Maybe, to you, evangelism looks like standing out on a street corner or knocking on someone’s door with a gospel tract. So you don’t do it. Because after all, you’re introverted and not as studied in apologetics as you’d like. (Maybe a little bit scared of man? Proverbs 29:25.)
You might be surprised that we’re not here to beat you up about this. In fact, we’re going to tell you that it’s A-OK.
We are all called to share the gospel with words, but some people are specifically called to evangelism—we’re looking at you, pastor and missionary. Others are called to broader gospel-promoting work.
“For Christians in general—as opposed to evangelists in particular—telling the gospel to others (evangelism) could be described as the icing on the cake of mission,” writes John Dickson in The Best Kept-Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips. “It is certainly the most conspicuous part, and, once tasted, it will often be the sweetest part too, but for the typical Christian it is not the bulk of the task. It is not where most of our opportunities to promote Christ to others will be found.”
Instead of standing on the street corner or standing in front of a stranger’s door, more effective gospel-promoting work often looks like standing in your own kitchen. Often, the best precursor to actual evangelism is simply inviting people into your home, your life. Eventually, you get to that icing on the cake, as Dickson puts it, talking about your favorite thing in the world: Jesus.
Most of our everyday opportunities to promote Christ can be found in the realm of hospitality. Being hospitable, as opposed to being entertaining, means that even though you’re a homebody, you open the door when your neighbor drops off your mail and you invite her in for tea. It means that when your teenage daughter brings over a friend, you graciously serve that friend dinner—even though you hadn’t made enough for five. That kind of hospitality opens up further opportunities. When your other neighbor has to take her husband to the emergency room, she asks you to watch her children.
This hospitality says, “Come in and see my mess, be a part of my mess, and know that you are safe to share your mess as well.”
When people see your real life, they will want to know where your joy comes from, where your freedom to repent and be changed comes from.
This hospitality says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8).
Let’s win people over to something better: real truth, beauty, love, and joy. Even better if you’re doing it over grilled cheese sandwiches while your toddler throws a tantrum.
About the Author
Lindsey M. Roberts spent years writing exclusively for secular journalism, including such outlets as The Washington Post, Architect, and Gray magazine, before she first tried to write about Jesus. She’s thrilled to explore in words how everything from cleaning the kitchen three times a day to delighting in the maritime history of Nantucket is an opportunity to meet and glorify God. Lindsey lives with her husband, a pastor and U.S. Army Reserve chaplain, and two children in Wisconsin.