Someone recently described me as being “painfully shy” as a kid. If I remember the context correctly, I think she coupled her remarks with complimentary surprise that by adulthood, I had found my way out of my shell.
To be honest, I grieved a little bit to hear that my shyness had been painful for people around me. I don’t necessarily remember it being that way, but I do remember enjoying the world of my own imagination. I don’t like to use labels (culturally, I think we too often use labels as excuses for our misbehavior), but I do identify with some ‘introvert’ qualities. The biggest reason I identify this way is because I’ve recognized that I crave solitude to “recharge my battery.” I need time alone to collect my thoughts from the swirlings of my imagination, and I do that by crawling back into my shell.
Okay, so I lean toward introversion. That means that when it comes to my faith, I can keep it personal and leave the call of evangelism to the extroverts, right?
Evangelism is a call to ALL believers to be a messenger of good tidings, to share your joy! Isn’t it a joy worth sharing?
Charisma may not be my leading character quality, and socially, I sure don’t come declaring Jesus right out of the gate. I’m not proudly loaded with an arsenal of memorized scripture, and I’m not wired to make “cold calls” or stand on a street corner shouting inspiration through a megaphone. But my aversion to those things doesn’t disqualify me from the ability to win hearts for Christ. As a modern label, “evangelist” has left us with some twisted perceptions of the role. Understandably so, it’s not a job description the neatly pairs up with a perfect LinkedIn profile.
You may be thinking, “Yep, you’re describing me. So how can I be an evangelist? I don’t really know what to say.” Well, that’s ok. Sometimes being an evangelist means you’re not the person doing all the talking, but you are the one asking all the questions. Sometimes being an evangelist means being the friend who gives someone a ride home (when they’ve had too much to drink) and that can be just as effective as the preacher on Sunday’s stage. Evangelists are not just Bible scholars—they are lyricists, poets, painters and thinkers too. We can all be evangelists in our own way, expressed differently in our individual lives.
The Bible tells us to be gracious (Colossians 4:2-6), bold (Ephesians 6:19-20) and ready (1 Peter 3:25) when dealing with outsiders, or unbelievers. Here are my humble thoughts (or three tips) on how we can effectively be those very things.
- Be careful not to limit your circle of influence to just “believers” or “church friends.” The Christian huddle can easily crowd out your schedule. Be gracious enough to keep your life (time and space) open to others. Someone on the fringe needs you.
- Be bold in who you are. Focus on your joy and it will spread. Is it writing, art, music? God wants your passion for your craft, and He will use it for His glory.
- Instead of retreating, yield to the Holy Spirit. You’ll be at ready with wisdom and truth if you choose to yield to the Spirit who wants to equip you.
So—quiet thinkers, gentle spirits, introspective ones…. am I talking to you? Take heart! You can do this evangelist stuff, too! Your hope is not just for you—it’s meant to be shared. It’s a light for glory. And you’re not out to just leave an impression, you’re tasked with inspiring a path.