In our new series, three Christians with the gift of the gab share how you can grow in sharing your faith. Here’s Andy Kind’s answers to our questions on evangelism
Place of birth: I’m just doing an interview, not trying to access my online banking
Day job: Comedian, preacher and newly appointed head of Evangelism at Youth For Christ
Complete the sentence: “If I wasn’t a Christian I’d probably be…”
“…a lot more famous as a comedian.”
How would you sum up the gospel in one sentence?
One word: Emmanuel. God with us.
OK, now give us the one paragraph version.
The gospel needs to answer the questions people are asking, so we shouldn’t just parrot the same aphorisms regardless of context. I hear people say: “I just present Christ.” OK, but there’s always a context. You could present a nomadic tribesman with a 16-setting breadmaker, but you’d also need to tell him how it worked and why. Nevertheless, the gospel will always focus on how relationship with Jesus can transform someone’s life.
Tell us the short version of your own testimony.
I was raised in a Christian home but without any Christian friends (I didn’t have a single Christian friend until I was 24). I went off the rails a tad at uni and realised thereafter that I’d lost something vital. When I started to meet and be guided by other Christians in my adult life, I was able to follow Jesus with less waywardness. I went from liking to subscribing, I suppose.
Where was the last place you shared the gospel?
I preached at my home church, Aylesbury Vineyard, for a guest invitation service.
Sharing your faith is not a driving test with minor and major faults
It was being streamed live across the globe on a station called Radio Christmas. Apparently the host of the show streaming it had stepped in last minute as a stand-in. He wasn’t a believer so he heard the gospel for the first time, made a decision for Jesus and probably put some Bing Crosby on like a pro. I like stories like that.
What’s your favourite Bible verse about evangelism?
“God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). Fear is a natural response, but it doesn’t have to own you – in fact, it doesn’t get to.
What would you say to someone who wants to grow in sharing their faith?
You don’t need tactics or courses or clever wordplay. You just need to choose to start a conversation. We are not results driven – sharing your faith is not a driving test with minor and major faults. Nor is it about saying the right spell with the right emphases. My common observation is that people actually make sharing the gospel too much about them. I’m worried, I can’t do it, what if I fail? Honestly, life isn’t a story about you. Also, it’s not about skillset. It’s not about gifting. It’s only ever about availability.
What’s your most embarrassing evangelism-related story?
I’d offered to pray for a female friend of mine about an issue she was struggling with. Next time I saw her, I wanted to let her know that I’d been really busy but had taken the time I had available to pray for her. And I could have just said: “Even though I’ve been really busy, I’ve taken the time I had available to pray for you,” rather than what I actually said, which was: “I was thinking about you in the shower the other day.”
What’s the best book on evangelism you’ve read?
I’ve heard great things about the Introverted Evangelist by Reuben Morley. But I don’t think you can beat the book of Acts.
Do you have a favourite quote or quip about evangelism?
“Evangelism doesn’t work” is my favourite. Two thousand years of global mission shows different. What doesn’t work is excuses.
I also like the phrase: “When the mouth is open for laughter, you can often shove in a little food for thought.” That’s why churches should book me for a comedy night.
Do you ever get discouraged after an evangelistic encounter? If so, how do you deal with that?
I almost always feel as though God has done something when I’m sharing the gospel. I’m almost always adrenalised by it. Not seeing the fruits of your labours is hard, but you don’t need to audit your output for the kingdom.
What role does prayer play in your ministry?
I will never understand how prayer works. But I know that it does. The difference between myself and the most effective evangelists is arguably prayer. They pray more than me.
I pray more than I used to but not as much as I’m going to.
The evangelist dead or alive who most inspires me is…
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about how the Church is doing when it comes to evangelism?
Because Christians tend to pick self-preservation over self-sacrifice. Lots of Christians want to be both saved and safe. It’s an observation rather than a condemnation, but we are simply not going to mobilise the Church to reach the lost while there’s a new series on Amazon Prime to work through. I do think the pandemic has shaken the nation and there’s a lot of low-hanging spiritual fruit out there. Who will get to it first, though?
What has most helped you grow in your gift?
What do you do to relax?
I walk and listen to short stories. I walked the Pennine Way this year: to relax.
Enjoyed that? You can also read Efram Buckle and Rachel Jordan-Wolf’s answers to these questions.