Greetings Children of God! I am glad you have made it here for the second part of the “Evangelism Series”. In this blog post, we look at different methods of evangelism, and after that, we take a look at some common evangelism mistakes that we as Christians should try as much as possible to avoid. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
METHODS OF EVANGELISM
Apologetics:- The term ‘apologetics’ is derived from the Greek word “apologia”, which means a ‘formal defense of ones beliefs, opinion or conduct’. The aim of Christian apologetics is to present and give a defense of the Christian faith. As Christians, we should be ever-ready to give an answer to skeptics who come to us with objections to our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Apologetics doesn’t mean apologizing for our faith, rather it means defending our faith. In a world where we are constantly told by the powers that be that the Bible is outdated and doesn’t correspond to present realities, we should be ready to proclaim the Good News without any apology. Whether it is in reaching out to an Atheist who flat-out deny the existence of a God or a Muslim friend who acknowledges the existence of a God but deny the deity, death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the reliability of the New Testament, the fact that apologetics in recent times has been a powerful evangelical tool for converting the lost cannot be denied. A person who is specially trained in the field of apologetics is called an Apologist.
Open-Air Preaching:- This involves speaking in a public place to crowds of people at the same time using a message, sermon or speech which shares the Gospel. Jesus and His disciple often preached in public places. This is one of the oldest form of evangelism.
Door to Door Preaching:- This is a form of evangelism where we go from one household to another proclaiming the Gospel.
Gospel Tracts:- This involves giving out some printed documents that contains the Gospel message. It is typically printed on small pieces of paper and is very useful for Christians who have trouble speaking.
Internet Evangelism:- This is a form of evangelism whereby the Gospel is shared on the internet. it may be through our social media platforms or websites dedicated to sharing the Gospel (e.g Kings Diary Blog)
Personal Evangelism:- This is a situation where you engage someone in a private discussion where you can take the opportunity to talk about faith. Here you would be presenting the Gospel to them One-on-One.
Lifestyle Evangelism:- This approach is characterized by someone demonstrating their faith by their actions with the hope that people around them will see how God affects their life. The aim is to draw people to Christ through our lifestyle. Though not a conventional method, Scriptural backing for lifestyle evangelism can best be found in Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven”.
COMMON EVANGELISM MISTAKES
Failure to Prepare:- Before stepping out to evangelize, we need to be prepared, and the best form of preparation is prayer. Before you witness to anyone, take a moment to say a prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to go ahead of you and clear the path. Ask God to speak to the heart of the individuals you are witnessing to. Of course, it also helps to have a good knowledge of the scriptures, but believe me, it doesn’t matter how vast your knowledge of scripture is, your words alone cannot change or transform the heart of a sinner, or convince one to truly accept Christ. Your words only plant the seed in the heart of the person who receives the message but the Holy Spirit is the one who ultimately convicts the heart of the Lost, so always invite Him through prayer before going out for any kind of evangelism.
Wrong Motive:- Whenever we go out to evangelize, it is important we ask ourselves why we are doing it. Folks have different reasons why they evangelize. In Part One of this series, I outlined some of the reasons why we should evangelize, and if none of those reasons make up your own reason for evangelizing, you might want to check your heart. I tell you today, it is very possible for one to do certain things that are right, yet with a wrong motive. God is much more interested in our heart than our outward show of good deeds. There are many who evangelize to score points for themselves or their ministries. There are also many professing Christians who partake in evangelism to gain popularity in their local Churches, they want to forge a reputation for themselves as “Soul Winners”. All these are wrong motives for evangelism. If it is not borne out of love and an innate desire to seek and save lost souls, then it is very possible that you might just be playing the hypocrite. (Matthew 6:1-18 addresses this).
Preaching anything other than Jesus Christ:- Nowadays many seem to forget that the Good News is centered on Jesus Christ, and they go around preaching other irrelevant things. I have come across people who when evangelizing mention their Church leader’s name more times than they mention the name of Jesus, and this is really really baffling. How can you go about preaching your Pastor and at the end of the day, you say you are preaching the Good News and winning souls. Which Good News are you preaching exactly and who are you winning souls for? Did your Pastor die for the sins of the world? It is sad but true that many have more reverence for their Church leaders than they have for God, which is flat-out Idolatry. What about those whose only concern is inviting as many people to their local Church as possible, Is that sharing the Good News? NO! Listen, inviting people to your local Church is not the same thing as inviting people to Christ. Look around, there are many who are always attending Church services yet they don’t know Christ. I also have to point out that there is nothing wrong with sharing the Gospel with someone and inviting the person to your local Church afterwards, But when all you do is try to cajole the person into attending your local Church without necessarily sharing any gospel message, that cannot be regarded as evangelism. However, there might be an exception in the case of those who for whatever reasons might consider themselves “ill-equipped” to personally share the Gospel with others, so they would rather invite them to their local Church where they can hear the Gospel from those whom they consider well equipped, but just inviting people your local Church should not be your sole priority in this case. Your sole priority in this case should be pointing people to the cross not to your local Church.
