Evangelism: A Different Perspective

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

      A message from Branson Despres:

Hey guys, Miles asked me to write the evangablog this week in order to provide a different perspective on taking steps of faith in sharing the gospel and being bold for what we believe.  I’m going to be completely honest, up until the beginning of this year I very rarely shared my faith with people and did my best to avoid any kind of spiritual conversations with people.  My primary excuse: my personality.  I am very introverted and reserved, and I rarely ever feel comfortable around people I don’t know.  I struggle having simple conversations with people I don’t know, and for the longest time I used this as my excuse to not share the gospel.  I would hear preachers speak on the importance of sharing our faith and the urgency that surrounds it, and I would have a sincere desire to do it, but I just couldn’t get past this excuse.  I know many of us in the college ministry see the loud, outgoing people like Miles, Thomas, and Hampton share their faith and encourage us to do the same, and we think “well, that’s easy for you to say you love talking to people.”  Adding my father, who is a full time evangelist, to that list for myself, it really made it easy for me to justify not sharing my faith in my own head.  This is obviously a completely wrong way to think, but it is really easy to let our minds justify “lukewarm” Christianity.  I just want to provide some encouragement to those of you who can relate on how I’ve begun to overcome this, and the unique effectiveness a reserved person can have when they share their faith.

       Coming into this year, I was overwhelmingly convicted about this, and I realized I couldn’t use my personality as an excuse any longer.  The first step that I took, which is what I would like to encourage all of you to do as well, was read and study.  I’m usually not a reader at all, but I made the effort to read several different books on growing my personal relationship with God (Practicing God’s Presence by Robert Elmer, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, and Chasing Elephants by Brent Crowe) and on sharing it with others (The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist  by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, and One Thing you Can’t do in Heaven by Mark Cahill).  All of these, of course, come second to the most important source we can possibly study for this topic, the Word of God.  The Bible should be where most of our time studying is spent, but we can still obtain very useful information on ways to apply scripture in our own personal lives, and different things that the Bible doesn’t directly address. I had a misconception that outgoing people were able to just decide to share the gospel effectively any time they wanted, but it does require studying to be able to know what you’re talking about regardless of personality (1 Peter 3:15). I believe this is necessary not only to be effective in sharing our faith, but also to be confident enough in what we believe to be able to overcome the initial fear.  This leads me to the second step I took, do it.

         This first time is going to be the hardest.  The first time I went out to share the gospel cold turkey was with Miles and Logan Dickinson on campus.  I was completely petrified to the point where I was physically shaking and I felt sick to my stomach.  Logan and I went together and had a conversation with two different guys and neither one went very well.  I stumbled over my words and was too nervous to think clearly.  However, I learned from the mistakes I made and I felt like I made a huge step in breaking down the barrier of fear.  The only way that sharing our faith gets easier is by doing it, the sort of “practice makes perfect” concept. I found that the more spiritual conversations I had as this semester progressed, the more comfortable I got with it, and the better I got at it from learning from the mistakes I made.  The fear and the feelings of inadequacy are always still there, but it gets easier and easier to overcome them.  Even Paul was afraid and asked twice in a row for his fellow believers to pray for him to be bold when he preached (Ephesians 6:19-20).  Without fear, there is no need for boldness and courage.  Boldness will always be necessary when we stand up for Christ, but the more steps of faith that we take, the easier it becomes to be courageous.

       Finally, I want to share a revelation that I had this past week about quiet people sharing their faith.  I had the opportunity last week to join some Christians from a church in Ohio who had traveled across the country to share the gospel on different college campuses.  While Miles and I were talking to an agnostic, he made a point about how he believed that Christians talk to people about their faith because it makes them feel good and helps them sleep at night.  Due to the fear that I experience from my personality, I had the chance to explain to him how that was not the case at all.  I explained how it most certainly did not make me feel good when I talk to people about my faith, but that I do it, for one, out of obedience but also out of genuine love and concern for the people I’m talking to.  This was the first point in the conversation where he didn’t have a response for us, and I could tell that it touched his heart and made him think.  Quiet, introverted people many times have the ability to affect non-Christians in a way that louder, more outgoing people cannot. Let’s not let excuses get in the way of sharing God’s love with others. 


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