Rev. Daniel Thambyrajah Niles (1908–1970) was a major Christian leader in Asia for three decades and in his day among the most well-known Christian leaders in the world. His humble definition of evangelism remains my favorite: “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
This “telling others where to find bread” is Job #1 for the church (er, you and I who’s sustenance is Christ). Making and growing other disciples, evangelism, is why we are still here on this earth. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The method of evangelism every believer can use is “witnessing.” A witness does not have to solve anything. A witness simply tells the bit he or she knows… not from study in books or what others have said, but only what the witness, well… witnessed! – i.e., what the individual experienced personally.
Peter writes that every Christian should be ready at any time to do this: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15). This doesn’t mean you must be prepared to give an answer to every question a sceptic may have. It doesn’t mean you must be ready with an answer to the hope some other believer may have. (For sure all believers place there hope in the One Lord Christ, but each has their own unique experience and journey of faith.) But it does mean that each believer must so set apart Christ in their heart (look up the first part of this verse) as to joyfully tell of one’s experience and relationship with Him. Beyond this, it is OK for a witness to say “I don’t know!”
Consider the testimony of the once blind man whom Christ healed. (Read the whole story in John 9)
People who knew him: “How were your eyes opened?”
Man: “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
People: “Where is this man?”
Man: “I don’t know.”
Pharisees: “How did you receive sight?”
Man: “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”
Pharisees: “What have you to say about him?”
Man: “He is a prophet.”
Pharisees (to man’s parents): “Is this your son? Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
Man’s parents: “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.”
Pharisees (to man again): “Give glory to God by telling the truth. We know this man is a sinner.”
Man: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Remember, “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
We don’t need to know how to grow wheat, mill it, or bake a loaf. We don’t need to understand the process of digestion or the composition of its nutrients. We just need to partake of it ourselves, know that it is good, and point others to it.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
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