Evangelism by Speaking in Tongues

As far as I know, each one of us has been sent out to win souls for the kingdom of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us instructions to reach out to all corners of the world and spread the good news of His salvation. This makes us all partakers in the ministry of evangelism.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

In this article, I will talk about the role of the gift of speaking in tongues in the evangelism mission.

Foremost, speaking in tongues and evangelism go hand in hand. The first time speaking in tongues is mentioned in the bible, is on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples.

This event also marked the beginning of evangelism as the disciples received the boldness to spread the gospel of Christ.

Speaking in tongues in private

Some people believe that the gift of speaking in tongues is a private affair. They are not mistaken; however, this is not entirely true. Speaking in tongues is a wide gift that should be exercised both in private and in public, depending on the occasion.

Speaking in tongues privately applies when we are praying directly to God. These tongues cannot be understood by man.

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the spirit.

1 Corinthians 14:2

Speaking in tongues in public

On the other hand, we have tongues that are intended to be spoken in public. These are the same tongues described on the day of Pentecost.

The disciples of Jesus were speaking in tongues in the upper room and the people outside were able to not only hear them, but also understand the tongues. This is because the tongues were the languages of these people.

These kind of tongues are to be spoken in public because they convey a message that is directed to the people present.

The secret of evangelism

Human beings are intuitively drawn to activities or things that arouse interest. The more fascinating it is, the more attentive we become. In evangelism, God uses captivation to reveal Himself to His people.

The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is a good illustration of an evangelism mission. The first thing Jesus did was to amaze the woman by revealing her deepest secrets. The Samaritan woman was amazed and gave the Lord Jesus her undivided attention.

Speaking in tongues has an effect of amazement. On the day of Pentecost, the people were puzzled and others came to the conclusion that the disciples were drunk.

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Acts 2:12-13

The gifts of the Holy Spirit in general are powerful evangelical tools that naturally draw attention; more specifically the gift of speaking in tongues.

My experience with real human language tongues

God grants believers the grace to speak tongues that are actual human languages but completely unfamiliar to the speaker.

To further explain this, allow me to share an incident that happened in the church where I fellowship in Nairobi, Kenya.

We once hosted a Nigerian preacher who ministered to us during a night vigil. After the sermon, our resident pastor led us into praying for the visiting pastor, asking God to speak over his life.

During the prayer session, one particular lady began to speak in tongues and suddenly, the Nigerian pastor fell to his knees.

What sounded like mere tongues to the rest of the congregation, was a message from God spoken in fluent Yoruba; a Nigerian language that only the visiting pastor could understand.

Indeed, God had spoken to him through the young lady and he was able to translate the message to the rest of us.

God uses these kind of tongues to show the people that He knows them, cares for them and understands their language. In evangelism, it helps build rapport with people in a foreign land as they take the evangelist as one of them.

These tongues are spoken in public only when there is need. On the day of Pentecost, these kind of tongues were necessary because they symbolized a new dawn for the church. The Holy Spirit created awareness among the people in a language they could understand.

In summary, tongues can be directed to God for our own edification and can also be in the form of known human languages to pass God’s message to His people.

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