of the Gospel
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 (ESV)
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Easy Evangelism (Evangelism 101) - Tips for the Faint of Heart
For many of us, evangelism does not come easy. Here are some tips to make it easy, or at least easier. Go ahead, dip you toe in the water. You still need to be able to present the gospel, should the occasion permit. Check out How to Present the Gospel.
Tip 1: Stock up on some Witnessing Tee-Shirts and wear them.
The idea is to wear a shirt with a gospel message in public. It could be anywhere.
What does this accomplish?
You will be making a public statement of faith without having to say a word.
In doing so, you are letting other Christians know that they are not alone.
Danger: you are opening yourself up to conversations with strangers who comment on your shirt. The easy part is that you don't have to start up the conversaton. They may already be Christians, but they may not be. You need to be able to say something in response. It does not have to be a theology lesson or a gospel invitation. Just being able to make it clear that you are a believer (and be sure to mention where you go to church) is a good first step.
Where to wear your shirt? In order of riskiness, consider the following:
Church events. You won't get the opportunity to witness to non-believers, but people are sure to ask you about your shirt.
Shopping. You will be proclaiming your message, but depending on how busy things are, you may not have anyone ask you about your shirt.
Hiking. This is a great time to wear your shirt because there are generally fewer people and conversations come easily.
Gay Pride Events. OK, you're probably not ready for this, but if you really want to take the message to non-believers, this is the place to go.
Where to buy? Almost any Christian store has tee-shirts. You can check out Amazon or just do a Google search. Here is one place to get you started.
Tip 2: Share a Bible Verse.
During a conversation, quote the Bible when and if it is appropriate. People will sometimes recognize that you are quoting the Bible, others that you are quoting something or somebody, and others that you simply had something wise and pithy to say. In any case, you have opened the door to a more in depth conversation. And don't worry about what to say. If you can simply get in an invite to your church or a church event, you have done a great job. And if you are talking to another believer, if nothing else you may have a good conversation and will be encouraging them to sprinkle their conversation with Scripture.
You want to be sure the Scripture you quote is appropriate and relevant to the conversation. This requires a degree of discernment.
You have to have an adequate store of Bible verses in memory to be able to draw upon. But memorizing Scripture is a wonderful discipline in and of itself and being able to use what you have memorized in conversation is just gravy.
Visit the UnShackled Scripture Memorization page for more information on the subject. This opens a new window / tab at the UnShackled website.
Tip 3: Hand Out a 'Business' Card.
Or an evangelism card, as we call them. If you carry these around with you, you may find many opportunities to hand them out. It could be a card for your church. In our case, it is a card for our small group. Many people invite others to their church or small group but have nothing to give them as a reminder. Here is the generic version of the 'UnShackled for Life' card. We also create personalized versions as well.
Note that the link and QR Code on this card take you to the UnShackled entry page which in turn links to the UnShackled home page as well as the CFC (Cross Fellowship Church) website. Note to self - we need to update our cards since we have become multi-site with a new name!
Tip 4: Create a Website For Your Small Group.
Most churches already have a website, but a website created for your small group can be more personal. The purpose of this website is obviously not limited to just evangelism, but any time you can get a non-believer to look at a Christian oriented website, you are succeeding in exposing them to at least a little bit of Christ. Who knows where that may lead? This is a form of evangelism that doesn't involve actually talking to people, so it is a good way to go for bashful types. Many / most of you came to this website as a result of my promoting the site in the comment thread on relevant articles. I consider not just the website but the promotion of it to be part of my contribution to evangelistic outreach.
Consider Tip 3 above. Having a 'business card' with a QR Code and/or url to your website allows you to easily provide someone with much more information than you can fit on a card. Even if you only have a one page website accessible using the information on the card, it would still be very useful. Consider our 'entry page'. It includes our logo (which my graphic designer / character artist son put together for us), information about our group, contact info, links to our larger website as well as our church website, and directions to our church.
If you are considering a modest sized website, you can create and publish it for free using Wix (check them out here). This site has been created and maintained entirely with Wix. After going the free route initially, I ending up paying a modest monthly fee for the following benefits: our own domain name without 'wix' in the url, unlimited traffic and up to 10gb of storage for site content. But unless you plan on creating a large site such as this, just do it for free.
