Yesterday I introduced the idea that “evangelism” might be better termed “gospelism.” Doing so will help us see that evangelism is about revealing the gospel, whether by word or deed, and should not be equated with giving a one-size-fits-all, prepackaged, bullet-point presentation.
Let me try to explain in more detail what gospelism is.
A Definition of Gospelism
I propose the following definition of gospelism (aka Evangelism):
Gospelism is a way of life whereby, through our actions and words, we reveal the good news about Jesus to those who are being drawn ever closer to Jesus.
Let me unpack this definition of Gospelism
First, gospelism is a way of life.
The gospel is way more than just a set of Bible facts; it also contains truths about how live in light of those Bible facts. Therefore, while you can believe some of those facts without living them, those who do so don’t really understand the full gospel or it’s ramifications for our life.
Also, we can never assume we fully understand and live according to the gospel. There is always more to learn, and more to practice. Gospel truths are a way of life that take an entire life to develop.
Second, gospelism does not just about what we say, but also about what we do.
Since the good news about Jesus concerns all aspects of our physical and spiritual life, then we can live the gospel just as well as speak it. And how liberating this can be! We don’t have to beat ourselves over the head if the words didn’t come just right, or if we forgot eight of the fifteen points in the “gospel outline” that our pastor wrote up.
Sometimes, the best way of sharing the gospel will not require words at all. Among other things, “evangelism” can be simple acts of honesty, service, kindness, and grace toward other people. But most people don’t think about such things as evangelism, and so they don’t think they are “evangelists.”
Remember what St. Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the gospel always; if necessary, use words.” If we are living a life of love, grace, generosity, forgiveness, patience, honesty, sacrifice, etc, then our lives are living testimonies to the gospel, which is always more winsome than words.
This is why you should live intentionally for the gospel. Fill up at the same gas station every week. Use the same check-out person at the grocery store. Request the same server at the restaurant (and tip well). As we consistently live the gospel before people, they do take notice, and over time, the service aspects of the gospel may result in verbally sharing the eternal aspects of the gospel as well.
Finally, gospelizing is revealing the good news about Jesus to those who are being drawn ever closer to Jesus.
This liberates us from trying to pack the gospel down into one five minute conversation. It can’t be done, so don’t try. Since there is so much information to the gospel, it is impossible to share it with any one person in any one setting. Rather, only bits and pieces can be shared at any one time.
Therefore, “evangelism” can be viewed as a process, rather than a one-time event.
If we share or show a bit of the gospel to a person we will never see again, that’s okay, because they are in process just like we are, and God can bring others into their lives to show them more light. We must do our part, but we don’t have to do the whole part. We must always be looking for ways we can show or share the gospel with any and every person we encounter.
Similarly, if we are developing a relationship with a person, we know that we can’t dump the gospel truck on them, because (1) there is too much to share in one setting, and (2) we don’t know or practice it all ourselves. If we share the gospel with words, and they reject it, we can still be friends, because our life is “gospelism” (evangelism) just as much as our words.
So, start with gospelism today
To put is as simply as possible, I believe that Gospelism is anything, whether word or deed, which reveals the gospel to others.
See more on this Gospelism series:
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 1)
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 2)
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 3)
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 4)
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 5)
Evangelism is Gospelism (Part 6)
Want to learn more about the gospel? Take my new course, "The Gospel According to Scripture."
The entire course is free for those who join my online Discipleship group here on RedeemingGod.com. I can't wait to see you inside the course!