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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

Evangelism "Lite" and the Great Commission

This post shares a simple approach to one of the most avoided directives of Christianity: Evangelism. Evangelism is rightfully considered the "tip of the spear," and few want to be on the front lines in the war for souls. But all mighty warriors for Christ begin somewhere, which may be in "Evangelism Lite." Best of all, EVERY Christian can do this!



But before we take to the evangelism battlefield armed with a dull spear against Goliath, let's first acknowledge some works that may (or may not) include evangelism: 



These works exemplify how Jesus "separates people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." Matthew 25:32 (ESV) because, as Jesus said, 


"...Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.." Matthew 28:40 


Thus, engaging in these works is tangible evidence that the fruit of the spirit is alive within us. We all should do something in one (or more) of these areas to reflect the Light of Christ. 


Good Works Supplement, Not Supplant, Evangelism


However, the above examples of good works supplement, not supplant, evangelism. Evangelism operationalizes the Great Commission as described in the following verses:



As you see in these verses, God's commandment to preach the gospel has serious consequences. For example, Mark 16:15-16: 


And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:15-16 (ESV)


Jesus is speaking about what happens to us after death. The works-based examples above address issues while on Earth. They may satisfy immediate physical, psychological, and emotional needs, but the individual's eternal state is still questioned. 


Consider how works-based serving and evangelism differ in the war for souls. I'll use the military analogy of serving in the rear echelon versus the front lines to help us see how different they are but why they don't need to be. 

 

Rear Echelon Serving and Front Lines Evangelism


Rear Echelon Service: Many Christian sisters and brothers eagerly sign up to feed the hungry, pass out bottled water, participate in clothing drives, welcome newcomers to church, and care for and encourage the sick. 


I consider these rear echelon because in essence:


  • They are safe

  • There is little chance of confrontation.

  • It's unlikely the person in need will say "no" to what we are offering (i.e., immediate relief)

  • The "world," with its myriad worldviews, will not be confronted directly about Jesus Christ and His role in their salvation.

  • They won't be confronted about sin or repentance.

  • The BIG question of where they will spend eternity won't be addressed.

  • They won't have Christian beliefs thrust upon them.


Front Lines Evangelism: Most Christians stay away from evangelism like a teenager stays away from chores. The reason is they find themselves at the tip of the spear on the front lines where:

  • They are out of their safe/comfort zone

  • There is a chance of confrontation

  • Most people will say "NO," usually politely but not always

  • Diverse worldviews will be challenged

  • Jesus will be given the honor and glory

  • The gospel is shared--unashamed

  • Sin and repentance are discussed 

  • One's eternity in heaven can be assured


Evangelism "Lite"


But here is where the dichotomy between good works and evangelism disappears. God does not call Christians to do one or the other. We are expected to do both.


Christians don't have the luxury of remaining safe in the rear echelon, far from the battle that wages in the world's streets. Instead, we are each called to active duty on the front lines of evangelism and the Great Commission. Souls are at stake.


Start Where You Are: Service Works and Evangelism "Lite"


Transitioning from service works only to evangelism is easy, and every Christian can do it. Here are a few examples of how you can start doing evangelism "lite" today. Start with the good works you are already doing. For example, if you:


  • Feed the hungry...you can also share with every person a gospel tract. 

  • Give out bottled water...you can talk about Jesus and His living water and how they can have it like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-30).

  • Welcome strangers...you can get to know them and their personal beliefs about Jesus and salvation.

  • Provide clothing...you can talk about the white robes worn by those in heaven and how they can have theirs too (Revelation 7:9-10). 

  • Care for the sick...you might tell them there will be no more pain and suffering in heaven (Revelation 21:1-4) and what they can do to rest assured. 


My purpose here isn't to provide a script for what to say. God will tell us if we ask.


Instead, I want to encourage us to integrate God's Word into every interaction as we help meet the needs of the lost. Look for every opportunity to share the gospel without fear or being ashamed. This is evangelism "lite."


Move Outside Your Comfort Zone


If you find incorporating your service work with evangelism "lite" easy, move outside your comfort zone. This may include planting seeds and watering seeds, such as:


  • Leaving gospel tracts on community bulletin boards

  • Offering gospel tracts to people you talk with at the park

  • Give a waiter/waitress a gospel track and invite them to attend church with you

  • Write a blog post on your own Christian website

  • Be a guest blog writer for an existing blog

  • Wear a Christian T-shirt (exp. John 3:16) and ask people if they are familiar with it

  • Talk with a friend or family member about their beliefs about salvation

  • Talk with other believers, and together with them, recommit your lives to Christ

  • Leave gospel tracts on doors (don't knock!)

  • Go door-knocking and share the gospel with the world! 


I integrate these seed planting/seed watering examples into my evangelism "lite" life. I believe God will illuminate new paths for you to follow to overcome doubt and strengthen your faith if you try some of these examples.



Concluding Thoughts


In this post, I shared a simple approach to evangelism, one of Christianity's most avoided directives. Evangelism is rightfully considered the "tip of the spear," and few want to be on the front lines in the war for souls.


However, it is easy to integrate service works with evangelism if we start where we are and gradually move outside our comfort zone. Best of all, EVERY Christian can do this! None need be in defiance of the Great Commission!

I use the above examples in my evangelism "lite" journey. What are your thoughts? Could any of this be helpful in your own walk with God?

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About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Missile Launch Officer with I.C.B.M's during the Cold War (1980's). Today, I'm an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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"I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

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