Evangelism 101

A Diverse Audience

This class is designed to instruct the student to become a better evangelist by better understanding the mindset of those they are trying to reach.  This course will concentrate less on technique and more on understanding the needs of those who do not know Christ and how to reach those needs.

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Class: Evangelism 101

The first thing I feel must be clarified when we seek to evangelize the lost is that while a distinction may definitely be drawn between saved and unsaved, there are many stages of spiritual preparedness.  One person may be very adverse to anything Christian and it may take a long time to win them over the Christ.  Another may simple need a few questions answered and a gentle nudge to get them over the line.

Condensing a few charts I’ve seen drawn on this, I’ve come up with five categories of spirituality.

Skeptic/Cynic Ranges from: avoids the truth, possibly mocking it
To: recognizes a difference in the messenger, though not the message itself
Spectator Ranges from: sees relevance in the Bible
To: considers the Bible to be true
Seeker Ranges from: recognizes a spiritual need
To: turns from trusting in self to trusting in God
Believer Ranges from: trusting in Christ
To: makes Christlike choices
Disciple Ranges from: shares faith with others
To: lives by faith, fruit of the spirit very evident in one’s life

Of the three types of non-believers- Skeptic, Spectator, Seeker – which category do most people you know fall into?

 

The problem of teaching an evangelism technique is that it is not a one size fits all piece of equipment.  While each technique is certainly valuable, and I do recommend learning them, you can’t bludgeon a skeptic over the head with the Romans Road if they do not believe in the authority of the Bible.  (The Romans Road, if you are unaware of it, is a set of verses from the book of Romans that lead you through the process of salvation.)  If a person does not believe the Bible is true, telling them what the Bible says about hell, Jesus, salvation, and heaven is not (likely) going to make them get on their knees and repent.

Likewise, showing scientific evidence to prove the Bible may be unneeded to a person who may believe what the Bible says but is just unsure of what they need to do to be saved.  The term “being saved” is actually a term that you may wish to avoid altogether when speaking to non-Christians.  There are many terms such as “born again” or “sanctified” that we may hear every week in church but mean absolutely nothing to someone without a church background.

What other terms can you think of that may be lost on a non-believer and should be avoided in explaining the gospel?

Anyone who wishes to be a disciple of Jesus must consider the cost and understand that the road will not be easy.  This is also true for evangelism.  While you may have visions of reaching your neighborhood or community for Christ, it will not be easy.  It requires more effort than simply going door to door and handing out tracts.  In almost all cases, a relationship must first be established before a person is willing to give their life to Christ.  

In a survey of Christians asking them who or what lead them to Christ, the responses were as follows:

A special need drew them 1-2%
They just walked in 2-3%
A Pastor 5-6%
Church visitation 1-2%
Sunday School 4-5%
Evangelistic crusade or TV program 0.5 %
A church program 2-3%
A friend or relative 75-90%

What this surveys means is that all of the pastor’s sermons, church programs, and evangelistic outreaches only account for, at the most 25%.  This means that we cannot rely on the church being responsible for saving our friends and relatives.
What can also be drawn from this is the necessity of building relationships.  People who are going to place their trust in Christ must first trust the messenger delivering the message.  This takes time, not just weeks but usually months and years.

Who was responsible for leading you the Christ?


As an evangelist, you must earn the right to be heard.  Just because you know that you have a message the world cannot live without does not mean others recognize this.  There has to be a reason that others will even listen to you.  You cannot win the lost by shouting your message above the din of the rest of the world.  You earn the right to be heard by serving, sharing, listening, and smiling.

Can you think of other ways to earn the right to be heard?

Not every time that you share the gospel with someone will you see fruit – this is simply a fact and has nothing to do with your presentation or your ability to share the gospel.  (After all, crowds usually drove Paul out of the cities he worked in, trying to kill him.  He obviously did not convert everyone who shared the gospel with!)

However, the work you do is still a necessary part in bringing people to Christ.  Even Paul recognized that not everyone who taught was brought to Christ immediately.  Instead, Apollos later came along and built on the foundation that Paul had laid.  But neither one took credit for their work because it was God who caused growth.

1 Corinthians 3:5-15 says:

 

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

 

Soil is a very good analogy used for non-Christians but the audience Jesus spoke to would have understood it better than we do today.  As many people today live in big cities and have been nowhere near a farm, there are a few things you should know.
Not all soil is good for growing in.  Sometimes soil is too rocky or hard to grow in.  Other times, there are too many, or too little nutrients in the soil to grow.  Other times, things are simply too hot or cold to grow some plants in.  My dad was recently in Arizona and remarked how none of the homes had grass in their yards.  It was simply too harsh an environment to grow grass.

Soil must be prepared before it can be planted on.  Jesus speaks on soil in Mark 4:3-8.  The four types of soils are four types of people.  On three types of soil, the seed is planted but there is no fruit gained.  Only on one type of soil is there anything gained.

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

 

The next section will deal how to prepare the soil (the heart of the non-Christian) and how to sow the seed (pronounce the gospel).

 Check out our proposed answers.  Or move on to Evangelism 102.

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