One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to share their faith is the belief that only people with the spiritual gift of evangelism are called to do that. I’ve heard it many times, “I don’t have the gift of evangelism!” Or “Do you really expect everyone in your church to be willing and able to share their faith?” And the answer is “Yes!” So why do I believe everyone who follows Jesus should be able to explain why?
Firstly, while the vast majority of Christians don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism they are all called to let their lights shine. Jesus says, ‘let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Mt 5:16 ESV)’ The Apostle Peter writes, ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Pet 3:15 NIV)’ Just because we don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be reaching out to the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, just because evangelism isn’t your gift doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sharing the gospel. Often people misunderstand what a ‘spiritual gift’ is. A spiritual gift is a special enabling of the Holy Spirit, by which the Spirit works in a special way in and through the life of a follower of Jesus. As God’s people we are all called to ‘serve one another, (Gal 5:13)’ but some have the gift of service (Rom 12:7a). We are all encouraged to ‘teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, (Col 3:16)’ but some have the gift of teaching (Rom 12:7b)’ We are all called to ‘exhort one another every day, (Heb 3:13)’ and ‘encourage one another, (1 Thess 5:11 cf. Heb 10:25)’ but some have the gift of encouragement (Rom 12:8a). Paul says, ‘Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver, (2 Cor 9:7), but some people have the gift of giving (Rom 12:8b). We are all called to ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful, (Lk 6:36)’ but some have the gift of mercy and are called to exercise it with cheerfulness (Rom 12:8d). In the same manner, we are all called to share the gospel, but some have the gift of evangelism.
The question isn’t “Am I an evangelist?” The question is “Am I a Christian?” We follow Jesus because we believe that he is the Christ. We follow Jesus because through faith in him he has transformed our lives. Following Jesus is a whole new way of life, where we are called to be serve one another, teach one another, encourage one another, give generously, act mercifully, and share the Good News of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. For some of us the Spirit will work mightily as we faithfully proclaim the gospel, but whether we see the fruit of our efforts or not, we are all called to give the reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Next week I want to look at how we should share the gospel.
 This article was adapted from the Introduction of Organic Outreach for Ordinary People, by Kevin Harney (p14-15).