We’re often called weird, intolerant, and out of touch. We long to share words of life with others, to point them to the only source of hope, but our fear of rejection or backlash can hold us back. Stepping out with courage and intentionality can be extra hard for the shy introverts. But though it is important to boldly speak truth when God directs, regardless of what we do or don’t say, the gospel shines through. Or, as Jodie Wolfe explains, at least, it should.

Avoiding in-Your-Face Evangelism

by Jodie Wolfe


 I’m not an ‘in-your-face type’ of gal but chances are that phrase immediately stirred mental images of some folks you’ve come across. When I was in college, I was part of the Evangelism Team of our Christian Fellowship group. Not an easy thing for a timid introvert like me. After athletic events, our team handed out tracts and talked to people about how they could be assured of where they spent eternity.

My heart pounded, palms sweated, and most times I felt sick. It probably wasn’t encouraging to see a nervous girl, shaking and pale, talking to you about heaven. (Chuckle.) Since then, I’ve learned there are many ways to point to God. Not that we shouldn’t be bold when God asks, but it’s okay to be who He created us to be too. In fact, I think sometimes our faith shines through most clearly when we authentically share the hope of Christ.

I love the way Scripture talks about having a quiet or gentle spirit. Here are two of my favorite passages:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your woman sitting outside with text from 1 Peter 3 verses 3 and 4adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV).

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” ( 1 Timothy 2:1-4, ESV).

I firmly believe that I can point others to Christ through a quiet, meek spirit that hopefully shows God working through my life. I’m not afraid to share about my faith online or to say something when prompted. For me though, I think my greatest witness comes from how I live my life each day. My actions say so much more about how I respond when faced with difficulty. What are the first words out of my mouth when I’m mad, upset, or happy? Does my conduct show what is in my heart and point to a power within that’s made perfect in my weakness?

I have to ask myself, am I being an ‘in-your-face’ Christian, or am I living a quiet, meek life that points others to Him?


Let’s talk about this! We are each intentionally unique–by God’s design. We each have a glorious purpose–to know God and make Him known. When under Christ’s lordship, our uniqueness feeds directly into our purpose, meaning, God can use us as we are, whether we’re eloquent or stumble over our words, are outgoing or shy, creative or analytical. We are each imago dei, and as such, reveal Christ. What are your thoughts regarding Jodie’s post? Do you agree with her statement that a life lived well is the most powerful proclamation of the gospel we can give? When have you seen this to be true?

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Get to know Jodie!

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.

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Check out her latest release, To Claim Her Heart:

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn’t counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She’s willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie s determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

This morning I read a post on another blog about the diverse ways God reaches man and it got me thinking about my writing and how it’s changed over the past year. Hyper-calvinism tells us all we need to do is share the gospel, share the gospel, share the gospel and zap, the Holy Spirit reaches down and brings man to salvation. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s some truth to that in that apart from the working of the Holy Spirit, man cannot come to salvation. However, this approach–what I like to term, gospel tract saturation–fails to take into account human reasoning, and a great deal of the Bible.

I believe the Holy Spirit works in conjunction with the intellect, penetrating through the darkness that keeps man in rebellion against God while illuminating truth. Belief is assent at a heart and intellectual level. Taking both aspects into account strengthens our message.

Effective evangelism occurs in relationship.

Dropping a gospel tract at countless doorsteps won’t cut it. Oh, sure, perhaps five percent of those visited will probably make a confession of faith, but likely becaue someone else already laid the groundwork and you just happened to be there to reap the harvest.

Notice Jesus’ instructions to the disciples when He sent them out in Luke 9:1-6

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

When they reached a new village, they were to stay in one house. I believe this was to establish community. The age old saying is so true–people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Perhaps we need to spend as much time relationship building as we do proclaiming.

Effective evangelism adapts their approach to the listener

One of my favorite examples of this is in Acts 17. When speaking to the Romans, Paul reasoned with them, displaying the coherency of God.

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

And notice what God says in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Throughout Scripture their appears to be a pattern of the Holy Spirit working through human logic. This is not to say the gospel message is adapted, but instead, how we present it. The person sharing the message takes time to learn the unique barriers to faith held by each individual.

Effective Evangelism Takes the Time to Understand Their Audience

Notice the passage in Acts. When Paul entered the city, he observed the culture of the people around Him. He noticed their idols–their barriers to faith–then addressed those barriers in his message, demonstrating the superiority of the gospel message.

Have you ever talked with someone and felt like they didn’t hear a word you said? Or asked a question only to have them provide an irrelevant answer? A few nights ago, as I gathered among other believers, we talked of this very thing–how people came to Christ, and one man in our group asked an interesting question. The leader began to address the question, but never did, because he was too focused on 1) the information he wanted to convey and 2) how he interpreted the question based on number 1. The problem with this was, although the speaker reached his goal, he failed to reach his audience.

Effective Evangelism Addresses the Barriers to Faith

 Why is it so hard to reach this generation for Christ? Because they have years of contradicting information filling their brains. Some may not even know Creator God. That sounds ironic to us and I have heard countless sermons on how every American understands Christianity. Do they really? And if so, what version? The tidbits they see on billboards? The Christianity presented through universities, which devote texts upon texts attempting to demonstrate why the Bible is a myth and the resurrection a fable? Unless someone clearly laid out the truth to them, there is a good chance they may not know it. And in absence of a clear presentation of truth, they likely have formed an explanation of their own making.

“Let’s say we approach a twenty-four-year-old person with the intent of proclaiming the gospel to him. He has spent twenty-four-years doing what he wanted to do, establishing habits, and developing his own value system. Almost everything fed to him is contrary to the words of God. Let’s say we spend an hour with him, during which we clearly explain the Christian faith. Now what do we expect to happen? We expect him to conclude that the direction he is taking in life is wrong…Getting substantial results from proclamation presupposes some advance preparation of the hearers (planting and watering).” (pg. 72, Petersen, Living Proof.)

What about the examples in Scripture–those who heard the gospel and instantly converted? According to Petersen, they’d already been prepared. Time and time again, as you read the conversion accounts provided in Scripture, you’ll notice these people were often called, “God-fearing Jews from every nation” (Acts 2:5), or they were “a worshiper of God.” (Acts 16:14) Most often, those who made instant conversions already had a foundation upon which to build. When Paul spoke to Gentiles, who didn’t have a foundation for Creator God, he took the time to build it.

Effective evangelism speaks with humility

No one wants to feel stupid. No one wants to be cajoled into faith. Truly, most people want to feel as if they’ve arrived at the conclusion themselves. Our goal then is to gently guide our listener or reader into discovery, asking thought provoking questions and pointing them to the truth of Scripture.

So how does this apply to writers? As we write, we must always be alert to our reader, praying for wisdom, anticipating possible objections to faith, and addressing those barriers with God’s truth, found in His Word.

Let me give an example. Joanne Sher and I are working on a biblical fiction tween devo. As we write each story, we think of the unique challenges and obstacles our readers, students between the ages of 9-13, likely face, and make sure our main characters encounter the same struggles. For example, if I’m writing a story on obedience, it won’t help my reader if my main character instantly obeys. To truly be effective, my character must struggle with obedience as my  reader would, then reach a catalyst that moves them from disobedience to obedience. In doing so, my goal is to help my reader reach the same catalyst.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree or disagree? What are some effective ways you believe to reach others for Christ?