From time to time on my way to my wi-fi hangout I see a church member or a few church members trying to hand out tracks to those who walk by them on the corner. I do not know how successful they are but I rarely see them talking to anyone. This method of evangelism has been around since the beginning of time I think and its success rate is probably very, very low.
Maybe that rate is on par with that of street preachers, hard to say as I have not seen many revivals by that group of people. Most likely the church and its members need to rethink how they are spreading the gospel to others. Now first off, let me make it very clear that all Christians should know how to lead a person to Christ and the correct method in doing so because you never know when you will meet someone ripe for conversion.
BUT the method most likely needs to be changed because we are not doing greater work than Jesus in this and other areas of life
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12 NASB)
Then if we follow the example of Christ, you will see that along with his preaching, he did good works. This is the change I would like to suggest to the different church denominations. Let’s leave the gospel message portion to the time the unsaved are ready to listen to it and are moved by the HS to repent of their sins and accept Christ. Let’s stop forcing the gospel upon others and stop forcing Christian to share their faith in unbiblical and unnatural ways.
Here are a few suggestions to fill the void left by that change of strategy.
First, realize and recognize that not everyone is appointed to be an evangelist (Eph 4:11) It does no good putting people in the church into positions and situations where they do not belong. That is like trying to pulling a car mechanic out of the garage and putting them in front of a computer terminal and telling them to fix it. They may try but the computer remains broken.
Second, realize that evangelists need fully equipped support staff to be successful. (Eph. 4:11) That means, as one example, the church needs to teach some of their members how to teach, what to teach and how to continue to get better at teaching. This requires academically educated people who can teach the teachers who then teach new believers the way of Christ as Aquila and Priscilla did.
Third, understand that evangelists are the last persons on the list to get involved with other people. They are the harvesters and farmers do not send in the harvesters until there is something to be harvested, nor should Christian churches be sending in evangelists until their field is ready for them to work.
Fourth, do not degrade, humiliate, embarrass or consider the sowers and waterers as second class Christians inferior to evangelists. Without them the evangelist cannot do their duty and the evangelist is not more spiritual than those who do the hard work of preparing the soul for harvest. Everyone is the same in the kingdom of God for they are all part of the same body (1 Cor. 12:11-25)
Fifth, realize the importance of academics because ignorance is not a godly characteristic. The unsaved world takes great delight in being educated, even knowing the bible better than believers, and they have a great time mocking believers who do not know what they are talking about, even if it is their own faith. We are not here to embarrass Christ or bring mocking unto him or his name.
Leaving believers vulnerable to the attacks of evil is not a Christian trait or activity. We need to stress the importance of learning and learning correctly. Experiential stories are NOT enough to defend one’s faith or the Bible. Believers do not need to be scholars, but they need to be educated and well above the ignorant level.
Sixth, understand that there are many different methods to plant seeds and to water them. Some are as follows:
1. be a friend— Jesus was a friend to sinners thus we should be as well but that friendship does not mean we participate in their evil or call their evil good. We are there when they need us, or for something as simple as going to a ballgame together. use God’s word to guide you on how to conduct that friendship and draw examples from Christ’s life on earth.
2. be used— too many years ago I was passing through a town where some people I knew lived and I asked if I could stay with them. The morning after the first night at breakfast I asked the wife if her husband had any extra work that needed to be done. A look of relief spread across her face and she said, ‘I am so glad you offered as I was afraid we were going to be used.’
You are going to be used. Jesus was and I point to the example of the 10 lepers, 9 of whom did not return to give thanks. Learn to deal with it with God’s grace. You never know when you entertained angels.
3. Social gospel— I said earlier that Jesus supplemented his preaching with good works and that is true. He healed, gave wise counsel, fed the everyone, not just the poor, and met other physical needs. Doing good work for others is being obedient to Christ as he said to ‘do unto others as you want to be treated’. There are many ways to good work for those who need Jesus. Pay their grocery bills, help them with medical care, watch their house for them when they are away, watch their kids, and so much more.
No one hates a person who does good work for others.
4. Don’t preach— You do not have to give a gospel message , you do not have to invite them to church right away, you can simply say you are a Christian and then let your actions back up your declaration. They say that actions speak louder than words, and maybe Christian churches need to adopt that as an evangelistic tool because how Christians behave makes an impact on unbelievers one way or the other.
Do not have ulterior motives either. Do not do them just because you want to convert them, then after they are converted they never see you again. Do these things because you love God and would want them done unto you.Let God worry about their souls while you simply obey his commands. There will be times where words are required and God will guide you in learning when that time is right.
There is no use trying to preach too soon, because then the unbeliever will come to the conclusion that you have ulterior motives and will shut the door to the gospel and Jesus. We please Jesus by obeying his leading not by jumping ahead of him.
Evangelism shouldn’t be a terrifying act nor should it be used to denigrate unbelievers who decide against receiving Christ as their Savior.
5. Remember that people have free choice— Christianity hurts and it hurts when people you work hard to be their friend make decisions that they want to make even though those choices hurt them and send their souls to hell. That is part of the price of being a Christian. You have to let people make up their own minds then treat them the same as you did before without accepting , supporting their sins or calling them good.
You have to remain biblical no matter how they choose to live, even if it is a loved one. No one is helped by changing scriptures to fit the loved one’s stance in life. Stand with God, stand upon the truth and do it with love.