What is evangelism, exactly? A survey would probably tell us that it is a "fuzzy" word, one whose definition is not clear, either in popular culture or in the church. For some of those questioned, it would be a very positive word, creating feelings of embracing others with the loving arms of Christ. Unfortunately, for many more it would be a bad word, yoked with negative feelings and experiences. They might remember a pastor urging them to share their faith with others; or they may remember a lack of confidence because they "don't know the right things to say"; or they might have taken personally the rejection of their testimony.
But what does evangelism really mean? And how should we view it?
According to Storng's Greek Dictionary the word is euaggelizo. Eu means "good" or "well", Aggelizo is a messenger, an angel. Evangelism is literally to announce the good news, especially the Gospel.
Announce the Good News...where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Isaiah 52:7-12. "How lovely are the feet of him who brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation and says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" This tells us of a messenger who races from battle to tell the people that God has won and that they are delivered. V.12 "But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard." Not only are we bringing Christ's message of salvation to people who desperately need to hear it, but the Lord himself is going with us! And we may all be surprised at the way the Spirit can prompt a willing messenger to say the right things.
There are two things I believe we must...