about your experiences.
Evangelism Observation Exercise
Matthew 9:36 “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Purpose: to gain a heart for sharing the gospel message by prayerfully and intentionally pursuing compassion for others
1. Choose a location where you can observe a group of people (park, mall, store, airport, etc.)
Sit quietly with the Lord and ask Him to move your heart to compassion for others.
Why was Jesus moved with compassion when He observed the crowds? Matthew 9:36 “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
2. Why would Jesus describe the crowds as sheep without a shepherd? What does that mean?
3. Observe the crowd. Make note of any observations.
What relationships do you observe?
Imagine what their lives are like.
4. Pick a person or two to focus on.
What do you notice? Are they alone or with someone? What is their mood?
What might be their biggest challenge in life? What might be their greatest joy?
How does Jesus see this person? What would Jesus say about him or her?
If this person does not know Christ, what is their life like? What is their hope? What is their future?
Ask Jesus to move your heart to compassion.
Ask Jesus to help you love what He loves.
Pray for those you are observing. Ask Jesus to make Himself known to them. Ask Jesus to pursue them and change their hearts. Ask Jesus to meet their needs and to make His name great.
6. Communicate the gospel message.
If the Holy Spirit prompts you, be obedient and gently and humbly share your faith story with someone you observed today. Unsure how to do that? Invite them to community night or to an event at church.
Continue to ask Jesus for more opportunities to share HIS story with others.
7. What did you learn? What can you take away from this evangelism exercise? What do you need to learn to be more comfortable with being a laborer for Jesus? Share your experience with a friend.
Author: Amy Sylvestre Rock Creek Bible Church