Evangelism (and Discipleship)
If you want to go straight to the nitty-gritty of evangelism resources, and avoid the preliminaries, click here.
As Christians, the most important action we can take is to obey the "Great Commission." Most people think of the Great Commission as spreading the gospel by bringing Christ to people and hence to bring people to Christ. Most Christians are familiar with the Matthew version.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
But all the gospels contain a "Great Commission," as does the book of Acts.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49)
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
Perhaps the Matthew version is the best known for a reason. My own reason for favoring it is "make disciples." Our mission is not merely to help people to come to Christ, but to help them grow in Christ. Nevertheless, no one can grow in Christ unless they first come to Christ.
If Jesus calls us to "make disciples of all nations," why are doing so poorly right here in the USA? We are still a "Christian nation," but the portion of the population identifying as Christian is declining and among self-identified Christians, many rarely attend church. How can this be? The shocking answer: among Christians identifying as evangelical, over 90% have never presented the gospel to anyone in their entire lives!
We can hardly bring people to Christ if we never make an effort to. There are many excuses, and we each have our own personal favorites. The one I am most familiar with, and I have used it myself, is that I am not comfortable, in large part because I am not prepared. Well, the Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared," and we are here to help you become prepared.
There are many good resources outlining the various steps to good evangelism. I am going to condense them down to a very short list. When we evangelize, we may have situations where these steps drag out over a period of years. Or they may all take place in a single encounter. We may be involved in only one or two steps while others handle the rest. The key is that it is best to be prepared to handle all the steps.
Let it be known that you are a Christian. Far too many Christians hide their light under a bushel. Do not be embarrassed to let your faith be known!
Be able to introduce "spirituality" into a conversation, or to recognize when someone else introduces the subject.
Be able to present your own personal testimony. This may include the gospel message. But the primary objective is to provide a reason why accepting Christ is beneficial. There is no better way to do this than to tell your own story.
Be able to present the essentials of the gospel message.
If appropriate, ask for a decision.
Fear not! There are plenty of resources and tools that can help you. Perhaps the most challenging is putting together your own personal testimony, but there are guides and aids for that, as well.
Here at UnShackled, we have the following resources:
Easy Evangelism - This page includes a number of tips that focus primarily on identifying yourself as a Christian and helping to introduce spirituality into a conversation.
How to Present the Gospel - This page links to many gospel presentation methods, as well as resources for creating your own personal testimony. And much, much more!
Discipleship - This page focuses on discipleship training from The Navigators. Currently our specific discipleship resources are limited. However, our personal revival page includes a number of useful suggestions and resources.
Feedback and suggestions are not merely welcome, but earnestly desired. These pages are a work in progress, so we hope to continue Improving existing pages and adding new ones. Use the contact us page. If a member of FBC, just ask anyone in the UnShackled LIFE group who to talk to concerning the UnShackled website.
Why should we evangelize? And why we don't. This includes links to (and comments on) articles on these topics.
Billy Graham Videos. I am no Billy Graham, and neither is anyone else. But he was the most successful evangelist of the 20th century and there are good reasons for that. No non-believer who has not reached "seeker" is likely to be willing to watch a long video. But seekers very well might. And these videos are well worth watching for our own sake. Take a look at some, and keep them in reserve in case the opportunity arises.
More to come.