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The challenges of evangelism

Dr John Kirkby CBE John Kirkby
4 min

The word evangelism strikes fear into many a Christian heart.

We’ve heard the amazing stories of those blessed with the very special gift of drawing people to Christ in huge venues at events, but that gift is rare. Comparing ourselves to others will only result in disappointment and a feeling of sadness because we can’t do evangelism like that. However, Jesus teaches us that sharing Him with others is achievable in our everyday lives and relationships. Starting from a place of friendship, kindness and caring for others is something we can all do, to love our neighbour and let God use us how He will.

Carving out time

Bursting our Christian bubbles by simply opening ourselves up to meeting, doing life with and caring for others is putting our Christian values into action. But that takes time; we have busy lives, lots to do, no space to fit anything else in, even if that means not sharing the love of Jesus with others. Yet that is not what God intended for us. Where would our faith be now if Jesus and his disciples had kept themselves to themselves? Scary thought. 

Keep it simple, be open to those God is leading us to, open up at work, university, at the gym, waiting at the school gate - start a conversation and see what God does.

Overcoming the fear

There is fear associated with sharing our faith with others but that fear can be overcome by simply getting to know people first and not putting ourselves under any pressure. God is with us and for us and He will provide the opportunities for us but that can’t happen if we don’t step out first and make friends.

Will we be asked difficult questions? Yes! Will we feel under pressure to provide answers which look and sound like full on Gospel presentation? Probably. But Jesus didn’t do that with the woman at the well; he connected with her as a human being with human needs, he made himself approachable, and to a lady whom even to acknowledge in that time period would have been counter cultural. He asked her for a drink, he showed his vulnerability as a person in need of something from another person. Jesus had a very small window of opportunity on earth to show his love to others but we have a lifetime to explore, pray for, make time for sharing life with those God puts on our path.

Pray for God to open your heart to those around you, to push the fear away; who could you show kindness to or a smile? Show you care, just digging a little deeper when someone says they are fine but you get the feeling that they aren’t.

Keeping the love of Jesus a secret only to be shared with Christian friends is not an option.

Changing habits

It’s a lifestyle change, not a temporary shift in the way we approach life. It will take huge amounts of courage at times and in those situations that you dread might happen, but doing God's work was never going to be easy. You can be sure that when you start to ‘shine your light’ into the lives of those around you, it will change you. Put your trust in God to guide you, to give you the words, to give you a caring heart …start by making friends, love your neighbour and see what God does. 

Keeping the love of Jesus a secret only to be shared with Christian friends is not an option; we should view everyday with optimism and open our hearts to opportunities to share His love with those yet to know Him. 

Turn your desires into actions, be bold, be courageous, feel the fear and do it anyway!!

The Isaiah 61 Movement (i61m)

We all have good intentions, we know we should and we want to but somehow sharing life, faith and Jesus eludes us. Turn your good intentions into actions by joining the Isaiah 61 Movement, which was launched in March 2023 with the mission of empowering every Christian to confidently share Jesus. At the heart of the movement is the i61m app, where you can set your goals, track your progress and connect with others in the i61m community. Super charge your goals through prayer in your Christian groups and be inspired by a range of resources and support including the helpful i61@home videos, all available for free.

Find out more

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Written by

John Kirkby

Officially Dr John Kirkby CBE, but much prefers 'Johnny Boy'. Three times winner of The Sunday Times Best Leader. Honorary Doctor of Bradford Uni. Founder of Christians Against Poverty.

John had a tough life after his father died. He was arrested while debt collecting and charged with aggravated theft when a repossession went wrong in the 80's. Praise God he was eventually found not guilty and is now a front line Police chaplain with Leeds west. Only God!

John took up the personal challenge to share Jesus when God gave him Isaiah 61:1, and has founded i61m to to see every Christian confidently doing the same.