In light of my previous post, I thought about entitling this ’16 Posts You WON’T Read on Evangelism’ but I thought that would be too pessimistic.
Anyway, evangelism is a recurring topic on the blog (after all, our ministry is called Church Sports Outreach) and as I looked back over the past year’s posts, I found these 16 titles. There’s some good stuff here. Enjoy!
If we could place people on a range of one to ten depending on their interest in the gospel, where one is no interest and ten is a decision to follow Christ, lots of evangelism assumes people are at around eight. We teach our gospel outlines. We teach answers to apologetic questions. We hold guest services. We put on evangelistic courses. We preach in the open air or knock on doors. All these are great things to do, but about 70 percent of the population is at one or two.
Souls must be converted here, and if there be not many born to Christ, may the Lord grant to me that I may sleep in the tomb and be heard no more. Better indeed for us to die than to live, if souls be not saved.
You heard me. We move too fast. We’re too aggressive. We’re too impatient. We’re not willing to simply walk with people through life for long enough, befriending them, serving them, and loving them for long enough until Christ becomes attractive to them through us.
Author John Ortberg has coined the phrase “hurry sickness.” As he says, “Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don’t have.”
Prayer is not magic. It doesn’t guarantee results. What it does guarantee though is that you will be changed for doing it. If you habitually prayer for someone and their salvation, it will change you. You will pursue this person more, you will love them more, and you will rejoice in every step of faith they take. And God just may use it.
In a progressively post-Christian society, the importance of hospitality as an evangelistic asset is growing rapidly. Increasingly, the most strategic turf on which to engage the unbelieving with the good news of Jesus may be the turf of our own homes.
Francis Schaeffer was asked what he’d do if he had an hour to share the gospel with someone. He responded by saying he’d listen for 55 minutes and then, in the last 5 minutes, have something meaningful to say. In other words, he listened in order to speak the gospel.
By asking questions, you are not only validating your listening and understanding, you are inviting more participation. You are encouraging them to engage their own thoughts, convictions, feelings, and presuppositions with questions which are not necessarily confrontational but sometimes subversively so.
We only reach one person for Christ each year for every 85 church members in the United States. That is a frightening and terrible ratio.
“Out of 132 contacts that Jesus had with people recorded in the New Testament, 6 were in the temple, 4 were in the synagogue, and 122 were out in the mainstream of life.” (Adapted from Why Christians Sin, by J.K Johnson, Discovery House, 1992)
- Let people around you know you are a Christian (in a natural, unforced way)
- Ask friends about their faith – and just listen!
- Listen to your friends problems – maybe offer to pray for them
Think about it, there are many evangelistic trainings out there that look and sound very similar to this salesman’s approach. They are pushy, arrogant, condescending, and can come off cold and overbearing.
Well, I know a good place to start. Start with you! Start with how God has moved in your life. If you don’t have much experience sharing your story, let me offer this framework: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation.
There is work to be done…Jesus has commanded you to do it…Jesus has commanded you to do it
Why should it be any different with us? Missional fruitfulness comes from a heart gripped by God’s greatness and enthralled with His grace.
If you seek to be a good evangelist, then you need to be a good conversationalist. I believe this is becoming a lost art in the midst of so much faceless communication (I’m beginning to sound like an old man!).