I hear this a lot. “You’ve got the gift of evangelism.” When people learn that you strongly disagree with that assessment, they might rephrase it slightly, with the same meaning. “I could never do that.” Some are even more honest and say, “well, I’m glad YOU’RE out there doing that” because they don’t feel comfortable talking to people about Jesus Christ, even though they know that they should.
Let me clear up a common misconception about this “gift of evangelism” as it pertains to me. I am an introvert by nature, I prefer to be behind the scenes, am not comfortable in the spotlight, and generally try to avoid crowds. I’ll speak up in a meeting or group setting if I feel something needs to be said, but I’d just as soon let someone else mention it instead. I am not outgoing. I do not like confrontation. I do not like discussing controversial subjects, debating or defending my own beliefs. I am quiet and prefer to be left alone.
Yet I am known as the guy who goes out on the street and shares the Gospel. Look back through that prior paragraph, are these some of your excuses? Or do you have the “gift of evangelism”?
That gift, spoken of in Ephesians 4:11-12, is not the same as witnessing. An evangelist is the one training and equipping others to share their faith, not the only one witnessing.
Read the verse carefully, "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were given to prepare God's people for works" - what kind of works, what is the purpose? "In order to build up the body of Christ." How is that done? By witnessing to people, for how else can they come except by hearing the Gospel (Romans 10:13-14, 17) .
If I have the "gift of evangelism", then it is my job to train and equip YOU to go out and share your faith. If you refuse that, then you will be held accountable for your disobedience when you stand before God.
And think about this. Everyone of us who is saved has come to faith because someone shared with us. What if - one hundred years ago, or two hundred, or five hundred, or a thousand, or even two thousand years ago - the believers decided that they didn't have this particular "gift"?
If you are saved, you are commanded to share the Gospel. This is very clear in Scripture and it isn't something strange or foreign, it’s actually human nature! When we find something of value, we tend to share that knowledge with others. Except the Gospel. Why is that?
As a famous atheist once said, “How much do you have to hate someone, to really believe that eternal life is available and not tell them that?” Well, I’d take it a step further. According to the Bible, which I believe, Hell is a reality, it’s eternal and most people are on their way there.
How much more do you have to hate them not to warn them of that reality and tell them the truth that they might be saved?