Spiritual Disciplines: Evangelism

We continue our reading of Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life together this week by turning our time and attention to the topic of Evangelism. If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, you can read about it here: Will You Read Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life With Me? Last week, we discussed worship. In that post, we discovered that meditating on Scripture is unlocks yet another door to experiencing more of God. As we dwell on His Word our affections are stirred towards worship.  

Each week I issue something similar to the following reminder: delight not ritual and routine lead to the growth we seek. Simply walking through the motions won’t help you grow in godliness. Engaging in the Spiritual Disciplines because they get you more of Jesus helps you become more like Him. Keep this in mind each week as you study and read. 


Nothing causes more anxiety among Christians than to be reminded of the call to evangelism. Fear of rejection and what others might think keep too many of us from engaging our friends, family and especially strangers with the gospel. “Godliness requires that we discipline ourselves,” Whitney said, “in the practice of evangelism.” 

Evangelism is first and foremost a faithfulness issue. Will we be faithful to what the Lord calls us to do, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel? That’s exactly what God is calling Christians to do in every area of their lives—trust and obey Him—and talking about Jesus is no different. Yet so many of us remain content to seek obedience in other areas, while neglecting God’s clear call to point others to Him.  

Sharing the faith is expected to be natural and normative for the believer. “He calls all believers to be His witnesses,” Whitney said, “and provides them with both the power to witness and a powerful message.” Not only is it the calling on the believer's life, but an empowered calling. The Christian’s, “efforts in evangelism,” Whitney said, “are empowered by The Holy Spirit.”

He is with you, and working through your words to change hearts. It may not seem like it, but He is at work. Even when the door is slammed in your face, or when the person is hostile and aggressive towards you, The Spirit is doing His thing. Success in evangelism isn’t measured by outcomes, it’s measured by faithfulness.  

The gospel is the power of God for salvation and sharing it with others is His prescribed method for saving. “The goal is not just to rub shoulders with unbelievers,” Whitney said, “but to dialogue with them in such a way that their hearts and minds might be opened to the gospel.” In short, Christians are to build real, genuine and deep friendships with those far from God. 

Relationships are imperative for they provide the context in which we can ask good questions, comfort the hurting and love people well. Evangelism is at its heart relationship oriented. Yes there is much fruit in sharing Christ with strangers, but more often than not we are going to find a soft spot to land the plane and discuss deeper issues with those we know.  

This of course assumes we can clearly articulate the story of the Bible. “You can’t be saved by a gospel,” Whitney said, “you don’t understand and believe.” Christians must get comfortable having spiritual conversations and comfortable with discussing what God in Christ has done for them. They must learn the gospel inside and out. “There is a correlation between the pursuit of godliness and a passion for God’s message.” Whitney said, “The more we pursue Christ, the more we want to proclaim Christ.”  

The overarching principle of this chapter is this: God has called believers to share the good news of the gospel with those who don’t know Him. You have been shown much grace. Share it with others.  


I used to think that I wasn’t being faithful if I didn’t get a full gospel presentation into a conversation with a non-Christian. It wasn’t until I read Tactics by Greg Koukl that I realized that not every conversation needed one. Some encounters are brief and leave only the time for a question or two. Which is why I have found Greg’s guidance so helpful. Over the last year or so my goal has shifted from “get to the gospel as quickly as possible” to “ask them a good question that leaves them thinking.” 

The following two questions from Greg completely changed how I have spiritual conversations. When someone puts forth a differing view I quickly pull out these two questions. They help me learn what they mean in their own words and give me the lay of the land so that I know how to proceed.  

1. What do you mean by that?
2. How did you come to that conclusion?

Next Week

We will continue with the next chapter (chapter seven) of the book next Sunday. We’re in the middle of a series on Spiritual Disciplines, and would love for you to get the book and join in. Click here to see what ground we’ve covered so far. 

Your Turn

I’d like to hear what stood out to you this week. Please feel free to post your reflections, and thoughts in the comment section below. If you have shared your thoughts on your own blog, please link to it as well. Do not feel the need to be profound or to share something new. Simply share what caught your eye, or stirred your heart as you read. 

