By Matt Henslee
Some say you never forget how to ride a bike. I proved this cliché true a few years ago when I bought a new bike after having not ridden one since my childhood.
A few months after my bike purchase, I completed 70.3 grueling miles in a Half Ironman triathlon in the heat of a Florida summer. (Side-note, before the competition, I thought Florida was flat. After a 56-mile bike ride, I realize I was wrong.)
While completing the triathlon wasn’t easy, riding a bike proved to be a skill I hadn’t forgotten. It felt natural.
Breathing and Blinking
Two other things that come natural to me are breathing and blinking.
Most of us breathe without giving it a second thought. Even in the Sacramento Mountains, where my runs find me breathing a bit harder and oxygen seems to be at a premium, I usually don’t think twice about the act of breathing.
Likewise, scientists say we blink an average of 15-20 times a minute or 1,200 times an hour. Yet, we hardly even notice we’re blinking unless a speck of dust or an eyelash makes it onto our eyes.
Blinking comes naturally even when we’re squinting into the noonday sun.
Could Evangelism Come This Naturally?
What if evangelism came as natural as breathing or blinking does? What if we spoke about the good news of Jesus Christ as effortlessly as we take a breath or blink our eyes?
Some Christians think declaring the gospel is the job of missionaries or evangelists, not the task of every follower of Christ. Why is that?
Maybe it’s like the fear my daughter had of falling off her bike—a fear that led her to want to wear enough pads to survive an atomic bomb. When it comes to evangelism, some of us are so afraid of messing up or saying the wrong thing that we simply choose to not tell people about Jesus.
We also claim the lack time as an excuse—cramming our days so full of activities that we believe there’s no time left to learn how to share the good news, let alone actually do it.
We can look at our calendars to get a good idea of what we consider important. Is evangelism on that list or are activities getting in the way of our call to share the gospel?
It Takes a Choice
When my daughters wanted to learn to ride their bikes, they had to choose to put excuses aside. They had to let go of their fear, buckle the straps on their helmets, kneepads, and elbow guards, and take the time to get bike-riding right.
As they learned how to ride, the minutes bled into hours and the hours turned into days. As they fell off and learned to get back up again, little scratches multiplied like the fish and the loaves.
But guess what? Today, all of our girls now ride their bikes as effortlessly as they breathe and blink.
Put Away the Excuses
It’s easy to let excuses like fear or full schedules keep us from following our Lord’s command to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded” (Matthew 28:19).
The issue of time, however, should be the easiest nut to crack. Jesus commands evangelism, and the lost are all around us, walking right toward hell. Do we love them enough to warn them? Do we love the Lord enough to follow His command?
As for fear, I believe if we make time to evangelize and believe our Lord’s promise to be with us as we declare His victory over sin and shame, then our fear will wash away.
Further, if we’ll strap on our helmets to learn and practice an effective evangelism strategy—whether it’s the Roman Road, the ABCs of Becoming a Christian, 3 Circles, or whatever other method you prefer—our confidence will build every time we jump on the ‘bike’ that is evangelism.
Just Do It
My friends, Jesus is with us as we share His good news with the world around us. As ambassadors for Christ, we have but one thing to declare: “Be reconciled to God.”
We call out to the lost around us, “Repent and believe!” We can walk them down the Roman Road or we can tell them about the Four Spiritual Laws. But the key is to just do it!
So, I encourage you to take the time to learn and get comfortable with an evangelism strategy. Practice it, and then step out into the world declaring the good news!
The more you share the gospel, the more evangelism will become as natural as breathing and blinking—just as it was when you learned how to ride a bike, which only happened because you took the time to learn, practice, and to toss your fear away along with your training wheels.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico, husband of Rebecca, and father of four beautiful princesses. You can also connect with him on Facebook and hear his podcast at Not Another Baptist Podcast.