by David Souther
(Editor’s note: This is the 10th post in a series through Hebrews 11 called “In the Shadow of the Cloud.” We will be exploring what we can learn from those mentioned in this clouds of witnesses section.)
First Samuel 12 records the transfer of the leadership of Israel from Samuel to Saul. Samuel’s desire was to “end well” and he began his final address to the nation by testifying that he had walked before the Lord with integrity throughout his ministry. The people, in turn, publically affirmed Samuel’s ministry and character.
Integrity is important in every area of leadership and life, including evangelism. As Samuel was noted for his integrity in leading Israel, we should be noted for our integrity as we evangelize. How can this integrity best be seen?
- Be a person who has nothing to hide. As Samuel essentially said, “Show me what I have done wrong.” Be a person whose life supports your message.
- Be honest when you fail. Take ownership of your actions. NonChristians can understand imperfection, but they struggle with hypocrisy—when a person claims to be one thing but is really another.
- Say what you mean; mean what you say. Do what you promise to do. Be a promisekeeper in your relationships, not a promisebreaker.
- Do not exaggerate your testimony. If someone were to check out the details of your story, would they be as accurate as you have presented them?
- When participating in an evangelistic effort, be careful to speak truthfully when reporting results in evangelism. Err on the conservative side. If you feel 25 people may have responded to the invitation but you are not certain, it is better to say, “Somewhere between 20 to 30 responded,” than to say “about 30.” Until follow up is done, it is difficult to say how many actually understood the gospel and trusted in Christ.
- Be clear and straightforward with your invitation. Make the issue trusting Christ, not joining the church, getting baptized, signing a card, raising a hand, etc. Some of those are important, but not the core issue of salvation, which is faith alone in Christ alone.
As others observed Samuel, they had reason to say, “There walks a person of integrity.” As you follow the Lord in evangelism, could the same be said of you?
David Souther is president of EvanTell, Inc., a ministry committed to ensuring that more people hear the gospel in more and more places every day.