Is it possible to be too focused on the outcomes of evangelism?
It can be when evangelism is taught as a sales technique to get a sinner’s prayer. It can be when evangelism training is reduced to a set of step by step skills that are equivalent to sales techniques.
- Ask leading questions.
- Minimize parts of the gospel you find distasteful.
- Don’t let people count the cost, but push for a decision today.
- Show the benefits of following Jesus: eternal life, moral behavior, power of overcome problems.
- Answer objections
- Go for the close
I’ve read enough books on personal evangelism to know that sometimes we can get focused to much on the conversion moment, as if that is the ultimate goal. Books like that make evangelism too pragmatic.
I’m guilty of sometimes reducing evangelism to pragmatic methods to get a conversion prayer. Some of the people that I have “led to the Lord” are not part of a local church. They even prayed with me to receive Christ, but alas, some of them are not disciples.
One could take comfort in “Some of the seeds fall in the rock soil,” but I wonder if sometimes that is used as an excuse for sloppy and truly incomplete evangelism.
Evangelism can’t be the focus
Evangelism in this manner cannot be the focus. In the video below, Alan Hirsch maps out
- pre-conversion discipleship
- post conversion discipleship
If you recognize that evangelistic activity covers the whole journey of a person’s coming to faith, then this video makes sense.
If you are stickler for a tight definition of evangelism as the verbal sharing of the good news, than this video can help you realize that all the activity leading up to that verbal sharing of the gospel is part of that pre-conversion journey of discipleship.
You might plant a seed.
You might water a seed.
You might harvet the seed.
In the video clip above Alan Hirsch says,
“We must not stop sharing the good news, but here’s the deal, here’s the wonderful thing, it gets done along the way as you do discipleship. Great commission is just about going to disciple the nations and you know what happens…as you disciple them evangelism takes place, because it’s done in the context of discipleship.”
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