I am writing for the anxious Christians who think they MUST evangelize, share their faith with all the people they meet. It’s not the responsibility of every Christian to make converts or even disciples for that matter. In general, believers are not told to go into the world and convince people to ‘accept Christ’ as if they fear for the souls of each person in their families, circles of friends or workplace.

But that’s what we are often made to think. How many books are there on ‘evangelism’, not sharing God’s love which is always a good thing, but rather trying to convince people to believe the same as we do.

If you read the New Testament, outside the Gospels, you will not find any explicit commands to evangelize anyone. You will however discover encouragement, commands, direction and even warnings about developing a Christ centered character, developing a lifestyle of love and forgiveness. And believe me, forgiveness is a lot harder than evangelism. You will learn how to love God, worship God and show God’s grace to those around you.

Paul, the Apostle, was certainly an evangelist but if you read his words to the churches and individuals he is most always writing about building up the body of Christ, the community of faith and developing a character whose chief quality is love.

In the Gospels let’s look at the words of Jesus. He called 12 disciples among others to be apostles and he directed them (Matthew 28) to go into the world and ‘make disciples’ which is more extensive and intensive than ‘converts’. This was a special assignment. On another occasion he sent 70 people to announce that God’s Kingdom had indeed come. He sent them as units of two to announce his coming, to prepare the towns and villages for he himself to come and preach. I am not sure how this translates into people going door to door, two by two, to win converts to a particular religion but that’s another matter.

See Jesus made disciples out of those who wanted to follow him. He was the premier evangelist but he does not declare that every follower needs to be a ‘soul winner’.

Billy Graham has been an evangelist. That’s his calling. But it’s not for everyone. We, individually, have been encouraged to be ready to give anyone an answer for how and why we believe in Christ and to do that with gentleness. (1Peter 3:15). Paul writes to the Ephesians church that ‘evangelism’ is a special gift given to some. One of those ‘some’ may be indeed one of us. But in general what we are commanded is to ‘have the mind of Christ’. We are to have the character of Christ, which will lead to loving others, even praying for one another and sharing Christ’s love with others. That will come in an almost natural way as we live with Christ day to day.

But don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE to be an evangelist. You can I are called to be followers of Christ in word and deed. We are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth wherever and to whomever God leads us. Listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying.


  1. I would ask then for clarification of the context usage here of the word “evangelism”. Seems to me I might not be seeing the fine line.

    • Hi Liza,
      Well, first of all I get a little nervous when any word has an ‘ism’ attached to it. That makes it sound like an ideology of some sort. The word ‘evangelism’ would then mean some kind of program to, in the best sense, share the good news (‘evangel’) with other people. Jesus came and made a blanket pronouncement of the ‘gospel’ which is ‘euangelion’ in the greek transliteration. That word becomes the ‘evangel’ and it means ‘message’, a Greek word announcing something good that is happening. My thinking is that anybody can announce the message that God loves them, that the Kingdom of God is here. That’s what Jesus said in the beatitudes. ‘Blessed are you for the Kingdom of God has come for you.’ And the people who wanted to trust that message did and some actually became disciples and some were appointed apostles and all of us are in some fashion ‘followers’ of this Jesus, with differing gifts as God chooses to give us.
      So after all that wandering let me say that it is enough to long for Christ to be formed in us as Paul writes in Galatians 4. As Jesus forms his life in ours let’s see what Jesus is up to- in us and through us. And you, the singer, the composer are as God wants you to be, a wonderful Christian woman sharing the good news in word and song. Keep at it my sister and friend.

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