And if you are telling yourself "I can't do complicated computer things like that", set your mind at ease. I must confess that I was a computer applications developer for many years before recently retiring, so I am comfortable using computers. But I had never actually built any web pages - I programmed business logic at the 'back-end'. So developing a website like this was a completely new experience. Wix gives you all the tools you need. There is no 'programming' involved.
The UnShackled website is not officially part of our church. Money and time put into it are NOT tax deductible. Of course, this allows much more flexibility. For example, we cover and comment on politics. So can a church as long as they don't endorse or oppose specific candidates - though most avoid it like the plague for fear of losing their tax-exempt status. The UnShackled website can do commentary and endorse or oppose specific candidates to our heart's content.
Tip 5: Support Others in Their Evangelism Efforts.
Watching War Room made me think of some obvious easy evangelism tips, though I'll include them together as a single tip. They all boil down to supporting others in their evangelism efforts.
We can provide prayer support for others (and ourselves).
We can provide financial support.
We can provide 'moral' support. An example is simply by turning out for movies such as War Room. Such movies can reach people for Christ, but they won't be made if few people go see them. And there is always the side benefit of having the movie impact our own Christian walk and evangelism.
Tip 6: Setting a Good Example.
Someone once said that no one should be surprised to learn you are a Christian. If they are, you are not setting a good example for what it means to be a Christian.
Setting a good example is beneficial to ourselves and those around us, but to be a useful evangelism tool, setting a good example is not enough. People have to know you are a Christian as well. Wearing evangelism tee-shirts or Christian jewelry is one way to do it. Another is simply to make references in your conversations that make it obvious you are Christian. For example, I might mention something that happened in church last Sunday, or that I have church choir rehearsal each week.
Although this tip has to do with setting a good example, the letting people know you are Christian (even in the most casual fashion), can lead to more in depth conversations just as Tips 1&2. Since this can lead to the opportunity to invite someone to your small group and church, so having 'business' cards (Tip 3) would be handy. So try to live your life with Christ as your example, and go out into the world armed and ready. You never know when the opportunity might arise to evangelize and you want to be prepared and not let that opportunity slip by.
Tip 7: Write Your Own Personal Testimony.
There are a number of nice methods for presenting the gospel (more on this to come). But the easiest method of all is simply to provide your own personal testimony - how you came to know Jesus Christ. You don't have to memorize a bunch of rules - just state your own personal experience.
Personal testimonies are powerful. It is almost impossible to argue against a personal testimony. How can someone dispute what you have experienced? In addition, personal testimonies make clear that while no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ, there are many paths to Christ.
But are you able to give your own personal testimony right now? Have you really thought about it? Perhaps you had a Damascus Road experience that you can never forget. But many of us took a route that is a little less dramatic and clear in our minds. Writing down your testimony is a big help. I had never really thought much about my own until I wrote it down. And as I wrote, I began to remember various influences along my path that I had forgotten - people whose own testimonies or the examples they set had an influence on me that wasn't fully realized until many years later.
Need some help? Here you go - How to Write "My Story."
Tip 8: Invite people to Christian movies. Or Church!
For some of us, inviting people to a movie is a lot easier than inviting them to church. But surveys show that most people are quite open to a church invitation, especially if you attend and sit with those that accept your invitation. Introduce them around. Many church members, alas, don't introduce themselves to people they don't recognize, but they will certainly welcome those that are introduced to them.
When it comes to movies, it looks like more movies are being made with a core Christian theme and the quality of such movies is significantly improving. War Room and Woodlawn are recent such movies. And a movie invitation is painless. Don't hide what the movie is about - people are generally open to Christian-based movies even when they would not be inclined to go on their own.
Tip 9: Internet Comment Evangelism.
Many if not most articles and columns that are posted on the web allow for comments to be made. And most comments can be either 'liked' (up arrow) or 'dis-liked' (down arrow) by readers. The number of 'likes' are always shown. Most sites to not display the number of dis-likes, although they are taken into account when ranking the 'best' comments. Typically, to be able to make comments or rate them, you have to log in. Some websites allow you to sign in using your Facebook account, if you have one. Other sites use Disqus (pronounced 'discuss'), where you can easily set up an account. Some sites allow both, but the comments are separated into two sections, one for Facebook, one for Disqus. I use Disqus since I do not have a Facebook account.
