- When was the last time you had a conversation about faith with someone who wasn’t a Christian?
- What was the last book on evangelism that you read?
- When was the last time you preached (or heard) a series on evangelism?
- When was the last time you took the initiative to greet a first time visitor, and took the time to converse with them, beyond the handshake?
- How would you answer the question from a non-Christian: “Why do you believe in Jesus?”
- When was the last time you prayed for your neighbor to know Christ like you know him?
- How many friends do you “do life with” that do not know Jesus?
- How many Bible studies or church events do you go to that keep you too busy to be with non-churched people?
- What gospel scripts have you learned and are ready to use at a moment’s notice?
- Who are the new believers in your church that you can help coach in evangelism?
I just finished reading Nick Pollard’s Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult: How to Interest People who Aren’t Already Interested (order your copy direct from Amazon).
Nick is a full time evangelist and speaker who lives in Great Britain.
With cover endorsements from Josh McDowell, George Verwer, and Lesslie Newbigin, I figured it would be a pretty good read.
Can Evangelism be made less difficult?
I found the first chapter to be the best:
“It doesn’t have to be quite so hard.”
It’s a look a Colossians 4:2-6
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Prayer that I may proclaim it clearly as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer every one.
Three points on prayer . . .
Evangelism begins in prayer. (See articles on prayer to learn about praying for evangelism, or Listen in to this podcast on this verse as a personal prayer strategy).
Pollard elaborates on these three verses on prayer
1. That God may open the opportunity
This doesn’t mean that we have to make the opportunity, or seize the opportunity, or force it, or hint at it, or steer it, or otherwise manipulate the conversation in our favor.
We don’t have a script that we have to force.
2. so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.
Prayer can help us know the mystery, and help us share the mystery of our relationship with Christ.
Prayer helps us meditate on Christ, discover his love and work in our life, and we might be able to talk about what God is doing in our life.
3. clearly, as I should.
This is a big one. We need to learn how to proclaim the message clearly, and not as muddy as a swollen river. Pray so that you don’t “botch it up.”
Two points on Evangelism
Evangelism is expressed on our words and actions.
- In our words: “let your conversation be seasoned with salt”
- In our actions: “be wise in the way you act towards outsiders.”
Prayer and Evangelism go hand in hand. They must go together.
Some people spend all their time in prayer — never talk to people about Jesus.
Others talk about Jesus all day long, but without prayer, there is no advance prepartion of the soil or of the evangelist.
2. Make the most of every opportunity
Then Pollard goes into a section entitled — How to lose friends and Irritate people, exploring evangelism methodologies that manipulate conversations.
We are told to make the most of every opportunity, not make the opportunity.
This I think is the best point of the whole chapter.
I’ve had many attempts where I felt like I was steering the ship.
I had to get my conversation partner to come around to spiritual thinks.
The feeling of anxiety as I tried to think “How does this connect to Jesus?” “How can I turn the conversation to Jesus.”
I find manipulating the conversation to make the opportunity is an obnoxious habit of personal evangelism.
Let me ask you this.
Start with which one you find easier — prayer or evangelism.
If prayer is easy for you, start praying specific people and opportunities. You’ll find that you’ll want to start talking
If talking about Jesus is easy for you, you’ll find that you’ll want to start praying.
The point is: start.
Nick Pollard’s Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult: How to Interest People who Aren’t Already Interested (order your copy direct from Amazon).
Some time ago, I came across an outline of some hints about prayer walking.
This prayer walking outline mixes prayer, with walking a neighborhood, and inviting God to transform that place and the people who live there.
16 Prayer Walking Tips
Here are some ways you can do prayer walking (Adapted from Follow Me: Becoming a Lifestyle Prayerwalker): [Read more…] about Prayer Walking — Developing an Evangelistic Vision
Who wouldn’t be
“more comfortable inviting a Starbuck’s Barista to a manure shoveling party than to church?”
So write this blogger in God Answered My Prayer Within Hours.
All of us have fears of sharing our faith, which he describes pretty well. [Read more…] about Evangelism Encounter: “I’d rather invite them to a manure shoveling party than to church.”
How does one develop an evangelism team or an effective evangelism group in the local church?
