Simmons and family bold in evangelism
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – After almost three years of sharing the Gospel consistently, Geoff Simmons understands the anxiety believers feel when approaching people to speak about Christ. He still feels butterflies in his stomach, although he is determined to make them “fly in formation.” Greater than any anxiety in proclaiming the Gospel, however, is his fear of remaining silent.
“For 16 years, I was a Christian, and I never told one person about Christ,” says Simmons, who placed his faith in Christ as a teenager. With no one to disciple him, Simmons “drifted away from Christ” for many years. In 2009, however, God broke his heart and opened his eyes to people’s need for the Gospel.
“I was very much chasing the American way of life,” Simmons says. “I did not want to meet my Maker one day and say, ‘You know, God, I sure did make a lot of money.’”
Simmons wanted to begin sharing the Gospel, but had no idea how to do this, so he enrolled in a “Share Jesus Without Fear” class at church. One Wednesday night after this class, he bought a “Share Jesus Without Fear” New Testament and has carried it in his pocket ever since.
The following day, May 20, 2009, he led one of his best friends to the Lord. Since that day, God has used him to lead many others to faith in Christ. He records their names in the back of a Bible that he uses during his time of personal devotion and study. This allows him to pray for and encourage those who have made decisions to follow Christ.
“I have had about 90 pray to receive Christ in just a couple of years,” Simmons says, reflecting on God’s faithfulness. But one name on his list bothers him, reminding him of the urgency of sharing the Gospel and of the fearful consequences of remaining silent.
“Ed Freeman, right here, was a salesman that I worked with who had cancer. He was a good friend of mine,” Simmons says, recounting how he shared the Gospel with Ed.
“Ed was in hospice at that time, and he became coherent long enough for me to share and for him to pray to receive Christ, and a few minutes later he went home.
“It is a good story. It is great, but it bothers me, too, because Ed was that close. … I had almost talked myself out of it. … I had talked to some of the guys that went to go visit him, and he didn’t even know who they were because of the morphine. … But I was able to talk with him, and he became completely lucid long enough, and after he prayed, he went out again.”
This experience compels Simmons to share the Gospel wholeheartedly despite the busyness of seminary life. After moving to Fort Worth to begin seminary last fall, he immediately found opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Brandon Kiesling, a fellow church member and seminary student, asked him to help lead students in the seminary’s effort to reach those who live within a one-mile radius of the campus. Three times a week, he visits the nearby Times Square Apartments to share the Gospel and has established Bible studies at the complex for new believers who desire to grow in their faith.
“God has given me the gift of evangelism, but I do not do well when it comes to discipleship,” Simmons says, adding that Southwestern has already taught him much about how to make disciples. “So God really convicted me of that, and that is why I started setting up these different Bible studies.”
Simmons’ weekly visits to the Times Square Apartments also allow him to lead his family to follow the Great Commission.
“God has been faithful,” Simmons says. “We have shared the Gospel with several people, and every time, I bring one of my three daughters with me, so they can learn how to share the Gospel. … We have the others praying for us at home.”
On one occasion, Simmons’ oldest daughter, Victoria, asked if she could share with the kids in the apartment complex. She learned to share the Gospel simply by seeing her father and other seminary students share.
“She was bold in it,” Simmons says, adding proudly that Victoria led three girls her age to place their faith in Christ that day.
“You can share the Gospel, but if you can train people to share the Gospel, it is just that much better,” he says. Because he has led his family to evangelize, his daughters are now excited each week to tell people about Jesus.
“I want them growing up thinking, ‘This is what we do, and it is strange not to share the Gospel.’ I want them thinking, ‘This is exactly what we’re supposed to do.’”