Evangelism can be intimidating. This is especially true for students who think that they're all alone in the effort. They walk up to their school feeling overwhelmed, like they're the last man standing. They're hesitant to post gospel truth on social media because it's not as appealing as everyone's selfies or "woman-crush-Wednesday."
They slouch in their desks because they're not sure how to raise an objection. Difficulty increases as feelings of intimidation and inadequacy come from people who are apparently uninterested. This often leads to isolation in evangelism.
Why is it like this? Pastor and evangelist, Greg Laurie, accurately describes this difficulty in evangelism: "There is one thing that both Christians and non-Christians have in common: they are both uptight about evangelism. Non-Christians are uptight about being evangelized, and Christians are uptight about evangelizing." So, how can we go from isolation to infiltration? How can we move from feeling uptight to starting an uprising? One primary way is to realize that you're not alone.
Here are five things to help students remember that they're not alone in their evangelism:
1. The Spirit Inside You
When we feel intimidated or inadequate in sharing our faith, we must remember that the very presence and power of God is within us—the Holy Spirit. It is his power that enables us to be witnesses for Jesus (cf. Acts 1:8). This understanding gave the apostle Paul the confidence to say, "My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). The power and presence of the Holy Spirit within you is greater than any of the evangelistic difficulties before you.
2. The Church Behind You
As fishers of men (Mark 1:17), we sometimes sit alone on the dock with our line in the water or we're working together in the deep blue sea for the big catch. Evangelism often has elements of both individual and team sports. But in both cases, evangelism was never intended to be strictly a solo effort. Sure, we have personal one-on-one conversations where we can't have the assistance of a Pastor or spiritual leader. But such conversations are backed and supported by the church, knowing that there is help in answering difficult questions and encouragement in showing other people how to follow the Lord. Whether we go out by ourselves, two by two (Mark 6:17), or with a large group, we can have confidence knowing that the church is behind us and has our back.
3. The Students Around You
It's a blessing when a Pastor or adult gets to tell young people about Jesus. However, something truly powerful happens when students share the gospel with their classmates and peers. They see that Christianity isn't just an adult thing, or something to do once you're done having "fun" in life; it's something worth living for right now in your youth. On campus, students cultivate community and hang out together based on common interests. Sports teams and clubs are good, but we should come together for the greatest of interests: knowing God and making him known. As students from all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles rise and rally together for the sake of the gospel on their campus, it will be a great witness in an environment of cliques, gossip, drama, and fleeting friendships. Find other Christians on campus, and love God and love others—together.
4. The Future Before You
This generation expects everything to come fast. We're on the edge of a nervous breakdown if our barista takes longer than two minutes or if we have a weak Wi-Fi signal. And regarding evangelism, we can get discouraged if we don't see quick conversions. But, don't worry; it's OK if they don't pray with you upon your first conversation. As we see in Scripture, evangelism and conversion are a lot like farming, with a process of planting and watering that lead to the growth that comes from God (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9; Mark 4:26-29). Since I've been out of high school, I have seen the fruit of several conversations and circumstances that I don't even really remember. Whether at church or through social media, former classmates have shared that the one simple conversation during summer school really got them thinking, or that the time I prayed for a group of friends at a funeral really impacted them. The future is before us, and we can have confidence that God will use our evangelism, whether we are planting or watering the seed of the gospel.
5. The God Above You
Sometimes it's as if we forget that God is on the throne, and that salvation is of the Lord. We don't literally forget these truths, but we lose sight of God's desire and miraculous ways of bringing about salvation. Like a mailman, it's our responsibility to simply deliver a message, without adding to or taking away from it. And since this message comes from the King of kings, we can have confidence that the God who is above all, will do only what he can do. Again, as Pastor Greg Laurie writes, "Our job, if you will, is to proclaim the gospel faithfully, lovingly, accurately, clearly, and understandably, and then let the Lord do His work with His message in His way."
Our students need to know that they're not alone. Empowering them with this truth can help move them from isolation to infiltration. Students, be encouraged in your evangelism, knowing that the Lord has you covered in all directions—inside, behind, around, before, and above.
Today's youth face unprecedented problems and pressures virtually unheard of a generation ago—sexting, cyberbullying, guns in school, the open extolment of sexual perversion, and a heightened antagonism towards Christianity. To live the life of a genuine Christ follower is revolutionary.
As believers, it is our responsibility to train this generation to confront the culture with the gospel. We are calling the young people of the church to cause an uprising and to reach out with the Good News of Christ.
In response to this great need, on July 19 Harvest Orange County is hosting a free one-day conference called Uprising: Confronting the Culture with the Gospel. Pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie, among others, will teach, train, and encourage ministry leaders and students to rise up for the purpose of evangelism.
Messages by: Greg Laurie, Steve Wilburn, Jason Powell
Music by: Citizens
July 19, 2014 | 9:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. PDT | FREE
Register for this free conference at: uprising.harvest.org