In the denominational circles I run in (Presbyterian Church USA), this has been relegated to
- the Evangelism Committee, or
- the Witness and Service Committe, or
- New Member Committee, or the
- “Make up another name just to have a name that is not Evangelism” committee.
These evangelism committees focus usually on
- providing hospitality to church visitors,
- follow-up on those who come to church,
- marketing the church.
Important work, but not evangelism as I define it.
Some evangelism committees just meet and talk about what should be done without ever doing anything.
Quit forming committees.
Form an evangelism team that is actively doing personal evangelism.
Set up an evangelistic team with people who will hold each other accountable to sharing their faith.
How do I get on the church evangelism team?
The primary qualification is a “heart for the lost.”
A person who weeps in prayer (or labors in prayer for those who aren’t emotional) over those who have not yet found a relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is a person who doesn’t have time to serve on an evangelism committee, but wants to be out in the world, engaging the world.
Recruit like minded people and you’ve got a team.
Skip perfection. All members can sow seed now.
You don’t have to be equipped first. Just go and do it. Learn as you try.
What does the evangelism team do?
- Meet Regularly: A team could meet regularly to study one aspect of evangelism, encourage one another.
- Prayer for Personal evangelism — each team member is involved in praying for the lost, praying for the conversations that will happen, and praying for the other team members.
- Personal Evangelism — each team member is actively listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance as to who to talk with and how.
- Debrief – Report on conversations, progress of friends, and sharpen each other to improve.
This coaching group can keep evangelism temperature high and continually motivate one another to keep at the work of the gospel.
If you haven’t already heard this MP3 download, listen to this evangelism prayer strategy from our podcast feed. Phil Taylor shares a simple 3 fold prayer structure that you can use for your devotional time.
Let me ask you this?
Do you know enough people in your church to start an evangelism team?
In this 60 minute MP3 AUDIO recording on personal evangelism you will learn:
- How church invitations are part of evangelism
- How to discover and share your own journey to faith
- What you can say about the gospel message.
- How to personally lead someone to faith in Christ.
Each of these four sections will be developed, with suggested take away growth step:
“What can I do in the next 90 days to move to the next stage.”
Now in the store as a digital download – Click MP3 Download on Evangelism Training
I’m not the first to point this out, but I’ve heard the expression:
“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Perhaps you’ve heard it too. Perhaps it’s a cliche that is beyond trendy.
But, when one person is excited about evangelism, and doing it, sharing their experiences, and reflections, other people begin to get the idea that perhaps “I can do this too. ”
When you are causing the evangelistic tide to rise, others will rise up and do evangelism.
You keep your evangelistic passion high, others will increase as well.
The Passion Pours out.
When I preached every Sunday, I always had a new evangelism story — a book I was reading, a conversation I had, a prayer that I had with somebody.
People around me began to feel more comfortable doing evangelism, and within a few months, people were telling me their own stories of conversations.
That’s where I learned to love evangelism coaching.
Asking folks to recall the conversation, explore it a little more, think about how to do the conversation differently the next time a similar topic came about — just like debriefing an evangelism conversation.
Asking questions to help sharpen the skills.
As long as my evangelistic temperature was hot, the people around me warmed up to evangelism.
15 Ways to keep stoking the passion for Evangelism
How does one keep the evangelism passion hot?
Let me give you 15 right off the bat. It’s not a linear list and not exhaustive, but here goes:
- Keep your relationship with God strong.
- Read the Scriptures, meditate on them as your day goes on.
- Enjoy noticing God’s activity around you.
- Regularly tell others about God’s work in your life.
- Regularly engage in evangelistic conversations
- Review them as part of your devotional life.
- Read evangelism books.
- Read and comment on evangelism blogs.
- Participate in the evangelism activity of your local church
- Share your evangelism stories with others.
- Join an evangelism coaching group that meets regularly to review conversations.
- Worship deeply.
- Pray regularly.
- Notice the people around you and pray for them.
- Practice explaining the gospel clearly and simply.
Let me ask you this
What would you add to this list?
If you would like personalized help in personal evangelism over the next 60 days, I provide a telecoaching service of four phone calls over a 60 day period.
Read more about it here: Personal Coaching for Personal Evangelism