What makes evangelism effective? Is it a particular proven strategy, a clever way to pitch the promise of the gospel, or a personality that makes the message more palatable?
In his sermon “Attitudes of Effective Evangelism,” John MacArthur argues that it’s the motivation of the missionaries—not the cleverness of their message—that drives the work of evangelism and advances the progress of the gospel.
And let me tell you this: If you’re going to do evangelism, if you’re going to be a missionary, if you’re going to proclaim the kingdom of God, if you’re going to tell people about the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s going to start with an attitude. It’s going to start in the heart. You could train people till you’re blue in the face. You can give them all kinds of information, you can load their theological gun, you can give them strategies and methodologies. But effective evangelism is done by highly motivated people. Understand that. It’s not about training, it’s about motivation. It’s not about what you know. It’s about what you feel; it’s about what drives you.
John goes on to highlight five necessary attitudes and motivations that the Lord highlighted when He commissioned the seventy evangelists in Luke 10:1-4. It is those attitudes—compassion, prayer, urgency, vigilance, and trust—that inform and undergird the work of Christ’s kingdom missionaries.
Moreover, John MacArthur has encouragement for believers who don’t think they are called to the work of evangelism; that they don’t possess the necessary abilities and aptitudes to be missionaries for the kingdom of God.
The instruction and the interaction that Jesus has with the seventy is very helpful for us because we are virtually called to the same responsibility. We are witnesses to Christ in the world. That’s really the reason we’re here. As I’ve said on many occasions, we’ve been saved, and that’s partly to enjoy fellowship with God and with each other, but the fellowship is imperfect here, it’s not satisfying to us or God. We are saved to be obedient, but the obedience is limited, it’s neither satisfying to us or God. We are saved to worship, but the worship isn’t all it should be. It’s not perfect; neither does it satisfy our hearts or His. Why does He leave us here? Why not perfect fellowship, perfect obedience? Because there’s one thing you’ll never do in heaven and that’s evangelize lost people. The primary task of the church then is that. That’s why we’re here. And so we are, as it were, an extension of the seventy. We can’t be apostles, but we can be at this level.
The work of God’s kingdom is the task every believer has been called to. Just as Christ commissioned the seventy evangelists in Luke 10, He has likewise equipped and called us to the preaching of the gospel and the work of His kingdom.