My 6 Favorite Books From 2016

We find ourselves nearing the end of yet another year. One in which I failed at two of my most ambitious goals, reading & writing. As the calendar turned from 2015 to 2016, I wanted to increase my intake and output of words. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for long, you’ll have noticed a definite drop in output. What you may not have noticed, unless you’re my wife, is that I have also failed to reach my reading goal for 2016. Perhaps I was a tad ambitious in putting together this year’s list by taking on several large volumes. Whatever the reason, I completed roughly half of my intention. 

Within the 25-30 books I did complete however, were several gems I’d like to share with you. If you’re still looking for that perfect gift to place under the tree for the avid reader you know, perhaps this list will help you find it. 

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan - Classic works of literature can be boring, meandering messes. As I’ve sought to read all the books the collective “they” says I should, I’ve been bogged down by author’s use of language or pace. Not so with Bunyan’s masterpiece. Intermingled in this beautiful story of Christian’s journey are biblical truths that instruct the mind and comfort the soul. As Christian makes his journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City his trials and temptations show us a familiar picture and point us to the Way. Wonderful in it’s use of language, and stunning in it’s simplicity this classic is one I plan to revisit often. 

On Writing Well by William Zinsser - This book now sits within arms reach of my desk. I often pull it down, flip through its pages and in so doing find exactly the help I need to finish my task. It serves as both an inspiration and a resource regardless of the project. If you have an interest in writing on any level, this book will guide you through rough seas and stormy gales until you’re safely home having created the best form of writing you can.      

On Writing by Stephen King - This is the only Stephen King book I’ll probably ever read, but I’m beyond glad I did. King is both immensely practical and wildly entertaining as he brings you along for the ride of how he became the writer we all know. His memoir style approach to the subject of writing is as insightful as any other book on the craft and is a joy to read, even if you have no interest in writing at all. 

Tactics by Greg Koukl - How often have you been in situations or conversations in which you felt the need to say something but weren’t sure what? In Tactics, Koukl gives you a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions with that often difficult cocktail of grace and truth. In this book you’ll learn how to frame a discussion gracefully and confidently. One of my favorite aspects of Koukl’s approach is that you can employ it from day one. There is no need to wait until you’ve finished the book to get in the game. He helps you turn any conversation into a discussion of significance, without being weird or strange.   

Do More Better by Tim Challies - There are so many resources and books out there on the topic of productivity. In a culture obsessed with getting things done, we are always on the hunt for the next nugget or hack that is going to fix everything. In this crowded space, a work has to be especially great to stand out. It was a breath of fresh air then, to download a copy of Tim Challies’ Do More Better. In this short, but powerful book Challies helps us step back and see productivity rightly and build a system to steward your gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. 

Church History In Plain Language by Bruce Shelley - It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing so much on the present and future that we forget to look at the past. What a mistake we make when we fail to consider our story and how we got here. While I haven’t quite finished reading this one, it has proven itself to be a great help already. Like most stories, this one starts with the beginning—the early church. After a very brief retelling of the life and ministry of Christ, Shelley picks up the trail of the rag tag group entrusted with carrying forth the good news of the gospel to the whole world.

Please note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Should you complete a purchase using a link from this post, at no extra cost to you, I would receive a small commission on the sale.

A Quick Simple Way To Improve At Sharing Your Faith

You're constantly surrounded by and bumping into people who don't know Christ. That person sitting next to you on the plane, in a coffee shop or standing behind you in line at the grocery store. Many of them don't know Christ, and might even be hostile to the gospel. You know you should talk to them about spiritual things, you may even want to, but for this reason or that you don't. Maybe you don't know where to begin or fear you won't be able to handle the objections they might throw out. 

Don't worry, you aren't alone. Most of us have been there at one time or another. I certainly have. 

