Does Scripture present us with any list of qualifications when it comes to evangelism? Do you have to have a degree or something? You have to at least have a minimum GPA from a good Bible College, right? Do you just need “the gift” of evangelism! Or perhaps evangelism should just be reserved for the professional pastor, missionary, professor or some other church leader.
The Apostle Paul came to the port city of Corinth where the people loved entertainment. It was a city enamored by eloquence and deeply impressed by fancy orators. The city was filled with people who relished the amusement of fancy phrases and clever words. The most impressive, the most eloquent and the most amusing storytellers were well paid, very prestigious, and greatly admired.
Is this what is needed in order to share the Gospel with people: orators, storytellers, and prestigious presenters? How did the Apostle Paul come to those in Corinth? “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
There is a wonderful “qualification” list in this passage. Verse 3 is one biblical grid through which to measure whether or not one is qualified. The Apostle Paul says, “I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.” Wow, I am qualified! In many ways evangelism boils down to speaking the truth about Christ and walking in total dependence upon God (power) and not in self (weakness).
My mentor and dear friend, evangelist/pastor Mike Shea, shared a quote from Charles Spurgeon with me years ago that I still carry in my wallet (he probably does as well). It reads: “Speak from the heart and never mind about eloquence. Do not speak after the manner of the orator; speak as a lover of souls and then you will have real eloquence. The oratory that allies itself with the dancing-master and practices before the looking glass and is fond of classical quotations and obscure verses from unknown poets is forever to be abhorred by you. Perishing sinners do not want your poetry, they want Christ!”
Clegguart Mitchell, Pastor