I used to hate the word 'evangelize'. To me it brought up images of super outgoing people getting in other's faces speaking at them about stuff they didn't want to hear.
For me it was kind of a personal prejudice - I have to admit I was envious of the people who had the self confidence and out-going personality that made conversation with strangers easy.
But I also wondered what it achieved. I wondered if sometimes it was counter productive.
I know how uncomfortable I feel when random people approach me trying to talk to me about stuff. Even if it's about things I care about - being surprised on the street is not normally the place I want to talk to about it. So I normally decline politely and keep walking. Or try to avoid eye contact completely. (I want to apologize to everyone I ever walked past who wanted to talk to me... I probably make it way more awkward.)
But I've kind of changed my mind. Please don't start approaching me trying to sell me anything. But when it comes to evagelism, I'm not so afraid of the word anymore.
I realised - do I want people to know Jesus? Do I believe God wants people to know Him?
Then it's not about me. It's about them.
Those people who are searching and needing to hear the good news. The best news. The only news that really matters.
And you know what, it's not random. I think that putting ourselves out there willing to speak means we are giving God permission to use us - and He knows those people who need to hear it and when.
Approaching random people and talking at them still won't work for anything. But approaching people who God has already been speaking to, or who are in some stage of a journey in knowing Jesus - that's not random.
It's possible, but I don't think we are going to get 'conversions' every time we speak to someone about God. I don't actually think that's even the aim.
But being unafraid to speak about Jesus means another step, another piece, another moment in someone else's life that may just be helping to point them in the right direction.
Like Esther, if we don't do it, someone else will.
Not all of us are gifted at it - some people will walk the city streets on a Friday night and talk to all sorts of people. For others, we can start with those close to us. Those we maybe walk by, or say hello to, or buy our coffee from every day. Or even our friends, who maybe know we go to church, or that we are some 'Jesus' person, but with whom we've never actually had a conversation about faith before.
Start as small as you like. But start. Start speaking the name of Jesus, who the world so desperately needs. Don't keep Him to yourself.
1 Corinthians 2:4
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power
Peace and joy. (Romans 5:1-11)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.