Many Christians in our circles today I believe go about evangelism in completely unbiblical ways. There are several approaches to evangelism that have unfortunately become all too common:
- Some claim God didn’t really even call us to evangelize
- Some believe simply passing out a tract is enough
- Some practice the “holy-life” and put on a “perfect” facade in an effort to win others to Christ just by their life style
- Some invite their neighbors and co-workers to church once or twice a year for Cantata’s or Easter Concerts but fail to every actively engage these people in conversations about the Gospel.
- Some know that evangelism is important and commanded but choose to ignore it all together.
I believe that evangelism should be a common practice in the life of every believer. There is no better way to be like Christ than to habitually reach out to the lost and dying around us and show them the mystery of the Gospel. If we are going to be effective soul-winners there are several habits that we need to develop in our lives.
1. A True Evangelist will Radically Love the Gospel (Romans 5:6-8, 1:16)
Keep in mind that the word “gospel” literally means means good news – in this case God’s good news for the world. What is the price and the prize of that good news according to Romans 5? Here’s the price in Romans 5:6–8:
- For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
How can we radically love the Gospel that is given to everyone without also wanting more than anything else to share this gospel with everyone. This Gospel is for everyone and to love it means that we love its breadth as well as its depth. We love that it is not ethnically divisive, we love that it sees past social status, we love that it sees forgives all past sins. This Gospel is for everyone and the true soul winner radically loves this breadth.
2. A True Evangelist will Have a Proper Understanding of His Responsibility
Growing up in the church I often found myself falling into a rather unfortunate trap when I heard someone talk about evangelism. You see I always thought of evangelism as being something missionaries did oversees. My logic went something like this: “I live in America and we were founded on Biblical principles. America doesn’t need the Gospel nearly as much as Africa does. Maybe someday if I’m a missionary I’ll practice evangelism more.”
The reality however is that Jesus called to his disciples is to go first to their friends and neighbors and show them the mystery of the Gospel. There are several examples of this in Jesus earthly ministry.
- Example #1 (Luke 8:38-39) – In this passage God had just saved this man from a life of disaster and had given him a life of joy and peace. Immediately after this the man did what seemed natural to him at the time, he asked Jesus if he could follow Him. Jesus responded to the man by saying, “Return to thine own home, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee” (Luke 8:39). Jesus was not interested in this man’s missionary skills around the world. He wanted him to be a witness at his own doorstep.
- Example #2 (John 4:39) – The Samaritan woman, transformed by the meeting with Jesus, leaves her water jar at the well and rushes to the town. Having overcome the shame of her situation, she is not afraid of announcing: “I have seen somebody who told me everything I ever did.” Her witness was rough and immature but it is a invitation (come and see), not judgmental.
3. A True Evangelist is Prepared for His Commission (Ephesians 6:18-19, 1 Peter 3:15)
Adequate preparation is the key to outstanding performance. Time invested in personal development will eventually determine final destination. Commitment to a course differentiates dreamer from doer. All are a product of what has been learned hence the result obtained from endeavors. As a Christian, knowledge will inform actions, action will be judged to determine destination at the second coming of Christ. Hence Paul advised Timothy to take heed to himself and the doctrine (1 Tim. 4:11).
- You will be ready if you pray – Ephesians 6:18-19 tells us to pray always with prayer and supplication. Most believers would not disagree that this is what we should do but many do not realize that supplication is a humble earnest petition not something done to better appease the individual praying, but to help the individual for whom the prayer is. Paul writes that for him that utterance is made so that he can speak boldly the mysteries of the Gospel. Without personal development, it is impossible to make an impact in the life of others.
- You will be ready if you focus on your own spiritual growth – We should not be idly walking about looking to win souls without first studying God’s Word. His Word is the key to the door of salvation. This passage says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hears: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Nurture your own relationship with God. Spend time with God. Allow God to speak to you and guide your life. As you spend time in Scriptures, you’ll be growing spiritually. You’ll be discovering how God is leading you. And often out of the overflow of the current activity of God in your life, you’ll have fresh content to share.
