Evangelism and the Church – Part 2 – Practically Speaking
“Preach abroad….It is the cooping yourselves up in rooms that has dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and hedges and compelling men and women to come in.” – Jonathan Edwards
Let’s suppose I’ve convinced you in my last post that evangelism is biblical and it is something that Christians should do. Let’s suppose, in some small way, I’ve encouraged you or your church to consider an attempt at evangelism outside the church walls. Many will ask how do I do this? I mean practically what does this look like?
First of all I want to begin with the confessions of a coward. I didn’t start out with a burning passion to evangelize the lost in the way that God would have me do it. I wanted to tell people about Christ, but to go out and do some of the things that I thought about when I really thought what it meant to be an evangelist was just not something I thought I’d ever do. When I became a Christian evangelism was encouraged in our church and then a providential thing occurred. Our Pastor was preaching through Romans and Chapter 10 was a watershed moment when it all became very clear.
For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:13-15
Do you see what Paul is saying here?
He is saying that unless someone gives the gospel to the lost they can’t be saved. This is a remarkable statement and no matter how great of an example you are in your own personal holiness and character unless you actually speak the gospel to someone they won’t be saved. So how can this be done? We saw last time some of the methodology Jesus, His Disciples and the Apostle Paul utilized. We can do many of these today and in no way is this a comprehensive list but this should give ideas for implementing evangelism into your life.
I must also briefly mention that Paul tells us that we should be sent. We won’t explore this deeply in this article, but in short it is important to have the support and the oversight of a local church. Many will do evangelism without it and I won’t go so far as to say it is sinful, but when we have the local church sending us there is a great deal of accountability and protection for the evangelist.
On to our list and this is in no particular order.
Have a good sign made with a clear gospel message. Something as simple as “Repent & Believe on Christ”. There are many great biblical texts that will proclaim the gospel message to those that pass by. Stand at a busy intersection holding the sign and offer a tract if it’s possible. You will reach more people in an hour than most professing Christians would dare reach in a lifetime.
Walk the Streets
This is one of my favorite forms of evangelism. If you go with one or two others and walk around your downtown area on a weekend evening or anytime there is traffic you can engage people on the street. Pass tracts as you go and try to have gospel conversations. Ask them questions like “do you have any thoughts about what will happen after you die?” You will amazed how many doors this will open.
Bus Station Ministry
Another favorite place to have discussions. I live in Iowa and it’s cold here in the winter so many people wait inside the bus station during these months. Sitting down with people and passing them a tract and seeking a conversation is a great form of ministry. There are many with time to talk and often a willingness to talk.
I’ve never done this, but have a friend that has encouraged me to do so. You may have to get cleared by the jail first in order to be admitted but they generally have no hesitation to have the prisoner’s being given a Christian message. Make sure you have bibles to take with you. This may be an opportunity for an up and coming preacher to have an opportunity to preach.
I believe gospel tracts to be one of the most efficient and expedient ways to get the gospel into the hands of many people. One of the favorite ways to do this is to attend events where there are lots of people. It can be a baseball game or a concert. Standing on the street corner and passing the good news to anyone that walks past. You will need to learn to deal with rejection. There is no need to take this personally, get used to it. It is part of ministry. A well written gospel tract will go places that you wouldn’t imagine. Recently I had a woman send our church a message from Texas. She had received a tract and was wondering if she could get more to pass out herself.
Open Air Preaching
I believe open air preaching to be one of the finest and purest forms of evangelism biblically speaking. God has used this form of evangelism throughout the entirety of the Bible. This requires a boldness and a love for people. I also believe that an open air preacher should be vetted and approved by the Elders of the local church. There are many rogue street preachers that do not preach an accurate message with love and compassion for the souls that hear. When good open air preaching is accompanied by others that pass out tracts the preacher will have support and questions can be answered. The open air preacher in many cases will naturally draw curiosity because of the unusualness of this in our culture. This can be done on college campuses, sporting events, concerts or any place that numbers of people gather. Regardless of where the preacher goes it is important that the message be clear and the gospel properly explained.
Certainly one of the most difficult ministries. This involves knowing what happens and how to combat the lies that will be told at these places. There are many good resources online that can help if someone has an interest and I believe having the Elders of the church assist in getting an abortion ministry started is critical. Having pre-abortion packets, gospel tracts and an open air preacher are all helpful resources. Above all put on love and compassion for the souls that you will minister to.
I hope this is helpful, this list is in no way exhaustive. The message of hope and salvation in Christ is a message that must be proclaimed. If you are a believer it is an imperative and it is indicative of your relationship with Christ. The Lord did not mince words on this topic.