Mistakes we make in sharing the gospel

By Ken Whitten

To evangelize is not to win converts, but simply to announce the good news, irrespective to the results. To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord, He now offers forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. — John Stott

We all make mistakes when sharing our faith and, believe me, I have made them! Let me mention just two or three common errors we make when we share the gospel in an encounter with a friend, family member, work associate, or even a stranger.

One of my greatest failures is sharing the Bible, rather than the gospel.

The gospel is simple: “Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

Sometimes I get so apologetics-driven that I just ramble on and on about sin and creation, the virgin birth, heaven, hell, and before I know it, we’ve had a lengthy conversation about Jesus and the Bible, but I missed sharing the Gospel — the one truth that can change lives.

Do you know who reaches more people for Christ than anyone else? New believers. And the reason? They don’t know a whole lot. All they know is that Jesus died for them. Wow! How simple, yet profound!

Let me give you one more mistake I sometimes make in sharing my faith: Starting with the wrong question. The wrong question is, “Are you a Christian?” For many people that question can mean different things. It can mean “I’m a good person,” “I go to church,” “My wife is a Christian,” “My parents are Christians,” or “I’ve always been a Christian.”

Many times I’ll ask that question and have nowhere to go with the conversation when they reply, “Why yes, I am.” The right question to open up hearts for a conversation about spiritual things is “If you were to stand before a Holy God tonight, what percentage would you put on the fact He would let you into heaven?” Often I’ll hear, “Well, I’m pretty sure. I’d say 90 or 95 percent.”

But you and I know anything less than 100 percent means they may not know the gospel.

All of us make mistakes when sharing our faith. The goal is not to be presentation free, but gospel conversation free. Evangelism is not results. Evangelism is not your personal testimony. Evangelism is not equating a decision with sharing.

Let’s be free of those mistakes and take the pressure off. Let’s have gospel conversations, not gospel presentations. And remember, the only real mistake we make is quenching the Holy Spirit when He tells us to share our faith. And know this: Sharing your faith is simply sharing the gospel, which is gloriously simple and simply glorious!

Published May 30, 2018

Ken Whitten

Ken Whitten is the Pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. Idlewild Baptist Church was among the top 100 evangelistic churches in the country in 2014.