And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. -Luke 2:8-20
Three things happen that make the shepherds a model for evangelism:
They heard Good News. We are not all witnessed to by angels but faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). We have added video clips and graphics to our worship but preaching, teaching and singing together are still how we express ourselves in worship. If you are a Christian today someone undoubtedly told you about salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. You may have read a Gospel tract or found a Gideon Bible in a hotel room but chances are you then found or called someone you could talk to. The spoken word has always been the way we share the printed and living Word. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? (Rom 10:14)
They sought for and found Jesus. When any person hears the Gospel message he or she must decide what to do with that information. Faith is belief that leads to action. The shepherds said “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing.” Each person presented with the Gospel must decide if they believe what they are hearing and what they will do about it. Not making a choice is a choice that could have eternal consequences. If we really believe Jesus is who he says he is and will do the things he has promised to do then we will respond in faith, repent and believe. If you pass on Jesus then that means you must not believe something about his claim. You have either decided that you have not sinned, that Jesus does not cancel sins, that he was not dead, buried and resurrected or that he will not open the Lamb’s Book of Life and read from it on the day of judgement. God is not a man that he should lie (Num 23:19) and he is not slack concerning his promises (2 Peter 3:9).
They told others. They made known the saying and also returned, glorifying and praising God. They didn’t just find Jesus. They went out and told others. They worshipped in public causing everyone that heard them to wonder. The angels said the good tidings of great joy would be for all people and the shepherds began that very night to share it. They were not instructed in how to evangelize. They were not educated in theology or hermeneutics. Their natural response to finding Jesus was to tell others about him. You don’t need a stage, a platform or a large audience. Any Christian believer should be able to tell another person this is what Jesus did for me. A one on one private conversation may do more to reach the person you are talking to than a sanctuary full of people ever could. Whether you make a mission trip to a developing nation or build relationships with family, friends and neighbors, don’t keep the Good News you have found a secret.
With few exceptions or variation these are the steps taken by every believer. We heard the Good News, we found Christ, then we tell others. It started the night he was born and will continue until his return.