Dr James Engel developed a model, known as the ‘Engel Scale’, that’s helpful in describing evangelism as the process leading towards a decision. Imagine a line or a scale with zero at the centre, and minus numbers to the left (–1, –3, –10 etc.) and positive numbers to the right A person who is asking questions and seeking God could be said to be a –1, but someone who wants to knock your block off rather than hear the gospel they’re a –10! Believers are all on the plus side… as we continue to grow and mature in faith we move along the line (+1, +4, +10, etc.). If you move a person from say, –5 to –3, is that not part of the evangelism process? You may not be there for the “zero hour”, but God has certainly used you in the process.
Jesus said, ‘The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost’ (Luke 19:10 NIV). This is Christ’s mission statement: ‘To seek and save the lost.’ It is a mission that Christ began and one that He commanded his Apostles and the Church to continue with the divine directive to go and do likewise, to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (the main verb here is make; we are to go and make disciples not wait around for would-be disciples to come to us). It is the directive known as The Great Commission and it’s also wonderfully incarnational, in that, in going to make disciples we incarnate Christ: Christ dwells in us and promises to be with us always: ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”’ (Matthew 28:19–20 NIV).
Evangelism is the gift of being able to walk across the room.
Somebody once said, ‘Evangelism means handing out invitations to a free party that’s out of this world’.
In Matthew 28:19-20 we read: “Go and make disciples of all nations, [commanded Jesus] baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Let’s be clear: what exactly is it that Jesus commands us to do? – Go and make disciples. We are to go and make (the verb is make)… not wait for folk to come in and ask, ‘Excuse me, how can I become a disciple of Jesus’? We are the ones who have to go out and bring the lost in. The church is not meant to just be a cruise ship or a pleasure boat (even though it is often), it’s meant to be a lifeboat, and we are the crew, the rescue party. We are to make disciples, not just converts. In the Great Commission we are commanded to:
- make disciples (people need to commit to Christ)
- mark disciples (baptise them) and
- mature disciples (teaching and helping them to obey the Scriptures)
Jesus went out to the Sea of Galilee to find his first disciples: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you a fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 NIV1984) – Fishers of men: that’s what Jesus calls us to be. Fishers of men, not aquarium keepers! To be a fisher of men you have to go fishing (not wait for fish to jump out of the water and into your lap). We are to fish and catch people for Christ… mostly, that means tickling the fish for a while (getting to know them, making them comfortable) not blowing them out of the water! Note that Jesus said we are to fish for them, not hunt them down or shoot them!
To follow is to fish! To catch fish you have to go where the fish are. If we spend all of our time with other Christians then we won’t be in a position to invite non-Christian people along to church in the first place.
R. Ian Seymour
The church is not meant to be just a pleasure boat or cruise ship, it’s also meant to be a lifeboat, and we’re the crew, the rescue party. Evangelism is a body ministry – and it should be all hands on deck! But evangelism is process, not an event. Evangelism does not necessarily mean we have to preach the whole of the gospel to everyone we meet. Let me ask you this: If you pray for someone to know Christ, or you invite someone to Alpha, is that not evangelism; is that not part of the process? Of course, it is. Some of us are evangelists who teach and preach the gospel but ALL of us should be involved in evangelism.
R. Ian Seymour
There is no doubt that most non-Christians will walk into our homes ten times faster than they will walk into our churches. As we get to know people as friends, they will begin to confide in us about their burdens, longings, aspirations, frustrations and emptiness. As they tell us these things, we can say quietly (if our experience was similar), “You know, I used to feel like that until I had an experience that completely changed my outlook on life. Would you like me to tell you about it?”
Paul Little (professor of evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
Source: Paul Little, How to Give Away Your Faith, Downers Grove Illinois, IVP (1988 edition), p.46,59
Evangelism The Archbishop of Canterbury helping Christians to share their faith
‘A Letter from your caring Father’ by Neil Anderson & Rich Miller
My Child, you may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. In me you live and move and have your being. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake, for all your days were written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb and brought you forth on the day you were born.