4. A True Evangelist Intentionally Builds Relationships
Most effective evangelism to produces discipleship happens between friends. Thus, one highly effective habit to be intentional in building deep and authentic relationships. Relational evangelism as I understand it assumes that the believer is looking for God-given opportunities to talk about faith in the midst of existing relationships.
- Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus.
- Philip brought his friend Nathanael (John 1:40-51).
- The Samaritan woman told her whole town about her encounter with Jesus (John 4:28-42).
- The exorcised man from the Gerasenes went home and told his friends how much Jesus had done for him (Mark 5:19-20).
- Matthew invited his friends to a dinner party where they could meet Jesus (Matthew 9:10-13).
- Zaccheus invited many of his friends to a dinner party (Luke 19)
- Jesus was accused of eating with sinners and tax collectors (a relational experience).
- Peter spoke to Cornelius, but the whole household got baptized. Corneilus had brought them (Acts 10:24)
5. A True Evangelist Does Not Worry About the Results (Acts 7)
As we open our Bible’s to the book of Acts we read of a man whose message of salvation was at first met with animosity. Stephen (a deacon in the local church) had faithfully preached the Gospel but now found himself at odds with the local religious authorities, not because he had broken any laws, but because his message was seen as a serious and growing threat against their misguided control over the people. In one of the greatest and boldest sermons in the Bible Stephen says in Acts 7:51 “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, do ye always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Stephen was not concerned with the results of his message. He declared with boldness what he knew to be true. The religious leaders stood before Stephen on that day and were cut to the heart, and convicted by the Holy Spirit. Yet the Sanhedrin reacted with rage instead of submission. The message was too much to bear. Just as they had done before, they rejected God’s spokesman. They would do away with Stephen in an effort to do away with his message and his Messiah. His was a message with boldness that brought bloodshed as he was willing to be slain for his Saviour.
Monroe Parker boarded a train headed to Brevier, Kentucky for a week of preaching meeting he would be holding. Having already been warned about the rough culture at Brevier Mr. Parker’s fears were escalated when one of the people referred to Brevier as “hell on earth.” However, Monroe Parker was convinced that God had sent him to Brevier to preach the message of salvation no matter what the circumstances. During the first scheduled service somebody turned out all the lights. The Pastor of the church (Pastor Wade), who was 72 years of age, went back to turn on the lights and when he went back several men took hold of him and roughed him up a bit. Eventually Pastor Wade got the lights on and came to the platform and told Monroe Parker what had happened. When Evangelist Parker got up to preach he began his message by saying, “Now, aren’t you yellow bellied fellows proud of yourselves for ganging up on a 72 year old man of God in the dark? May God have mercy on your rotten perverted souls.” Monroe Parker writes in his biography what went through his mind after he said that, “I did not know whether I would be shot!” Ignoring the angry glares of dangerous men Evangelist Parker staying behind the pulpit and preached a clear Gospel message.
The message some believers now wonder is if the message is sufficient cause for all this suffering? We cower when someone slams the Bible back in our face. We shudder to think of what our relatives would think if we shared the Gospel with them. Stephen stood before a angry mob and preached a message that so enraged them they picked up stones and killed him. Stephen left the results in God’s hands and the outcome was extraordinary. Stephen’s death was agreed to and observed by a man who was also to become a major player in the furtherance of the Church – Saul of Tarsus, known better as the Apostle Paul. Monroe Parker stood before a gathering of dangerous men in Brevier, Kentucky and boldly confronted them with their sin not thinking of the possible repercussions. At the close of his meeting in Brevier over 700 people made professions of faith. 2 of those 700 were my relatives, amongst the first in my family to accept Christ as Savior. How pitiable it is for us to shirk the responsibility to be a soul winner because it makes us feel uncomfortable or we don’t want to be made fun of. The soul winner habitually blocks results from his mind.
My piano teacher used to tell me “Practice doesn’t make perfect – Perfect practice makes perfect!” The same could be said of being a soul winner. I can go out and pass out tracts and beat my Gospel drum but if my habits are not in line with the Bible my exercise is futile. I trust you will take these 5 habits of a soul winner to heart today and leave more ready to fulfill the commission God has given to you.
Posted by Caleb