Evangelizing Under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit
This makes the fourth post in my series on evangelization, specifically carrying the Gospel message to those who could be considered anti-Christian. In my first post of this series, we touched on the fact that all of us are called to evangelize. You have been rescued to be part of the rescue team. When God created you, this was a part of your purpose.
In the second post, I went into detail about how the anti-Christian sees you, a follower of Christ. What I shared wasn’t information I read in a pamphlet. It was how I felt the first 50 years of my life as an anti-Christian myself. I know exactly what it is like to be an enemy of God and the Gospel message. While this isn’t something I am proud of, the lessons I learned the hard way can be beneficial to those new to evangelizing.
Then, in last week’s post, we discussed learning to share the Gospel message off track. Again, this is something I learned through personal experience. I can’t count how many times I approached someone who visibly needed Jesus in their life, but they turned away because of my approach. They didn’t need someone telling them that they are a sinner who needed to change their life. Instead, they needed to hear a message of love, hope, and blessings from someone who sacrificed to help them.
That’s where we will pick up this week, learning to evangelize off track and being led by the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to go back and read the previous three posts in this series. Also, I have recently published a new book, “Sowing in Hard Ground,” that can be purchased at this link.
I believe that the Holy Spirit should lead every interaction. There is extraordinary joy and freedom in letting the Holy Spirit guide your conversations. Indeed, it can be so freeing that it is addictive. I walk outside, open my arms up, and say something like, “I’m yours, Heavenly Father. For the next hour, all I have to do is your will. Lead me to the one who you prepared. Take my hand and guide me. Give me the words. I know nothing but Christ crucified. I have no responsibility but to be your instrument of love. Hallelujah!”
Believe that God’s Word is true. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. I have seen His miracles countless times when I am out with no agenda but to be present with the Gospel on my lips. In that time of just you and Him, when you are pure in heart for Him, you will get close to Him, and you will see Him. He will shape the conversation and bless it.
If you are not confident the Holy Spirit will be with you as I have just described, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Asking for a filling of the Holy Spirit is different from receiving the Holy Spirit when you come to faith. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the Apostles before He died, and they received the Spirit then. But then after Jesus was resurrected, He filled them with the Spirit. The Bible says that if you, as an imperfect being, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Please ask the Father persistently while you live in obedience to Him. And if you have access to a Spirit filled elder, ask them to lay hands on you and pray for you to be filled with the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is real, active, and present in the moment. Praying before you go out is excellent, but I have an essential tip: pray unceasingly while you are out. It is not time to catch up with a friend if you are out two by two; chatting diminishes the whole experience. Pray. Out loud or silently. Just keep praying for everyone you see. And if the street is empty, pray for the people who live in the houses. God meets you in your prayers and blesses you further. The Holy Spirit is present with you. You will love your time far more if you continuously pray while you are out.
Getting into a conversation with someone you meet and letting the Holy Spirit take it away is ideal. You following the Holy Spirit is my wholehearted recommendation. Just keep engaging with more people, and He will teach you everything you need to know.
“But,” some of you are thinking, “can’t we get a little more specific? Give me an example. How do you get from ‘Hello’ to a conversation about God?”
Connect: Notice something about them and remark kindly about it. Connect with them in their culture and interests. A piece of clothing, tattoo/jewelry, or something they are carrying are easy connecting points. “I just noticed your bag; it’s beautiful. Can I ask you what brand it is?” “I love your necklace; where did you get that?” “That’s a good-looking bike. I used to have a Kawasaki; tell me about your ride?” Please keep the conversation going by asking questions and let them talk.
Redirect: This seems like the most challenging part, but once you get used to trusting the Holy Spirit, you will find it far more straightforward than you fear. The redirects are nearly limitless in variety, but a couple of examples show how easy it happens. “By the way, I am a pastor/deacon/(wo)man of faith/Christian and was just out for a walk and silently praying for our community, is there anything I should pray about for you or your family later?” “I know this might seem out of the blue, but somehow we connected today, and I don’t think it is a coincidence. Do you happen to have a faith background of any type?” “I noticed while we were talking you have a cross there, is that important to you spiritually in any way?” “I noticed you have a slight limp. Do you have anyone praying for you?” Please keep the conversation going by asking questions and let them talk.
Track: The redirect allows you to ask questions about their faith. Your questions launch you into page one of the track, where you will explore their faith and find common ground.
By the way, there are times when the only thing to do is smile and hand them a track. And if that is all I can get accomplished, I want to make sure I have His message right in the track. This track is my best attempt to say His message accurately as a committed ambassador for our King.
Follow along with the track. Each page has two sections For You (background info that can help you prepare) and For Them (step by step to help them understand the page).
With next week’s post, we will start digging into the seven pages or steps of the track I created to share the Gospel message with others. We will look at how to start a conversation with the individual the Holy Spirit has led us to approach. What questions should you be asking, and what information should you be aiming to learn? This will be the first of seven pages I have used for years to lead an unbeliever to Christ.