Methods of evangelism – Find the one that works for you.
There are many different ways in which the gospel can be shared. Each person may find that certain methods work better for them than others. So to find the methods of evangelism that work best for you, try different ones and look for the areas where God has gifted you. But remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t assume that God hasn’t gifted you just because it feels awkward the first time you try.
Just like learning to ride a bike or catch a ball, The first time you try anything, you probably won’t do well on your first attempt. Using these methods of evangelism, you’ll probably find that you’ll have to talk to a few people, before you get the hang of it. Learning how to hone your God given gifts while interacting with living, breathing people is bound to have a few moments of awkwardness. Just press on until you become comfortable talking to people and can settle into the evangelism methods that God has gifted you with.
Lifestyle evangelism – Every Christ follower should be conducting themselves according to the will of God, (otherwise you’d be a hypocrite and make Jesus look bad). Lifestyle evangelism is the idea that by living a Christ centered lifestyle we attract people to Christ.
However, many people use this evangelism method as an excuse for not having the courage to open their mouths and share the good news. If you are merely a kind, gentle and all-around nice person but choose never to tell anyone that you’re also a Christian, they will never know.
For lifestyle evangelism to work, there must be some oral communication that let’s people know you put your faith in Jesus. For example, my close friend Luis always responds to good news by saying, “Praise the Lord.” When he is at work, if a co-worker says they had a good weekend, Luis will respond, “Praise the Lord, that’s wonderful, I’m glad to hear that.” By letting people know verbally about his faith and then demonstrating his lifestyle of following Christ, people continuously go to him every time life deals them some misfortune. He then has the opportunity to pray with them and encourage them to put their faith in Jesus. Many people have been saved through his lifestyle evangelism and “praise the Lord” proclamations.
Friendship evangelism – is a method where you become friends with a non-believer and spend time developing that friendship and trust before sharing the gospel with them. This can be a very effective way to evangelize if done correctly but can also be one of the most difficult ways to evangelize if done incorrectly.
Much like lifestyle evangelism, friendship evangelism only works when you reveal from the beginning that you’re a Christian. This can be as simple as bowing your head to pray over meals or telling the person you’re going to church on Sunday or allowing the person to see you regularly reading the Bible. By becoming the person’s friend you dispel the notion that Christians will judge them or look down on them for their “sinful” ways. When the individual knows you’re a friend and you accept them, they will be more willing to hear what you have to say.
Where this method becomes difficult is when the Christian chooses to hide their Christianity from the friend. After the person has known you for so long, to suddenly spring it upon them that you believe in Jesus, can prove to be very uncomfortable and in most cases will eventually end the friendship.
Street evangelism – is when you go out into your community with the specific intent of talking to strangers about Jesus. There are many ways this can be done effectively. A great example of effective street evangelism is Mark Cahill. He is one of the most passionate people I know of that’s going out constantly to share the gospel. He has shared the gospel with probably hundreds of thousands of people. I recommend that you read his book, One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven. The one thing you can’t do in heaven is share your faith with a non-believer. Purchase two copies of the book, one for yourself and another as a gift to give to someone else.
In street evangelism you can simply hand out tracks or you can choose to engage people in conversation. You can go to public events where large crowds are gathered, such as street festivals, parades, outdoor concerts, air shows, etc…. or you can simply go about your day and try to talk to the people you naturally cross paths with like waiters, cashiers, grocery baggers or the person on the other side of the gas pump, etc…..
Unlike friendship evangelism, with street evangelism you have, in most cases, only a few seconds with the person so you have to get straight to the point. If you are evangelizing in your own home town you might consider simply inviting the person to church. Ask them if they have a church they attend and if not, invite them to yours. (Don’t forget to tithe so that your church will have the resources to minister to new believers), (and keep in mind that you’re not trying to get people to switch churches, your trying to save the lost. If they’re already attending a church, great. Only invite to your church, those people who currently have no place of worship).
Prayer Evangelism – Ed Silvoso wrote a book titled Prayer Evangelism: How to Change the Spiritual Climate Over Your Home, Neighborhood and City. In it he states that we start with prayer, “talking to God about our neighbors before we talk to our neighbors about God.” He then describes four steps in prayer evangelism:
1. Bless – speak peace to people in your sphere of influence
2. Fellowship – build relationships with those outside the kingdom of God
3. Minister – respond to their felt needs in the name of Jesus
4. Proclaim – announce that the kingdom of God has come near and is available to them through Jesus Christ.
*sited reference www.blessmn.org/what-is-prayer-evangelism/
Internet evangelism – The most effective resource for internet evangelism is Global Media Outreach. GMO is able to reach every person on the Earth who has electricity and an internet connection. Once signed up for GMO, you’ll be able to connect, using the GMO resources, to people from all around the world who are asking questions about God through email. This evangelism method can be especially attractive to individuals who are fluent in more than one language, but being multilingual is not a requirement.
Home group evangelism – Assuming you are part of a home group, small group, or bible study group, you can use it as a place to invite people who otherwise are not willing to go to a church. Furthermore you and your home group members can come together to organize some form of outreach where you go into your community to help or encourage people. This could be feeding the homeless, setting up a booth or table at a public event, organizing an event for kids and parents such as a fishing tournament, etc….
Whatever your group chooses to do, just make sure that the gospel is clearly presented, either in printed materials, T-shirts given away at the event, an opening prayer or any other creative way your group might come up with.
There are many ways that evangelism can be done effectively. The most important method of evangelism is to rely upon the Holy Spirit. Evangelism is spiritual and we need to conduct ourselves spiritually in order to be successful.
Before you head out to evangelize, pray to Jesus that He would put opportunities in your path to share the gospel. Ask Him to give you guidance as to where and how to evangelize. Present to Him, through prayer, the plans that you’ve come up with and Pray that He work through you to bring the good news to the lost. Afterwards, give thanks for those people you met and talked with. Then, continue to pray for those individuals throughout the week.
Tell the world that Jesus lives.
(photo credit: flickr creative commons, Aaron and Stacia Shafovaloff)