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. It is my desire to lavish my love on you, simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father could, for I am the perfect Father. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts towards you are as countless as the sand on the seashore, and I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you, for you are my treasured possession. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.
I am the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and I will take away the pain you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus my love for you is revealed. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Come home and I will throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I am waiting for you.
Love, your Abba Father
Source: Neil Anderson & Rich Miller, Getting Anger Under Control, 2002, Oregon USA: Harvest House, p.150-151
Billy Graham died on 21 February 2018 at the age of ninety-nine. As a messenger of God, he had planned his own funeral very carefully to be a call for people to put their faith in Jesus. He had said beforehand, ‘Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.’
In 1934, at the age of sixteen, he’d heard God’s call and became a faithful messenger of the gospel. He spoke about Jesus to over 210 million people in person and to almost half the population of the world on TV or radio. He was determined to make the most of every opportunity, including his own funeral, to pass on God’s message to the world.
Cited by Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year 2020, day 86
‘Evangelism’ illustration using these ½ dozen free-range eggs.
A friend of mine keeps chickens and a few cockerels. They’re allowed to roam free and so some of these free-range eggs, maybe all of them, will be fertile – if the cockerel has cock-a-doodled with the hen, that is! How can we know which ones are fertile and which ones aren’t? We can’t. We just have to let the hen sit on them and see what happens! It’s the same with personal evangelism: we can’t know who will respond and who won’t, so we reach out, invite everyone and trust the Lord to see what happens.
By the way, did you know that a breeding hen lays one egg a day but she doesn’t actually sit on them until she has her full clutch, maybe 14 or so. Then she gets broody and sits on the eggs to incubate them. That means some of the eggs (in egg years) are quite old before they are actually incubated and brought to life. It’s the same with some people: the gospel seed is sown but sometimes it takes many years before they finally come to faith… Don’t ever give up on those God has laid on your heart.
R. Ian Seymour
R. Ian Seymour, Empowered Personal Evangelism, Weybridge: New Wine Press (2014), p.153
Nicky Gumbel comments that people make all sorts of excuses for ignoring the claims of Christianity. Here are six of the most common ones:
- ‘I have no need for God.’ When people say this they usually mean they are quite happy without God. What they fail to realise is that our greatest need is not happiness but forgiveness. It takes a very proud person to say they have no need of forgiveness.
- ‘There is too much to give up.’ Sometimes, God puts his finger on an area of our lives which we know is wrong and we realise that we would have to give things up in order to enjoy this relationship with God through Jesus. But we need to remember: a) God loves us. He asks us only to give up things which do us harm. b) What we give up is nothing to what we receive. The cost of not becoming a Christian is far greater than the cost of becoming a Christian. c) What we give up is nothing compared to what Jesus gave up for us when he died on the cross.
- ‘There must be a trap/catch’. Sometimes people find it hard to accept that there is anything free in this life. They think it all sounds too easy; there must be some hidden trap. However, what they fail to realise is that although it is free for us, it was not free for Jesus. He paid for it with his own blood. It may be easy for us. But it was not easy for him.
- ‘I’m not good enough.’ Not one of us is good enough. Nor can we ever make ourselves good enough. But that is why Jesus came.
- ‘I could never keep it up.’ We are right to think we could never keep it up – we cannot by ourselves. But the Spirit of God, who comes to live within us, gives us the power and the strength to keep going as Christians.
- ‘I will do it later.’ This is perhaps the most common excuse. Sometimes people say, ‘I know it’s true – but I’m not ready’. They put it off. The longer we put it off the harder it becomes and the more we miss out. We never know whether we will get another opportunity.
Source: Nicky Gumbel, 30 DAYS: A Practical Introduction to Reading the Bible, 2006, Alpha Publications, p.30-31
Jesus said, “No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44 NIV). We need to pray that the Father would draw people to Jesus. – If we try to convert people in our own strength we will fail.
