The Most Taboo Conversation in the Church

By Annie Garman

The other day it struck me. Don’t get too excited. Most of you will either furrow your brow or roll your eyes at my epiphany, because, yes, DUH…this is an obvious one. However, it became real and clear and loud to me just last month.

I have influence in my church simply because I’m married to the pastor. Not just that, but—Wow—what do I want to do with that influence?

Sure, I could host killer Thirty One parties and get massive discounts (which I’ve done), or influence which curriculum is taught or possibly even leverage my desires for the order of service. All of these are fine and good.

However, I think one of the best ways to wield our influence, as ministry wives is to practice personal evangelism.

Recently, I came across a post by Thomas Rainer that resonated with me so deeply that I put a copy of it by my kitchen sink and so I could pray it every morning.

In his open letter to his (and my) denomination, he begins by confronting himself and his need to love Jesus more deeply and tell others about Him.

“I am asking God to put people in my life where I can show His love, and tell them about my Savior…My life’s desire is to glorify God by loving Him with all my heart. And I have no right to say that unless I am so much in love with Him that I “am unable to stop speaking about what (I) have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Evangelism must be as natural to me as breathing.” 

He ends by pleading with pastors and church leaders to be an evangelistic example in the churches God has called them to serve.

His final line I have turned into my personal plea. “God, break me until I am ALL YOURS, telling others about Your Son every day.”

Since praying this letter, God has been stirring in my heart a desire both to be a missionary in my community and to lead others in my church to think like missionaries.

Only…it’s just so HARD.

Last week I was talking with another church planting wife about evangelism. “It kinda concerns me…” I said to her. “I can’t really think of a time when someone from church has asked me who I’m sharing the gospel with and how they can pray for me about that…it’s almost like a taboo subject…IN THE CHURCH!!” The truth is, I feel awkward asking people that question because I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable or judged. But, if these conversations aren’t happening and we aren’t really reaching out to where it’s uncomfortable, then are we really doing what Jesus has left us to do?

I want to spend the next couple of blog posts encouraging us to think about this delicate but important subject. What has your relationship with evangelism been like? Is it something you’ve left to your husband because it intimidates you? What are your biggest fears about sharing Christ? I want to explore these questions and help us all examine the barriers we have to sharing the gospel. Not only that, but I want to begin a conversation about HOW we can develop intentional relationships with those outside our Christian circles.

I believe that as we (ministry wives) face our fears and begin to share Christ (because we just can’t HELP speaking what we’ve seen and heard), we will model to a watching congregation an aspect of Christianity that is vital, yet dying.

You have influence in your church. What are you doing with it?

Published April 30, 2014

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Annie Garman

Annie and her husband Colby live in Northern Virginia where Colby serves as the teaching pastor of Pillar Church. Before their church ministry days, they served for two years as IMB missionaries in Iceland. Annie spends her days taking care of her four daughters, writing and ministering at her local church. She shares about motherhood, mayhem, and the meaning of life from a place of transparency at