Monopolizing the Conversation:- This can occur during personal or One-on-One evangelism. A conversation is said to be monopolized when you don’t allow the person receiving the message to get a word in. Personally, I prefer to be able to interact whenever I am sharing the Gospel, as this type of evangelism allows for the receiver to ask questions or raise objections. We are required as givers of the gospel to also be good listeners. I have found that this approach makes the receiver more receptive to the Gospel. When you are bent on doing all the talking and not being open to receiving questions, it gives the receiver an impression that you are just trying to force your worldview on them, but when you show them that you are open to whatever questions and objections they may have, they get the impression that you truly believe what you preach and that you are sincerely concerned about their salvation. They see that there is a lot more to your message than just forcing your beliefs on them. An unbeliever who asks you questions is more likely to receive the Good News with a sincere heart than the person who just sits there and is looking at you like; “Mr man, if you yarn finish make you comot for here abeg”. A fruitful evangelism is one which gives room for interaction between the preacher and the person receiving the message. We shouldn’t be afraid to receive questions from those we witness to, as it would also help us to learn more and grow in our faith. It is only when you see evangelism as just a routine exercise that you would be comfortable doing all the talking without bothering to hear what the person you have been preaching to has to say. Moreover, you don’t want to waste valuable time talking to a fellow who is absent minded. It is the same reason good teachers ask questions after every class.
Thinking you must have all the answers:- This is actually one of the reasons many do not entertain question or welcome objections when they evangelize. They are afraid that the unbeliever may ask a question or raise an objection they won’t be able to give an answer to. In other words, they don’t want to look bad while preaching. There are also many Christians who refuse to evangelize all together, because of this same reason. Some can’t even share their faith with their next-door neighbour because they feel that they need to have all the answers before they share the good news. The truth is, we don’t need to have all the answers before we can share the Good News. You do not need to be a Pastor, an Apologist, a Bible Scholar or a Theologian to share the Good News. Take the twelve disciples of Jesus for example; they were just fishermen by trade with little or no educational or religious grounding. All they needed to spread the Good News was encountering the risen Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit. In truth, basically that is all we need. In terms of scripture knowledge, what we need is to know the Gospel message, which is salvation through belief in Christ. Every other knowledge is secondary when it comes to the Good News message. If you happen to encounter an unbeliever who ask a very tough question or raises a strong objection, and you do not have an answer ready in the moment, do not feel bad about it. There is the Bible and other Christian materials available out there that provide answers to even the most difficult Objections to our faith. There is nothing wrong in rescheduling the discussion, you just have to be willing to learn in humility as you evangelize.
In conclusion, I would like to add that regardless of whatever evangelism mistake you might have made in the past, it shouldn’t in any way deter you from future evangelical work. The more we step out into our calling, the more the Holy Spirit teaches us and the more we will be used to glorify God’s kingdom. For the professing Christian who is reading this and has never engaged in any kind of evangelism… I ask; what is keeping you from proclaiming the Good News of Christ? Is it fear, shame, shyness or timidity?
Luke 9:26 (NIV)
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
What ever it is that is stopping you from proclaiming Christ, do not despair. Remember the Disciples of Jesus were once afraid too. What you need is the same thing the Disciples needed to come out of their shells – an encounter with Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you are ready to encounter Christ this minute and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, say this prayer with all your heart;
Lord Jesus, I am so overwhelmed by your unconditional love, and the Good News of forgiveness, grace and salvation offered through your death and resurrection, that I want to spend my time here proclaiming the gospel in accordance to the great commission you left us with. Omni-present Lord, reveal yourself to me as I wholeheartedly seek your face today. Thank you Jesus for the Comforter you have sent to abide in your Children. I open up my body, soul and mind this minute to receive the Holy Ghost. Yes Holy Spirit! make my whole being your permanent dwelling place in Jesus name I pray, AMEN!
Now that you have received the Holy Spirit, you have been embolden and equipped to proclaim the gospel without fear or timidity. You can start with your next-door neighbour, or your course mate, or your colleague at work, just make sure you tell someone about Christ today. Part of this blog post has been dedicated to highlighting several evangelism mistakes, but as professing Christians, the biggest mistake we can make in our life time would be; not going out and telling the lost souls about Christ. That would constitute disobedience to the commission given to us by our Lord Jesus.
… to be continued
GUESS WHAT GUYS!… I have saved the best for the last. Watch out for the third and concluding part of this ‘Evangelism Series’ in my next blog post. It is a piece that I have actually been working on for sometime now and it is titled; “Utilizing the Moral Law in Modern-day Evangelism”. It was initially written as an independent article but I have decided to include it as part of this series since it also addresses the broader issue of Christian evangelism. In my upcoming post, i will be sharing a very powerful evangelical principle that I got from a Mentor of mine. He is an amazon best selling author and televangelist that goes by the name, Ray Comfort (Living Waters Publications). This particular principle is one that we as followers of Christ can utilize to great effect in our ‘soul-winning’ endeavor. It is a master key that unlocks the heart of every unbeliever to receive the Gospel. I will also be sharing (with scriptural backing) when and how Jesus made use of this particular principle during his ministry on earth. In short, this upcoming blog post promises to be a great climax for the whole series and believe me, It is one you definitely do not want to miss out on. ANTICIPATE!