In his book, "Sharing Your Faith Without Fear" William Fay gives the following definition of success in evangelism: "success is not bringing someone to Christ, rather success is acting out your Christian life, sharing the Gospel and trusting God for the results."
When Jesus gave the church its commission in Matthew 28:19-20, He tells us to “go, teach, baptize, and teach.” No where does He say we are to do the winning and the saving. All we do is go and teach, and then baptize and teach the ones who believe.
In 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, God tells us that we are just ministers. We plant; we water; God gives the increase. He is the Lord of the Harvest. The Holy Spirit convinces and convicts them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). People won’t even come to the Lord unless He draws them (John 6:44).
This definition of success in evangelism will affect the way we do evangelism in the following ways:
- We will be less prone to discouragement when we don’t see the results we would like to see.
- We could be tempted to not give it our best, to study, or to get training. We have to remember that we are the human vessels God has chosen to get the gospel out, so we should compassionately pray and care for people. We should get training and be ready to give an answer. If people are going to reject the gospel is should because of the offense of the cross not an offensive person.
- We will give God more glory, because when a soul get saved, it is God that saves them, not us.
- We will be humbled to rely more upon God through prayer and studying His Word, as we recognize how limited we are.
- We will rely more on the Word and the Holy Spirit to open men’s eyes rather than our illustrations or persuasiveness.
- We will focus more on being obedient to God and His Word rather than on numbers and results. Our focus will be on the process rather than the product.