Most instances of evangelistic activity in Scripture are found in the extraordinary public ministries of Christ and the Apostles. The four Gospels and the book of Acts include a litany of their remarkable soul-winning endeavors. Moreover, the New Testament Epistles are sprinkled with autobiographical accounts of Apostolic courage in soul winning, recounting evangelistic outreach to unsaved Jews and Gentiles in settings that were often hostile. Due to Scripture’s emphasis upon the exceptional evangelistic ministries of Christ and His Apostles, sometimes soul winning is taught in a way that scares the Christian laity into thinking that they must evangelize in the same manner or not at all. While all Christians can certainly learn from the outreach activity of Jesus and the Apostles, we must distinguish their unique ministries from the more ordinary evangelism to which all Christians are called.
Rather than heap guilt on regular Christians for not soul winning on street corners or in market squares (which few believers are called or gifted to do), wouldn’t it be far better to foster a view of evangelism that naturally flows from the ordinary rhythms of daily life and weekly schedules? Shouldn’t we view gospel witness primarily as the overflow of a sincere walk with God in the particular sphere in which God has placed us?
God is sovereign, and in His sovereignty He has placed each one of us right where He wants us (Ps. 115:3; Acts 17:26–27). You may wish to be somewhere else, but right now you are exactly where God wants you to be. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9; see Rom. 8:28). Therefore, God calls us to reach the lost right where we are. He has sovereignly placed us in a distinct sphere of influence, in part, to reach out to nonbelievers with the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dear believer, God by His sovereign hand has put you in a specific community and planted you in a particular neighborhood or apartment building. He has also given you a distinct vocation. Why? In part, so that you would shine the light of the gospel to those around you in the ordinary course of your life.
To be sure, there will be occasions for more strategic forms of gospel outreach such as door-to-door evangelism or special outreach events. However, what has proven to be the best and most effective kind of outreach is a consistent witness in word and deed within the contours of ordinary life—a gospel conversation with an unbelieving coworker at the office, a word about God’s saving grace to an unchurched parent at your child’s soccer match, a discussion about gospel-driven parenting with a group of unsaved young mothers at the park, or a call from a lost family member who requests counsel during a crisis. These examples teach us that evangelism is less a task and more a way of life.