Should We Feel Guilty if We Are Not Evangelistic Enough?
I have a friend who gets along with strangers easily. She initiates to approach them and quickly engages them in a conversation. Pretty soon, she’s sharing the Gospel with them. When I’m with her and these moments happen, I say to myself, “Why am I not like her?” She is just one of those many others who can do these evangelistic conversations with ease.
I love to share the Gospel whenever I have the opportunity, and I wish I also have my friend’s ability to easily engage into evangelistic conversations. I can just imagine how many people would hear of the Gospel if I can just easily share with virtually every stranger I meet.
Admittedly, I feel guilty whenever I hear or know of people who can easily share the Gospel to strangers. It makes me feel inferior to those who can. But I now ask myself, “Should I really feel guilty and inferior?” Allow me to share my reflection.
Some Clarifications First
The issue we are tackling is not whether we should share the Gospel or not. Clearly, we must share the Gospel, as it is part of the Great Commission (“make disciples”) which Christ commands (Matthew 28:19-20). Rather, we will address the question, “Should we feel guilty, even inferior, if we are not ‘evangelistic’ enough as others do?” When I say “not evangelistic enough,” I mean to say not being able to easily engage with strangers and share them the Gospel. Take note of the word easily.
I believe that this concern is a matter of giftedness, personality, and leading of the Holy Spirit. I will discuss each of these factors briefly.
Giftedness. Evangelism is a gift (Ephesians 4:11). There are people who can easily turn any conversation into an evangelistic one. We call them evangelists. My friend is obviously graced with this gift; I believe I am not.
Personality. People have different personalities. Some are extroverts or outgoing; others are introverts or reserved. Some are loud-types; others are the silent-types. Some have strong personalities; others have timid ones. I believe I have oversimplified this topic here, but reality tells us that this is much more complicated. But in His wisdom, God gifted us with different personalities. We can tell if we can easily start a conversation with others, even with strangers, depending on the personality we have. My friend has an outgoing personality, and I do as well.
Leading of the Holy Spirit. I’d also like to call this opportunity. Of course, we can and we will only engage on evangelistic opportunities upon the leading of God’s Spirit. My friend and I only get to share the Gospel to strangers as the Spirit allows.
Let’s consider some possibilities.
It’s possible that one is not given the gift of evangelism. Obviously, this makes it harder for a person to share the Gospel, practically speaking at least (We all know that we can do all things, including evangelism, through Christ who strengthens us [Philippians 4:13]). So no matter how outgoing he is, if he is not gifted, then he can’t engage into a witness easily.
It’s also possible that one is gifted with evangelism, but don’t possess an outgoing personality. These people usually shares the Gospel when there is an evangelistic event in their church, or an evangelistic opportunity after the Sunday service, or when he has already established a relationship with a person who was recently just a stranger to him.
Finally, it’s also possible that a person is gifted and outgoing, but is not led by the Spirit to share the Gospel. So no matter how gifted and outgoing a person is, without the leading of the Spirit, one can’t share the Gospel or is simply sharing in vain.
My friend, obviously, is gifted, outgoing, and is most of the times led by the Spirit. I’m not gifted, but I’m outgoing. And most of the times, I’m not led by the Spirit (though I’m making a reflection; perhaps I’m just not that sensitive to His leading).
So Should We Feel Guilty?
My answer to the question: No!
In His wisdom, God gifted some people with evangelism. And also in His wisdom, He blessed some people with personalities that make it easy for them to turn any conversation into an evangelistic one. And finally, in His perfect time, His Spirit leads people to share the Gospel.
But in His grace, He chose some people whom He has given the gift of evangelism and a personality that easily transforms conversations into an evangelistic one, and whom He most of the times, if not always, leads to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So if you believe you are among those people, then be thankful to God and continue what you are doing.
If you aren’t, then don’t feel guilty. Rather, seek other ways to advance the Gospel. (I volunteer for my youth ministry as a Gospel sharer, even though I’m not gifted with evangelism. Every after the youth service, volunteers get to share to first-timers, who are assigned to them. This opportunity clearly does not require that a volunteer must be gifted and outgoing. What matters is they are led by the Spirit to share the Gospel. So with this opportunity available, I’m left with no excuse not to share the Gospel. And I’m sure there are lots more available out there).