A man I know, Andy, recently took me to see a friend of his who was dying. Andy desperately wanted to see his friend accept Jesus and he pleaded with his friend to see me. The man agreed because of his friendship with Andy.
“Ian, come and tell him the gospel,” Andy said to me! Well, I went along, with Andy in tow, and I did what I was asked… but it was extremely hard going. Why? Well, because this was Andy at work, desperately wanting to see his friend saved… but we saw no evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in his friend’s life. Don’t get me wrong: Andy’s desire was truly commendable, and time was running out… but people need to be open to the gospel and have ears to hear!
I read from my Bible, spoke about forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, and Andy’s friend was very polite and listened to me – because of his relationship with Andy – but as far as we know he didn’t hear. The lights were on but there was no one home!
Now I might be an evangelist but if you take the word Christ out of Christian you are left with Ian and Ian can’t save anybody! Ian stands for I Am Nothing… and if we are Christian that’s really what it should mean: I am nothing, Christ is everything.
All I do – what we all need to do – is to look for where the God the Holy Spirit is at work and go and join Him in the work of evangelism. So how do we know if a person is receptive or if the timing is right or how far along their spiritual journey they are? We just have to be obedient to God’s leading us, bold in our asking spiritual questions, and then keep on keeping on.
R. Ian Seymour
One Christian mother was having problems with her rebellious teenage son. He was lazy, bad-tempered, a cheat, a liar and a thief. Later on, though outwardly respected as a lawyer, his life was dominated by worldly ambition and a desire to make money. His morals were loose. He lived with several different women and had a son by one of them. At one stage he joined a weird religious sect and adopted all kinds of strange practices. Throughout this time his mother continued to pray for him. One day the Lord gave her a vision and she wept as she prayed, because she saw the light of Jesus Christ in him, and his face transformed. She had to wait another nine years before her son gave his life to Jesus Christ at the age of thirty-two. That man’s name was Augustine. He went on to become one of the greatest theologians of the church. He always attributed his conversion to the prayers of his mother.
Source: Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.77
Carpenter from Nazareth seeks joiners!
The word ‘evangelism’ and evangelical’ come from the Greek term meaning “gospel” or “good news.” The various forms of the word often cause confusion so allow me to explain:
- To evangelise is to gospel.
- An evangelist is a gospeller.
- Evangelism is gospelling.
- An evangelical is a gospel person.
There are some 70 million people in the UK and the vast majority are not Christian (regardless of what people tick on the census forms). There is a great need to reach these people with the good news of Jesus. At a training conference I attended a while ago, we were told that statistics from the NHS show there were 43 million prescriptions written for depression in 2011. Some of these, no doubt, will have been repeat prescriptions but even after taking this into account, that’s still an awful lot of unhappiness! In the UK there is a crisis of purpose – people are lost and looking for meaning and direction in life. There is also a crisis of spirituality: a spiritual vacuum that people try to fill with all sorts of mystical stuff! And there is also a crisis of contentment or happiness, which ‘affluenza’ (affluence and wealth) have not been able to satisfy. We should tell others the good news of Jesus because people really need to hear it.
R. Ian Seymour, Empowered Personal Evangelism, Weybridge: New Wine Press (2014), p.144
Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples’ not – go and make converts to your opinion.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, (2000 edition), Worcester: Oswald Chambers Publications, p.133
Ask, is it that you can’t believe or won’t believe? In other words, is the issue of your believing a problem of the mind or of the heart?
Get to know your neighbour is a piece of cake (‘cake bomb’ new neighbours)!
As ministers we are to take people, one step at a time, from A to Z: from Antagonistic Atheist to Zealous, Zappy Christian.
Let me ask you this: if the world ended tomorrow, what’s the only thing, ultimately, that would really matter? Answer: whether or not we know and have accepted Jesus personally. Friends, that’s the whole reason we are still here; so that we can spread the gospel, the good news. The main reason why we are not simply caught up to Heaven as soon as we are saved is because we have a job to do here on Earth.
Aim to lead one person to Christ every year… ‘Lord, give me one person’… then disciple them. If we all did that, in twelve months we’d be able to start a new church!
