One of the greatest activities in which anyone could be involved is the spreading of the gospel of Christ. It is the concluding charge given by the Lord in both Matthew and Mark’s records of His earthly ministry. It was the Apostle Paul’s life’s mission, and it motivated him to his dying days. It is a fundamental part of New Testament church testimony, illustrated by Luke’s model church in Acts (Antioch, Acts 13) and Paul’s commendation of the church of the Thessalonians (1Thess 1:6-8). We need to encourage young believers to partner with us in this wonderful work.
One of the best ways to communicate anything to a younger generation, though, is to truly believe it ourselves. If we want those coming behind us to consider evangelism exciting and needful, we need to first be convinced of the same and convey that by our example. Winning lost souls (Prov 11:30) and seeing them progress and walk in the truth (3John 4) should be an immense source of joy to any believer and any local church. If we love people and model a joy in discipling others, this attitude will spread to others.
In fact, this principle of love in the fellowship of the local church is paramount. Our Lord Jesus taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). One of our best evangelistic tools, then, is a community of believers that love one another. Young believers will keenly sense the hypocrisy of our preaching if we fail to live out the gospel in the church ourselves. The work of evangelism is not a standalone ministry – it is part of building up the church (Eph 4:11-12). Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught, “Evangelism is pre-eminently dependent upon the quality of the Christian life which is known and enjoyed in the church.” Getting others involved in evangelism is not a separate thing from seeing them involved in the life of the church. General interest in local church life and encouraging their participation in broad terms will lead some to commitment in the local church’s evangelistic responsibility.
One way to involve young believers in evangelism is a regular children’s outreach. Youth work often requires the involvement of multiple people because there are several varying responsibilities. They don’t all require an experienced brother of great ability. The initiation and organization may rest primarily upon a mature believer, but responsibility can be shared and gradually shifted to others as they develop. In all assembly activity, the responsibility we commit to others needs to reflect their experience and maturity so that they are not over-tasked and discouraged.
The distribution of gospel tracts is a ministry open to every believer. It is often challenging and requires patience, but good conversations sometimes arise by offering someone a tract on the street. It is a valuable opportunity for young believers to learn to concisely share the truth, one on one. They will often need someone else to join them, and we cannot shirk our responsibility to train them. Similarly, mass distribution of gospel texts during a few days of Seed Sowers (or a similarly styled event) has been a fruitful experience for many. It is an easy entrance point into evangelistic activity, because there is minimal face-to-face interaction with those receiving texts. You merely leave the text at their door. The response rate in first world countries will normally be small, but the incorruptible seed is being sown. These events are normally combined with valuable occasions of Bible teaching sessions, and the fellowship enjoyed by being together for a spiritual purpose is an added blessing. Booths at fairs, exhibitions, and university campuses are prospective options also. Even sitting at a table promoting the gospel encourages the student to be open about his or her faith. Participating in ESL Bible classes might be a work for some. If the young believer has a knack for relating to our immigrant friends and can clearly explain things, these classes may serve as an open door.
Opportunities arise for some to visit a foreign country to help missionaries, but there is a monetary cost. If you are supportive of the individual traveling to another country to be involved in the gospel, consider helping them financially. They will be encouraged in their service by your expression of fellowship. Experiences on a mission field in one’s youth have contributed to the evangelistic burden of many. Likewise, reports from missionaries and evangelists of their work and how their interest developed will affect the hearts of others and will be used of the Lord to stimulate them to spread the gospel.
If people are going to be involved in spreading the gospel, it is vital that they be grounded in the doctrine of the gospel. Assemblies are responsible to teach the gospel, which goes beyond simply preaching it clearly in gospel meetings. Along with communicating the doctrine of the gospel and confirming their faith with apologetic teaching, some believers will be helped by focused sessions on how to share the gospel on a personal level. Young men can be helped by personal mentoring in gospel message preparation. Also consider encouraging young believers to participate in prayer meetings before gospel meetings. In this, as in all of the above, the power of example must be highlighted again. If we are praying without any sincere burden, do we expect others to be different? If we never invite or bring any contacts out to a gospel meeting, do we assume others will? Are we justified in expecting to produce in others what isn’t really in us? Evangelist D. L. Moody said, “a good example is far better than a good precept.”
There is definitely a need for evangelistic exercise, and sometimes when an individual gets a taste of gospel work, their interest is fueled, so try to involve others. But bear in mind that not everyone is called to the same ministry. It is how the Lord arranges the body; different believers have different burdens and abilities. Not everyone is going to be passionate about evangelism, and that’s okay. But we do want everyone to be passionate followers of Christ. The Lord Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Our prime need, then, is to help them foster their relationship with Christ and allow Him to use them as He will. A heart filled with Christ is more valuable than our methods and formulas. The love of God within them will overflow to a love for others, including perishing souls.