When people ask me if I am ever scared to evangelize, my answer is, “Most of the time.” Being a gifted evangelist does not mean fear goes away. It still plays a prominent part of most evangelism encounters.
My fear stems from the same thing that makes others afraid—the other person’s response. After all, there is always the possibility of rejection in one way or another.
I always take heart from the fact that even Paul the apostle experienced fear and asked other believers to pray that he would open his mouth “boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Requesting prayer for boldness implies a lack of it. If he was afraid, being such a gifted and committed ambassador for Christ, this suggests fear is a normal human experience.
Whenever I’m afraid, I start with prayer. I ask God in the quietness of my heart to give me boldness that will overtake my fear. I am delighted to tell you that never once has He failed to answer that request. As I pray, God gives me boldness that I did not have a few minutes earlier.
The second thing I do is ask myself two practical questions: 1.) How deeply do I love Christ, and 2.) How deeply do I care for the person to whom I am talking? If I love Christ, then my love for Him and obedience to Him is more important than anything else. If I care for the person I am talking to, what more important message do I have than the message of Christ’s death and resurrection? Nothing else I could say could change his eternal destiny. These common-sense questions have put me over the hump of fear many times.
When I combine prayer with the above questions, I experience the boldness I need to speak up, not clam up. This prayer and thought process takes 60 seconds or less. Each time it has made a phenomenal difference and causes me to aggressively grasp as many opportunities as I can to share the good news.