While in Savannah, Georgia, a few weeks ago, I noticed a unique convenience store and wanted to stop in and check it out. I had prayed that morning, like every morning, for the Lord to use me as a witness for Jesus, but I was not mindful of that prayer as I walked in the door.
After grabbing some snacks, paying the cashier, and beginning to exit, I felt what seemed like a strong prompting from the Holy Spirit to give a Gospel booklet to the young lady behind the counter.
I resisted for a moment, but then turned back toward her, having retrieved a Steps to Peace with God tract from my shirt pocket, handed it to her and said, ‘Could I give you one of these? It’s a booklet about your relationship with God.’
From that encounter she accepted the tract and began thumbing through it, which allowed time for me to share a thirty second salvation testimony. She then started asking questions like how I knew I needed to be saved and what difference becoming a Christian made in my life and on and on. I left that encounter believing that God was at work in her life and wanted to include me in His work.
What I experienced that day in the store is an example of lifestyle evangelism. It requires that we are praying, prepared, and sensitive to the leading of the Spirit as we interact with others throughout the day.
Many Christians wonder, “Should I carve out time on my calendar to share the Gospel with unbelievers? Or should I instead be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit to prompt my witness to the lost?”
Before I answer those questions, let me explain the difference between Intentional Evangelism and Lifestyle Evangelism.
Lifestyle Evangelism encourages Christ followers to share Jesus where they live, where they work, and where they play, just like in my story with the young lady at the store.
Intentional Evangelism requires a Christian to calendar time where they intentionally pray, prepare for, and plan to share the Gospel at a specific time.
A few weeks ago, I met a pastor in Henry County to go knock on doors and share the Gospel. We met in front of the church building at 2:30 pm. We took along materials to leave at the home, additional Gospel booklets, and a small soul-winners New Testament. He had picked out a street for us to visit. We went to eight homes and had five Gospel conversations in an hour. That is an example of Intentional Evangelism.
Now, back to the question – should evangelism be calendared or led by the Holy Spirit?
The Lord deserves both.
We will never fulfill our Lord’s command to take the Gospel to all the world without Intentional Evangelism and we will never witness to all who need Jesus without Lifestyle Evangelism. Do you practice evangelism as a lifestyle? Do you schedule time dedicated to sharing Jesus with unbelievers? Both are necessary practices for evangelistic leaders and doing both will make a difference in your own life and in the community and church where you serve.