“Chris, how do we change the perceptions of personal evangelism in our congregation when our members seem hesitant to talk about their faith?”
I’ve been asked this question many different times over the last three years since I started EvangelismCoach.org
It is regularly asked by pastors, members of regional governing bodies, and a few church planters.
If our work is leading congregations, we need to figure out how to lead our congregations into new ways of effective personal evangelism.
We admit that old models are not working. Some congregations may have a core competency in evangelism, but it is not a core practice.
1. A Mindset Change.
Most personal evangelism training has focused on getting decisions to follow Christ. The process feels like product sales.
We might have to learn a particular technique, a style, or approach that would work in no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
If we just memorize the right presentation, and use the right questions, we’ll get a convert.
It’s like following a recipe.
While this may not be the intent of such training, the end result for users is that evangelism feels like a slick sales technique.
As I’ve interacted with hundreds of people in my evangelism training seminars over the years, this form of evangelism is scary. When I ask about evangelism training, these types of model comes up with a sense of dread.
So we have to find a way to do evangelism that puts us in a different mindset — one that is outside the sales technique that many of us don’t like.
2. A Heart Change – vibrant personal faith
Do we have a faith worth sharing? (See this discussion guide)
It’s one thing to communicate information and content.
It’s another thing to communicate life transformation.
The basic motivation for contagiously sharing our faith is our own personal encounter with Jesus.
If we don’t have a vibrant personal faith, all we have is someone else’s story.
Sure, we have the basic information of the gospel, but we remain unable to say what real difference it makes in our life.
We have to help our members develop a vibrant personal faith where they experience God’s presence and work.
We have to find a way to help our members express their faith journey and grow comfortable talking about the work of God in their life.
3. A Model Change
We need to find a model of evangelism that emphasizes
- The sovereignty of God over the process.
- The process of a person’s journey to faith in Christ.
- Cooperation with the Holy Spirit at a given moment on the way.
- How to look for a person’s spiritual need and matching your explanation to that need.
This gets us beyond gospel scripts (which are great tools in the process of evangelism), but helps us find the freedom to have conversations that help people on their journey of faith.
This gets us into trusting God for the process of evangelism, and helps us realize our role in that process.
This kind of model also helps us learn how to start a conversation that is appropriate, rather than being the obnoxious evangelist.
Let me ask you this?
What other kinds of changes do you think would help you lead people into a new perception of personal evangelism?
Share with us in the comments below.
Ernie Zenone Sr.
I was a Jehovah’s Witness leader for 24 years. I taught a ministry school for adults & children on how to speak in front of people on specific Bible themes. I trained people with skits and practice sessions on how to witness door to door. I took my 3 boys with me door to door and my wife as we showed them from when they were little how to witness.! After I was saved, I was grieved to see how most Christians and churches do not witness! I made an attempt to start an evangelistic training ministry in my church, and it was turned down by the leaders! So, I prayed. Then I tried again, and it was approved! I have a Watchtower magazine from 1957 where a Pastor said that “Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a threat, but a CHALLENGE to the traditional church to WITNESS!” The JW’s believe it is the duty of each member to witness! So, I have been training members of my church on how to witness door to door and in public areas. We can learn from JW’s! What I once thought was years spent in vanity, now is being used by the Lord for good! And I would ask church members to pray that JW’s would be saved and added to their churches! Saved JW’s make the most passionate witnesses for Christ!
Praise God that you found salvation in Jesus. The JW’s around here only leave pamphlets. I’ve been home and they didn’t even knock. . .