I have observed that even at many conservative websites, the comment sections seem to be dominated by those on the Left; that is to say, by those who are hostile to Christianity and Christian values. This is true when articles involve abortion, SSM, LGTB 'rights' and the First Amendment (not just freedom of religion). And this is especially true when it comes to the comments that are most heavily 'liked.' I sometimes wonder whether some people are paid to make Christian-bashing comments and to 'like' other such comments. If you need an example, go to CNS News (a very conservative site), pick an article and check out the comments. Just scroll down, the comments always follow the article plus some ads.
What to do, what to do?
'Like' comments that you agree with, dis-like ones you don't. You can only 'like' a comment once. Some people set up more than one account so they can do multiple likes (typically to their own comments), but that is definitely unethical. It can be a big morale booster to a commenter to have a lot of people like their comment, so supporting those we agree with via 'likes' is very valuable and painless. If you are looking at the comments for an article or column, it takes almost no time at all to do some serious 'liking.'
Make comments yourself. Remember the old saying? Live your life in a such a manner that no one will be surprised when they find out you are a Christian? That is especially true when commenting on the web. For many, the anonymity of the web allows them to let it all out - and not in a good way. Do not follow that example.
Tom C's rules for internet commenting follow, but for the moment, I just want to list 2 types of comments we as Christians can make:
Comments stating a position on an issue or supporting a position on an issue. Such comments may be made stand-alone or as a reply to someone else's comment. You may or may not make it clear that you are speaking as a Christian. My rule of thumb is that if so stating does not seem out of place in the given context, do it.
Evangelism comments. These are typically made specifically in response to someone. Over the years, I have engaged multiple people who are hostile to Christianity. You will never know whether you impact them, but it never hurts to try. Be sure to follow Tom C's rules for internet commenting.
Tom C's Rules for Internet Commenting:
Always be civil and polite. Never resort to ad hominem, especially when responding to someone else's comment.
Have a thick skin. Just because you are civil, you may get some nasty replies and be called nasty names. It is a trap. Do NOT respond in kind.
When appropriate, make it a point to respond to those that respond to your comments. That said, feel free to break off a conversation when you can see that it is going nowhere. And some comments do not invite a response. "I agree!" is a nice comment to get in response to your comment, but does not require another response.
Perhaps I should include a 'how to debate' section for now, but suffice it to say that you must be prepared to back up any statements you make and you should challenge those who disagree with you to back up theirs. For example, someone posted that there was just as much violence from 'Christian extremists' as from Islamic extremists. He gave three examples of Christian extremists, two of which were false. Challenge such statements and back it up. Far too many commenters state untruths to back up their narrative (e.g. Romans 1 tells Christians to execute homosexuals). Don't let them get away with it.
Don't just avoid ad hominem when responding to specific individuals. Avoid it referring to groups as well. Referring to homosexuals as 'perverts' or 'sodomites' might be defended as technically true, but those are pejoratives and offensive. You will never get a homosexual (or many others) to listen to what you have to say if you use those terms. Remember, our goal is to move people towards Christ, not away.
Keep your comments on topic, either to the article in question or to the comment you are responding to. Changing the subject is called 'hijacking the thread' and is definitely in poor taste.
Proofread your comment before submitting it. Bad grammar and poor spelling detract from what you have to say. And in taking the time to proofread, you may find a better way to say what you have to say.
More to follow, suggestions welcome.
Tip 10: Saying Grace in Public
Most Christians do not say grace before meals in restaurants. Why not? Most will say they don't want to draw attention to themselves. It is more likely that they just feel a sense of embarrassment. Whatever the case, you rarely see anyone saying grace in a restaurant.
Here is a challenge. Try it. If you are by yourself, just bow your head and say grace. It doesn't have to be out loud. If you are with family or friends, try holding hands while one person says grace aloud, albeit softly.
Why should we do this? First and primarily, we should always say grace, even if only silently. We should regularly be thanking God for his provision and what better time than at meals? Note: be sure to be saying grace at home as well, though unless you have non-Christian guests, that wouldn't qualify as evangelism. Second, we are making a public declaration of our faith. When people see Christians actively declaring their faith, even in such a simple situation as this, they may start asking themselves just what there is about the Christian faith that causes Christians to make it an open part of their lives. And finally, as a result, we may be challenging other Christians that see us, not only to start doing the same, but also to inspire them to take their own faith a bit more seriously.