Your heart's pounding like it'll jump out of your chest at any second, your palms are clamming up with sweat, and your knees are shaking like a leaf in the wind.  Voice trembling all along, you turn and say,

"Hello. I'm Scotty. What's your name?"

"Hi Scotty, great to meet you. My name's Eric."

Now what? You've introduced yourself and engaged them in conversation at the most basic level, but haven't a clue what say next.

"What do you believe about God?" You quickly stammer out.

"God? Only cotton headed ninny muggins believe in that stuff."


How do you respond? What do you say next? I doubt a real conversation would be this direct, and that the response of an atheist would include a reference to Elf, but it does have a ring of truth to it doesn't it.

We've all been party to or witnessed some awkward version of the above exchange. We mean well, and are willing to step up to the plate, but we haven't the first clue what to do once we get there. Most of the time we don't even get the bat off our shoulder.

Why is that? Don't we have deeply held convictions and reasoned arguments to support what we believe about God, The Bible and reality? Of course we do. The problem is that we don't have a clear, concise game plan. Think about it. Every great success in the world has a plan and works it. They craft it carefully and are ready when the moment strikes. The same is true when it comes to having spiritual conversations, its a pretty good idea to have a game plan. 

Greg Koukl has done the heavy lifting for us. He has carefully and thoughtfully crafted a game plan to help followers of Christ engage the world around them in a wise and gracious fashion. This game plan can be located in his book, Tactics: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions. 

Today, I want to share with you some of the most helpful and insightful aspects of Greg's book. Insights that I hope and pray will help you in your conversations this week, and encourage you to run grab your own copy of Tactics

Let's get down to business and discuss 

1. Leave a stone in their shoe

Greg completely shatters many of the preconceived notions too many of us have when it comes to evangelism. Early on he compels us to start thinking of spiritual conversations in a new light and to readjust our goals from getting to a full on gospel presentation in each and every conversation to "put a stone in someone's shoe". What does this odd but catchy phrase mean? It means leaving the other person with something worth thinking about, something that just gnaws at them in a good way.  

2. Get good at asking questions

By asking carefully selected questions you accomplish several things at the same time. You gain control of the conversation, keep it moving forward and keep things civil. Again the goal isn't to share the gospel in each and every conversation, it is to ask the right question and plant the right seed to get the other person thinking. Questions are one of the best vehicles for encouraging thoughtful dialogue. They are non threatening, friendly, and flattering. People love to share their opinion, its just that so few people ever take the time to ask. 

Question 1: "What do you mean by that?" 

Make them spell out their own view, specifically. In order to have a thoughtful conversation, you need to understand the other person's views. This question helps you gather valuable information on exactly what they think. Instead of staggering through the conversation assuming you know what they mean by this or that, this question is designed to help you get it straight from the horses mouth. You'll be surprised how often you're assumptions are wrong. Better still, you get them to spell it out in exact terms. No more guess work on your part. 

Question 2: "How did you come to that conclusion?"

They've made a claim and presented a view, now its time to make them defend it. It's not your job to refute their claim, it's up to them to prove it. Ask them to explain what has led them to drawing their particular conclusions. Intelligent views have supporting reasons. Make them spell these out. 

3. Plan ahead

There are certain topics that you can reasonably assume will come up as you're out and about. If you sat down for more than 10 mins. you could come up with dozens of objections that will be thrown your way. Get ready for them. If Adrian Beltre knew the next pitch was a fastball down the middle of the plate, you can be certain it'll end up about 20 rows deep. He's flat hit it out of the park. And so should you. Take some time to formulate and practice responses to common objections. This is where modern technology come in handy. Create notes in your favorite note taking app containing common questions, arguments and claims with your responses. That way you have them right there in your pocket everywhere you go. 

No one said evangelism would be easy stuff. Sometimes it leads to some down right nasty encounters. No matter how rude people are, or how poorly we think we've done it, hopefully we'll have left a stone in their shoe that gets them thinking. I have only scratched the surface on the immense help Greg provides in Tactics. It is one of those rare books that becomes a resource you will return to time and again the minute you finish it.