Evangelism - The spreading of the christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.
Mission - An Important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel.
The more I know Jesus and his love, the harder it is for me to separate those two definitions above from my life, and from each other. I have spent the last two years living in completely opposite settings. For 1 year, I lived in different places all across the world; evangelizing in the mission field. This past year, I have been living in Jackson, Mississippi and working in the corporate world. Two very different settings; two very lost places. While I was overseas, it was clear that I was a missionary on a mission to spread the gospel. That journey started a year prior when I heard the Lord tell me to “go live the gospel”, which created the question “Lord, what does it look like for me to live the gospel?”. He kept showing me 1 John 2:6, “the one who says he remains in me, should walk just as he walked.” While I was on the mission field God started to really show me what a lifestyle of Christianity looked like.
First, it’s love. Jesus walked in the Father’s love. He was able to do this because He knew his father. As our intimacy with Jesus grows, so does our love for others. We can't help but be transformed into love when we spend time with Him, because God is love.
Second, Jesus walked in power. With the power of Holy Spirit, He was able to demonstrate the Father’s love. He healed the sick because He loved them, and that act of love glorified His' Father. In Acts 1:8 He said “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth”. We receive the gift of Holy Spirit so we can be His witness. To walk as he walked. Walking in power so that the signs from Holy Spirit will point to God, showing that he is the one true, LIVING God.
Lastly, God showed me that Jesus walked in authority. Without realizing the authority that we have, we can’t walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 10:7 He said “As you go, announce this: The kingdom of heaven has come near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin disease, and drive out demons.” Jesus didn’t tell us to pray for the sick, but to heal the sick! He’s saying as a son you have my authority, now use it. Once we realize the authority that we carry, we are able to love on others and glorify God with the power He has given us.
From my experience overseas as a missionary, evangelizing is very simple. It’s telling the individual or group about the personal goodness of Jesus in your life, the goodness of His love and grace that you have freely received from Him. Then following it up with the opportunity for Holy Spirit to make His love an instant reality with signs and wonders from above. When God heals or touches someone, it’s an automatic testimony to everyone in that town or village that Jesus is the true God of the universe, the God of power and of love. I saw God change the hearts and bodies of people in 3 different continents...something I didn’t want to stop seeing, but He brought me back home to America out of “missions”. Although I left the villages and slums of a foreign country, as a son, my life is a mission - an important assignment - an assignment to share and expose God’s love where ever there is darkness.
I moved down to Jackson, in the heart of the "bible belt", with a new job. The prior year, I lived in the middle of a Muslim country during Ramadan. I slept in a hut with a witch doctor down the road, befriended johns and prostitutes in the Asian red light districts, and yet, one of the darkest place I’ve been is in my current workplace. The mixture of greed and religious deception in that environment has seemingly numbed a lot of people to what true life is. When asking God to show me how to evangelize to these people in this setting, he was very quiet. He was quiet because he's already shown me what it looks like to evangelize on the mission field. I realized early on that it can sometimes be hard to really love the people that I work with. That feeling made me know that I needed to seek God’s face even more, so I can receive more of His love for them. That intimacy and deeper relationship started to manifest into encounters around the work place as my love for them grew. That love of Christ in me, created opportunities for people to see Holy Spirit’s power and authority and to rattle the religious spirit that many people around here are in bondage to.
I have seen God bring salvation to a remote unreached village, Buddhists receive healing and then bow their hearts to the true God, dozens of prisoners repent and receive Christ, the mute talk and the lame walk all over the world, and I continue to see Him change lives here at home. Simply sharing the genuine relationship that I have with Christ, can rock someone that has only known religion their whole lives and not Jesus. Telling someone at work with a bum knee that God wants to heal them can wake them enough to realize something is different. That difference is the relationship and genuine love of Jesus and the reality of the Holy Spirit active in us. Just as the gospel is new news to an unreached village, it is just as new to someone caught up in a religious life style. The news is GOOD to all, and evangelizing by living the gospel will change lives in whatever mission field you are in.
Although my heart is to go back overseas someday, the Lord has a mission for me to evangelize where I'm at. The religious world would say I’m not qualified to evangelize because I don’t have extensive head knowledge, I never went to bible college or studied in depth theology. The truth, just like it is for any child of Christ, is that I’m qualified because HE called me, called me to share the goodness that I’ve experienced in my own life. Qualified to walk in the Holy Spirit because it was a gift from God’s grace. Qualified to love others because he loved me first (1 John 4:19). Qualified to evangelize in the mission field, because as a son, evangelizing is just telling and showing others the love and grace I’ve experienced from my father. After all I have experienced, I have learned that evangelism is simply living the gospel.
By Daniel Pedron