[e-Devotionals] 2000-11-15 - Personal Evangelism

Part 2

In my 11-01-2000 devotional, I tried to make two points: (1) We are all called to spread the Gospel and (2) we must first take a good look at our own walk with Christ before we can be effective witnesses for Him. This week I want to look at six different approaches to evangelism that are found in the Bible. My prayer is that you can get your hands around one of these approaches and use it to help spread the good news of Christ to people in your world. Jesus' plan was really simple: Save one soul at a time, life by life by life.

  1. Testimonial Approach

    John 9:25 (NIV) He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

    This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Here we find a blind man who has been healed by Jesus. The Pharisees are interrogating the man and his family about Jesus. They do not believe that the man was once blind or that Jesus had miraculously healed him. The man's testimony was simply the truth. It was his story. It was not a theological debate, but a simple, "all I know is that I was once blind, but now I see!"

    I think most of us have stories that are natural to tell. After all, you are telling what happened to you. Sometimes all it takes when talking to a struggling nonbelieving friend is an encouraging testimony. You may say, "I know how empty, how lonely, how unfulfilled, etc. you feel. I once felt that way, but since I started believing in Jesus, my life has not been the same. I was once blind; now I see."

  2. Invitational Approach

    John 4:28-30 (NIV) Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

    In this passage, we find the Samaritan woman who had an encounter with Jesus by the well, inviting the town's people to the well to meet the Messiah. This approach to evangelism is one of the least threatening and among the most readily accepted by nonbelievers. You simply invite them to your church. It may be a Sunday Service, a mid-week Bible study or a special music program.

  3. Service Approach

    Acts 9:36 (LB) In the city of Joppa there was a woman named Dorcas ("Gazelle"), a believer who was always doing kind things for others, especially for the poor.

    God wired some people up, to love serving others. Dorcas was one of those people. Kind acts for other people, with nothing expected in return, seem to be becoming less and less common these days. I love taking my kids to the homeless shelter and serving food. Invariably someone will ask, "why do you do this?" We do it because we believe in doing what the Bible commands us to do. We serve out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. There are countless numbers of opportunities for service in your community. Let others see Christ working through you.<

  4. The Matthew Party Approach

    Luke 5:29 (LB) Soon Levi held a reception in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests were there.

    After Matthew became a follower of Christ, he gave a party and invited all of his old friends and his new Christ-following friends to meet Jesus and each other. Matthew's approach is an interpersonal approach. It works well for those who enjoy spending a lot of time with people, developing mutual trust and deep relationships. Through this trust they are able to weave their faith into the lost people around them. My next-door neighbors had a "Matthew Party" during a snowstorm last year. They invited all the neighbors over for stew and hot chocolate. The husband said a wonderful prayer and the dinner conversation was low-key, but Christ found His way into the conversations often. I am sure that dinner has had an impact on some of our nonbelieving neighbors. Be creative and think of ways to have "Matthew parties" IF that is a style of evangelism that suits your personality.

  5. Peter's Confrontational Approach

    Acts 2:14 (LB) Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven apostles and shouted to the crowd, "Listen, all of you, visitors and residents of Jerusalem alike!"

    While Peter is one of my favorites in the Bible, I am not sure if he is someone that I would pal around with. Peter was a very in-your-face kind of guy. God wired him up that way, and used Peter's personality in Acts 2 to deliver a very confrontational sermon that resulted in over 3,000 people being saved. But this approach is a very specialized one. It should done only (1) if you have this gift from God and (2) if the person being confronted will respond only to this style of evangelism. I have used this style only once in my life. It was on a very confrontational person and as God would have it, it succeeded with this particular person. Some people have the gift of this confrontational approach but unfortunately use it at the wrong times on the wrong people. I cringe when I hear someone shouting to every passerby, "turn or burn!" I have had some people complain to me that they do not want anything to do with Christianity because the Christians that they know are so obnoxious and annoying. If you do use Peter's approach, use it with much care.

  6. Intellectual Approach
Acts 17:2 (LB) As was Paul's custom, he went there to preach, and for three Sabbaths in a row he opened the Scriptures to the people, 3explaining the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and his coming back to life, and proving that Jesus is the Messiah. Some who listened were persuaded and became converts-including a large number of godly Greek men and also many important women of the city.

Obviously Paul was a gifted intellectual. God used his intellect to reach the "smart" people of Thessalonica. Some of my doctor friends are very natural in using this approach with their associates. Very calculated and logical-minded people need a very detailed explanation about whom Jesus is. They hardly ever would respond to the testimonial approach. Instead, they need facts before they find real faith.

Well, this devotional has gone on longer than I anticipated. I hope you have stayed with me this far. Again, take a good look at your life. Try to live out a consistent, authentic Christlike life. Find a style of evangelism that fits your personality. Pray for God to place a lost person in your life. And most importantly, just be you. Be the person that God made you to be.

Father, thank You so much for your practical Word. Thank You for making each of us unique. Help us to understand how You want us to help You in spreading Your Word, life by life by life. In Christ's name, Amen.

David Massey

[email david] david@masseyre.com