What is evangelism?
Webster’s Dictionary defines evangelism as the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ. But in practical terms, evangelism is the spreading of the Good News of Jesus with the goal of drawing people to Christianity in order to save their souls. Let’s take a look at the basics in Evangelism 101.
Evangelism in the Bible
There are many Biblical examples of evangelism. We can use Jesus as our example, in the way He lived His life. The way He drew people with love and acceptance. The way He gave people amazing examples of God’s love, and the works He did that glorified God. Jesus is the ultimate example.
But Jesus is God, so His example isn’t attainable for us. We can strive for it, but we can best model the evangelism of His apostles. Particularly, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostles and other disciples continued Jesus’ work and began preaching the Good News. They were the fishers of men that He requested them to be. Most notably, their evangelism is captured in the Book of Acts, otherwise known as the Acts of the Apostles.
Importance of Evangelism
As Christians, we believe in the true Word of God. Throughout His Word, we are taught that the only way to salvation is through Jesus. The Bible says:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
With this in mind, the eternal status of nonbelievers is at risk unless we act.
Who should evangelize?
Who does God call to evangelize? If you’re like me, you break out in a sweat just thinking about talking to people about Jesus. Certainly evangelism is for people who are good at that kind of thing, right?
Wrong! Jesus made it clear we are all called to evangelize. He’s counting on YOU (and me)!
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 NIV
Many Christians avoid evangelism because it’s something we’re not comfortable to do. But we’re all called to do it and we’re all capable of doing it through the grace of Jesus, not on our own strength. He assures us that we need not worry. We can rely on Him to provide the words for whatever circumstance we face and the strength we need to do His work.
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, Matthew 10:19 NIV
There are many ways to evangelize because it’s all about spreading the Good News of the Gospel and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Methods range from very formal and structured to everyday impromptu acts. In any case, planning and preparation are essential.
Let’s take a quick overview to get you started on this journey.
Prepare to Evangelize
Sometimes evangelizing is a planned event and sometimes it’s impromptu, but even impromptu conversations don’t warrant “winging it”. Planning is important, in any case.
Read the Bible
Becoming well-versed in the Word establishes a firm foundation for speaking knowledgeably about its content and context. But don’t let a mediocre biblical foundation stop you from evangelizing. The minimum requirement is only to let people know of Jesus’ eternal love and salvation. Continue to shore up your experience in the Word as you continue evangelizing.
Research various evangelism methods
here are proven methods you can use for formal evangelism. Use on-line resources, take classes/study, read books, or assist an experienced evangelist. Try different methods to learn what works best for you.
Prepare your story
What’s your Jesus story? How has He impacted your life? What testament can you give to Christianity? If you had to convince someone to consider Christianity, what story would you tell them about your life? Have your short and compelling story at your fingertips. Practice it at home and get comfortable telling it. Aim for a 1-minute version. Then when you’re called to use it, it will glide off your tongue.
Let the Spirit move you. Tell God to lead you to the people who need to learn about Him, then listen for His guidance. Act when He tells you.
Learn basic apologetics
Apologetics is an analytical defense of Christianity. It explains the facts behind our faith. Nonbelievers you speak to are likely to ask you questions or explain why they don’t believe in Christianity. When you can offer logical responses, rather than emotional or faith-filled responses, you’ll be more likely to keep them engaged and open to learning more about Christianity.
Make evangelism a journey. Hopefully you’ll continue to grow and expand your reach as you get more comfortable. Surround yourself with other evangelists for support and mentorship. Maybe you’ll end up recruiting and training other evangelists someday. Let the sky be your limit. Keep praying for guidance.
Decide how you’ll evangelize. Once you have your direction from the Lord, prepare yourself accordingly.
Creative Ways to Evangelize
Whether you can’t wait to win over the world for Jesus or are terrified at the thought of speaking to people about Him, evangelism is a skill you can hone and bring into your everyday life. Every conversation and every communication is a potential opportunity.
The average person has multiple, simple ways to evangelize in everyday ways.
One cyber possibility is online ministries that you can join, or begin your own! Additionally, many people have websites and blogs today. Christian websites and blogs are great for believers but won’t necessarily draw the nonbelievers you’re targeting. You can evangelize to nonbelievers by including website content or blog posts based upon questions that nonbelievers might have.
Social Media Evangelism
Everyone uses social media. Using your own personal (non-Christian) platform to promote Christianity is a good way to plant seeds for nonbelievers in your circle. Perhaps you include invitations in your posts, such as, “PM me to learn more,” or “I’d love to discuss with you!” Additionally, community social media forums like Nextdoor.com allow you to reach people you might not know in your neighborhood. Create an event on Nextdoor when your church is having an open house and all your neighbors will be invited. Get creative.
The power of prayer is amazing, as Christians already know. Add nonbelievers to your prayer list. Pray that they open their hearts to Jesus and accept Him as their Savior. Pray for those who are going through a tough time and let them know you’re praying for them. Be bold in making your prayers known in person and on social media.
Sprinkle seeds of Christianity.
There are almost endless simple ways of sharing Jesus with those you know and don’t know. Add a Bible verse to your email signature, write “Jesus loves you” on the restaurant receipt. Leave a Jesus note for the housekeeper at your hotel. Wear a Jesus T-shirt. Attach a Jesus bumper sticker. Wear a large cross that can be a conversation starter just about anywhere. Join your church’s outreach efforts. Invite a nonbeliever to attend a church service with you. Hand out Gospel Tracts to passersby.
Keep learning and growing in your evangelism efforts.
My Prayer For You!
Dear Lord, the thought of evangelism is intimidating to many of us. We don’t feel qualified. We’re afraid to speak out for you. We don’t know how or where to start. I ask you to send the Holy Spirit to breathe encouragement into the person reading this today. Guide him/her. May your presence provide them the comfort and courage to speak your truth in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
How do you evangelize? What tools do you use? Let me know in the comments.
This article contains many resources from other Christian bloggers to support your evangelism journey. Many are linked in the article above. All are listed below. Check them out to learn about and plan the evangelism methods and tools that will work for you.