Evangelism: a big word for the simple concept of sharing the good news of Jesus. Many of us start squirming when it comes to sharing our faith–what do I say? When do I say it? How will the other person react? Dr. Jerry Root says we can’t let those types of worries get in the way of loving people.

“I think many people are afraid, and they don’t need to be: perfect love casts out fear. If we rest in the love of God, that will begin to pour out of us to others.”

“Also, if I’m more afraid of what another person thinks of me, then I’ve maybe drifted towards a kind of idolatry where I make what they think of me more important what God thinks of me. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be concerned that I don’t come across as obnoxious, but I need to be motivated intrinsically by an overwhelming sense of God’s love.”

If we find ourselves worrying about saying the right things or trying to “convince people into the Kingdom,” Dr. Root says we may have the wrong idea about our ultimate goal.

“People need to know they’re loved by God, and there’s a thing called forgiveness. Human love as great, as far as it goes, but none of us have ever loved anybody perfectly, so we know we’ve probably never been perfectly loved…but we long to be. Plus, anybody who’s lived an honest life knows they’re messed up, and we long to know we can be forgiven and that things can be set right.”

“I think that we’re motivated by the wrong thing: we forget that people, fundamentally, would want to know they’re loved by God. Maybe they’re attaching their longing to the wrong object– if I make more money, if I have more sex, or accomplish this, or become famous, that’s going to do it for me– it will never do it for them. That longing tells me that people have a spiritual hunger. I just need to tap into that, and let them know there is hope for them: God loves them and forgives them.”

Dr. Root reminds us that sharing our faith isn’t about us; it’s simply about letting another person know they have a Father who dearly loves them. The more we’re motivated to model God’s love, and develop a genuine concern for that person’s spiritual needs, we can be comfortable sharing the truth of Jesus–and the healing and freedom He brings.

Dr. Jerry Root is a professor of evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as the Director of the Evangelism Initiative at the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.

Sharing your faith without fear

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