Do all Christians have a responsibility to evangelize or just those who have the gift of evangelism?
I couldn’t say it more clearly than this—evangelism is an integral part of discipleship. I define a Christian as a person who comes to God as a sinner, recognizes Christ died for him and rose again, and trusts Christ alone to save him. A disciple, on the other hand, is a learner—someone who having trusted Christ now wants to follow after Him and learn more about Him.
The first lesson Christ ever taught disciples was evangelism, saying: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
From Christ’s own words, we learn that evangelism is first and foremost an issue of discipleship. A person can be a Christian and never speak to anyone about Christ. But if a believer desires to be a disciple, then in some way he must reach out to unbelievers. Evangelism, being on the mind of Christ, must be on the mind of a disciple.
Let’s step back and ask a more important question: even if evangelism were not an issue of discipleship, why would a believer not want to talk to somebody about Christ? Why would we not want to tell someone about the greatest gift we have ever received?
After all, Jesus promises: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any one snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
I’ve observed believers often avoid evangelizing out of fear. It’s not because they don’t understand the miracle of grace and the urgency to share it with others. It’s actually because they are afraid, or they don’t know how to express it well. Instead of dealing with what is hindering them, these believers sometimes use the excuse, “Well, I don’t have the gift.”
Instead of hiding behind such an excuse, I encourage believers to come to God and say, “Lord, I want to tell others about the greatest Person I have ever met and about the most important gift I have ever received. Teach me how to do this and help me overcome my fear.”
As God uses us to witness to others, we will find the desire to talk to more people about Christ increases as we see our lives being used for something eternal.