Christians are to be good news before they can share the good news; in other words, make friends first!
The manner in which you share the gospel can determine how willing a person is to listen to you. In fact, your attitude speaks more powerfully than the words of your message. Unfortunately, some people use the gospel as a sledgehammer.
There are two ways to get an egg out of an eggshell. One way is to crack it open; the other way is to put it in a warm, loving environment and let it incubate and hatch. The second ways preserves the baby chick while the first way kills it. Likewise, there are two ways to get the Good News across to people. You can pound them over the head with it, or you can love them into the family of God. The most effective way to share the gospel with unbelievers is to surround them with love and acceptance as you share the gospel with them.
Rick Warren, God’s Power To Change Your Life, 2006, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, p.191-192
We are to share the good news about Jesus because we have discovered it for ourselves and, frankly, it would be selfish to keep it a secret. When a pregnancy or birth, or an engagement or marriage happens in your family, its good news and you don’t keep it to yourself; you share it. On the other hand, imagine discovering the cure for some debilitating, life-threatening disease and keeping it to yourself – how selfish would that be? We have fantastic news for all mankind: As the angel announced to the shepherds at the beginning of Luke’s gospel: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV1984).
In Romans, chapter 10 Paul talks of his desire to see his fellow Jews accept Christ, and in v13 he states: ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Then, in the next verse (v14), Paul goes on to pose a number of penetrating questions: ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?’ How indeed? How can the church grow; how can people today believe and come to faith in Christ; how can they call on the name of the Lord and be saved if they don’t actually hear the gospel proclaimed; if we don’t evangelise? Evangelism is key. Without evangelism Christianity could, potentially, die out in just one generation. We need to tell people about Jesus – just as we were told about Him.
In The Message John 1:14 is translated as: ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.’ – What a wonderful and apt description for the incarnational mission of the church, to move out into the neighbourhood, to go and make disciples.
God is a missionary, and He chooses to use us in His work of salvation, to seek and save the lost. It is sometimes said that witnessing is the gospel without words but evangelism is a conversation. That may be splitting hairs, but the message of the gospel needs to be clear and people need to understand that through Jesus the bad news has become good news. Evangelism is the proclamation of the message of Jesus. It is not something we do to people it is something we do for people, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
– R. Ian Seymour
Most people meet Christ on the road to Emmaus rather than on the road to Damascus. They meet Christ in others as they talk on the way, rather than being struck by divine revelation and a blinding light.
(Adapted) John Pritchard, Living Faithfully, 2013, SPCK London, p.133
Set the evangelists free to evangelise. Release one to restore many. Paul says in Ephesians 4v11 (NIV1984): “It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” Christ gave to His church some to be evangelists: Don’t tie evangelists down. Eagles tied to a stake have no soar left in them! We must set the evangelists free to do what they have been gifted to do… mission not maintenance! But that must not become an excuse for everyone else to down tools! Personal evangelism is not an option for the church. It’s a command not a suggestion.
Billy Graham considered leaving his final sermon on a recording, giving mourners a chance to respond to the gospel at his graveside. His message: ‘I’m not here in person today, I’m in heaven. But I want to tell you this is a wonderful place to be and if you want to come here you need to repent of your sins and come to Christ.’
Cited by Nicky Gumbel in The Jesus Lifestyle, 2010, London: Alpha International, p.184
Evangelism 1 God so loved the world
Evangelism 2 That he gave his only son
Evangelism 3 That whoever believes in him
Evangelism 4 Shall not perish
Evangelism USS Montana
See also Text version
Evangelism Wk 1 Uncover Mark Is Mark’s Story Reliable
Evangelism Wk 2 Uncover Mark Who
Evangelism Wk 3 Uncover Mark Roll Away Your Stone
Evangelism Lost at Sea Full Flame Film Series by Reinhard Bonnke
Evangelism How BIG Is God An Incredible Perspective
Prayer Lets Pray For Our Nation To Know Jesus Thy Kingdom Come 2017