I was sitting in a desk on my first day of seminary and I was so nervous. Not flying-on-a-plane-with-snakes nervous… but nervous enough that I was well aware of my breathing.
But I wasn’t just nervous about starting seminary (although I definitely felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there). I was nervous because my first class was on evangelism. The word itself made me anxious. Here I was—starting seminary, feeling called to be a pastor—and the idea of evangelism terrified me. What kind of a pastor would that make me?
My anxiety only got worse as I began looking over the syllabus and saw that “evangelizing” someone was an actual assignment. I was going to get graded on sharing the gospel with someone.
I love the gospel. The gospel saved my life. So why was I so afraid to share it?
I know I’m not the only one who gets nervous just thinking about sharing Jesus with others. Most of us feel like we don’t know enough. That we wouldn’t be able to answer difficult theological or existential questions posed by our friends who don’t believe.
What I found during my seminary class on evangelism was that I actually knew a lot more than I thought. I learned that my story, told truthfully, was good news for those who were far from God but close to me. And because the class pushed (required) me to boldly pursue conversations about my faith with others, I grew in my relationship with Jesus. I needed Him so much during those conversations and in ways that I don’t often acknowledge that I need Him. I found myself praying before, during, and after conversations. It felt like Jesus and I were in something together.
Your story is no different than mine. Your story, told truthfully, is good news for those who are far from God but close to you.
I’d love for you to come be a part of a 4-week class on evangelism with me. I know it can be scary, but I believe that as this class pushes (requires) you to have meaningful conversations with people that matter deeply to God even though they don’t know it, He will surprise you with what He does in and through you.
Zach Van Dyke is one of the Teaching Ministers at Summit Church. He will be leading the 4-week Summit U class, Reconstructing Evangelism, starting on October 30th. To find out more details and to register for the class, please click here.