Following up from the previous posts
I want to share how I practice contact evangelism.
The Philip Model of Evangelism:
Based on the model of Philip and the Eunuch, we’ll look for opportunities that are based on
- the Holy Spirit’s prompting and
- visible spiritual thirst.
In that example, the Spirit prompted Philip to “Go and stand next to THAT chariot.” We can learn to recognize that nudge of the Holy Spirit.
Philip was also able to observe the Ethiopians level of spiritual thirst.
Visually, the Eunuch was reading from Isaiah. When Philip engaged him with a question, Philip was able to hear more about this man’s spiritual thirst.
Philip was able to recognize where in the journey this man was – he was open to following Jesus.
Philip was able to see the signs of the evangelistic harvest.
As such, I look for those moments prompted by the Spirit. These might occur with
- a stranger sitting next to me on the plane,
- a friend visiting for coffee who asks spiritual questions
- a relative facing a health scare who is suddenly asking questions about eternity.
If I detect a deep spiritual thirst, I’ll do what Philip did and, starting at that very place, go on to share with that person the Good News of Jesus.
If the person is open to talking and conversing with me, that’s one thing.
If the person is not open to talking, I don’t push it. I don’t use trick questions or logical mind games towards my pre-determined conclusion.
Rather, I seek to co-operate with God’s work in the moment.
Open Air Contact Evangelism
When we do open-air campaigns in the local park, we’ll use dramas, mimes, sketches, and the like. I’ve done this on many mission trips and am comfortable with it.
Once the skits are over, I’ll give a brief message that raises a question related to the drama and potential spiritual thirsts.
The message is brief.
The goal is to raise a question and invite conversation about spiritual need or thirst.
Those who want to talk about the question are invited to talk with our team at length.
People who are spiritually thirsty engage our team in conversation.
We get to talk and pray with people who want to talk.
This manner allows us to get a hearing and still be respectful of those who have no interest.
As we choose this way of doing evangelism, we are able to engage in deeper spiritual conversation with eager people. People who want to engage us have self-selected to engage us in a conversation.
Typically, we find people with a deep spiritual need, some wrestling with sin, some that have questions that need answers, and some that need long term help from a local church or counselor.
Door to Door Contact Evangelism
In countries that I have visited that still practice this model, the goal of every encounter is to determine a person’s level of spiritual thirst.
- Closed, not interested
- Curious, but not interested now
- Seeking and available to talk with us
- Ready to follow Jesus
Our response is different based on the person’s level of spiritual thirst. We choose not to argue with people who don’t want to talk with us and likewise, we don’t force a gospel presentation upon them without their permission.
When we determine a level of spiritual thirst, we respond accordingly. With enough spiritually thirsty people, perhaps we can even start a small group to allow people to explore their journey towards Christ a little more.