4 Phrases to Stop Using in Evangelism

Sometimes confusing phrases occur in evangelism, which tend to muddle people (especially children) and fail to communicate the clarity of the gospel and the need to trust in Christ alone.

Now please don’t misunderstand. People still get saved even when our words aren’t perfect. A person’s salvation is not dependent on us (thankfully), but on God. When I came to Christ, it was right after hearing one of the phrases below, and I remain forever grateful to that teacher who shared Christ with me.

Still, whenever possible, let’s make sure our language communicates the gospel message in the best way possible.

Phrases to Avoid:

#1—Give Your Heart to Jesus
The Bible never instructs us to give our hearts to God. It’s not about us giving anything to Him; It’s Him giving everything to us.

Further, this phrase may confuse younger children who tend to think in literal terms.

#2—Give Your Life to God
The New Testament doesn’t ask us to do this. It’s not us giving our lives to Him; it’s Him giving His life for us.

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

#3—Invite Christ into Your Heart
Some people use Revelation 3:20 (“Behold I stand at the door and knock…”) as a reason for this phrase. But, this overlooks the fact that this passage is addressed to Christians, not unbelievers. The issue here revolves around intimate fellowship between God and believers rather than one’s eternal salvation.

Further, this phrase still has the potential problem of confusing younger children, who may view the heart only as a blood-pumping organ.

#4—Would you like to pray to receive Christ?
Salvation is not an issue of praying, but an issue of trusting. The danger with this phrase is that a person may trust in a prayer instead of Christ. Prayer is simply how you tell God what you are doing.

Keeping three things in mind as we dialogue with others will help alleviate confusion: (1) We must come to God as sinners, (2) Recognize Christ died in our place and rose from the grave, and (3) Trust in Christ alone to save us.

Do you agree or disagree with these phrases? What phrases would you add to the list?

(Note: This article originally appeared on evantell.org/blog)

Sarah is the author of Bathsheba’s Responsibility in Light of Narrative Analysis, contributor to Vindicating the Vixens, and contributing editor for The Evangelism Study Bible. Some of her previous ministry experiences have included teaching and mentoring of adults and children in a wide variety of settings. Her small claim to fame is that she has worked with children of every age range from birth through high school over the past 20 years. She and her husband Ben reside in Richardson, Texas with their four children.