Update: When ordering, consider asking your server if you can pray for them when you say grace.
Tip 11: Christian Landscaping
Why not make a little statement about your faith in your yard? Some places have ordinances against signs and other such things. Low key items such as those illustrated on the right are probably safe. Erecting a 10 foot cross might be a problem.
I'm going to add a fairly large cross for Christmas, but it will be temporary. But I am going to add some smaller stuff to my landscaping as soon as the weather warms up a bit.
Tip 12: Be Friendly, Be Helpful, Be Cheerful, Be Available
This relates to Tip 6: Setting a Good Example. But it is possible to set a good example and yet be rather passive about it. Many think that being stoic and not doing bad things qualifies as setting a good example. Well, I suppose you can argue that is not setting a bad example.
We should be active in setting a good example, not passive. Let a little sunshine into other people's lives. Be available for those that could use some help.
Note that the Boy Scout Law covers all these except "available." I've always found the Scout Law to be a very good guide to personal behavior. I can still recite the Scout Law after almost 55 years.
Tip 13: Volunteer
I'm totally stealing this from this morning's (3/12/17) sermon. While this relates to Tip12 - especially the "be helpful" and "be available" parts, it goes beyond.
We can volunteer for both one-shot events (helping with a move) as well as for longer term commitments (helping at the library). While volunteering within the church is important, it may or may not qualify as evangelism. Volunteering outside the church may open the doors to many evangelism opportunities in addition to simply setting a good example. And you will be accomplishing something more than mere "easy evangelism."
You know the saying "the world is run by those who show up." Consider showing up. Whatever you may think, there is always a need for more volunteers. There is always something more to be done.
And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2 ESV)
Tip 14: Hand out New Testaments
This tip came from "Nathan," who suggested it in response to a comment I made on the web. Always carry some inexpensive New Testaments (or a Gospel of John) and hand them out. If shy, just leave one with your tip at a restaurant. If you are like us and have business cards for your church or small group, include a card along with the NT.
I'm sure you can come up with many opportunities to hand these out. Be creative - and always have some on hand! Here are a couple places you can get them for cheap, but feel free to do some searching if you prefer a different translation, size, or whatever. These are the low prices I found after a quick search.
New Testaments (NASB $.90 each in quantities of 40, free shipping)
Gospel of John (NASB $.60 in quantities of 10, don't know about shipping)
Tip 15: Hand out Gospel Tracts
This differs from handing out New Testaments in that it is likely to be more intentional and less spur of the moment. In general, people are quite willing to accept what is being handed out without a word having to be spoken - although words are welcome. Don't believe it? Check out the following video.
Handing Out Gospel Tracts is Easy
It is best if your tracts include the name and address of your church. In addition, or as an alternative, you can include a small gift with your church's name and address, along with the tract. The best gifts are things that people are likely to keep and hence will have your church info available in the future. Examples include refrigerator magnets, insulated cup holders and the like. There are many places that will produce custom "marketing" materials. Here is one: Vistaprint.
What tract to use?
First, if you are just handing out tracts without initiating a conversation, do not use a tract that is misleading or is likely to turn off the recipient at first glance. An example that immediately comes to mind is a tract that looks like money. However, some tracts, such as the aforementioned one that looks like money, are very useful in initiating a conversation. Just be aware that the tract you use should be consistent with your own personal level of engagement with the people you are distributing tracts to.
Second, many churches already have tracts complete with church information Many members don't know, so ask.
Finally, if possible, use a tract that has a positive appeal at first glance. This is pretty subjective, so just use your own good judgment.
Enough! Here are some possibilities.
Steps to Peace With God. This is the tract FBC Black Forest (my church) uses. We add stickers on the back with our church info. This is a Billy Graham tract, available from many sources. Here is one. Built around the Bridge Illustration, this tract goes into quite a bit of detail. To get an idea of the content, here is a very abbreviated version of the tract in pdf format.
Spirit-Filled Life. Available here, this is a product of CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). There is plenty of room on the back for church info. There is a lot of detail, so rather than try to describe it, here is a pdf that includes the entire tract.
There will be more tracts to come, but if the above tracts are not appealing, here is a site with links to all sorts of websites providing tracts.