Evangelism has begun to be a taboo word in our culture. We are supposed to be politically correct, yet the call of the Great Commission still stands. How do we share the gospel in today’s time? Let’s look at 5 principles from the work of D.L. Moody and how they can be used.
1. Identify the need.
While in Chicago, Moody was especially known for reaching out to street kids. He provided them a safe and structured place, and this gave a ripe opportunity to share the gospel. Prioritizing care for the vulnerable is a major initiative.
In today’s middle-class America, the needs may not be as visibly apparent, but you do not have to dig deep to find the needs in your community. Can you create a safe place for people to come talk through the pain and hardships? Recently, I heard a story of a couple that decided to move their chairs and grill to their front yard, and they started inviting neighbors to stop by. They recognized the need to build community, and it provided the chance to share the gospel because they built relationships.
Moody once said, “We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.” Prayer should be the foundation of our works rather than the after-thought. Especially for those who have grown up in the Christian tradition, we tend to rely on our own strength and knowledge of scripture or the methods we have been taught to evangelize.
Great revival and gifts poured out during Moody’s ministry because he was humble enough to step out of the way and entreat God to fill the space he had.
3. Contribute to and build healthy churches
Evangelism is powerful, but what if the new believer steps into church and only finds an ugly representation of Christianity? The church can be a powerful testimony of how Christ transforms people. What is your witness?
One of the major works Moody invested in was making sure lay-people were effectively equipped to lead training in churches. Find your role in how you contribute to your church and encourage others in theirs. Our witness should be consistent in and outside the church doors.
4. Seek out training
One of the consistent stories you will hear about D.L. Moody is that he had limited education, but he consistently sought help and education throughout his ministry. He started off preaching more on the warnings of hell, but his teaching shifted when he heard someone preach on John 3:16 that God so loved the world. He was willing to adapt, not to please people, but due to receiving solid instruction.
Are you in a rut? Do you stay inside of your traditional comfort zone? Perhaps further training would help re-inspire you and challenge you to reach people in new ways.
Last, but most simply, is start inviting people. Throughout Moody biographies, you will find stories of him personally calling out individuals and bringing them along to his meetings and wrapping them into his work. People want to feel seen and known.
Evangelism is not hitting someone over the head with the gospel. It can often be a slow, steady walk of loving someone towards God. Inviting someone to a Bible study, a church event, an Easter service, may be the first step they need to know they are valued and welcomed regardless of who they are or where they have been. Make the ask and continue to follow up. Yes, there is fear in those first steps, but is that not the Enemy’s great attack- deceiving us into believing it won’t work or it won’t matter?