Eight Approaches to Evangelism

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org


Letís begin by asking two questions: The first question is: What is the Gospel? The book of Mark begins with the statement about the gospel: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, {15} and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel"" (Mark 1:14-15).

Did you notice what Jesus was preaching? He was preaching the gospel. The gospel of what? He was preaching the gospel of "the kingdom of God"!

The word "gospel" means "good news," "glad tidings" or "good message". So Jesus came preaching the "good news" of the "kingdom of God". Notice in verse 15 that we must "repent and believe this gospel" to be saved.

The "kingdom of God" message and repentance was the main focus of Jesus' ministry.

The second question that I want to ask is: What is evangelism? Evangelism is the zealous preaching of the "Good News" by a messenger. The exciting news is that we could be that messenger.

Preach the Gospel

Letís look at some scriptures that pertain to the gospel. The apostle Paul said: "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 10:15).

Paul also stated: "And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation" (Rom 15:20).

Letís look at one more scripture from Paul: "and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19).

The apostle Paul stated here that it was his aim or goal to preach the Gospel with boldness.

Worship God in Spirit and in Truth

Jesus admonished His disciples in how to worship God: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. {24} "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24).

Jesus told His disciples that Godís word is truth (John 17:17). As a disciple of Jesus we must seek Godís truth and live by it. We must study Godís word, the Bible, and seek the truth that He reveals to us: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).

Before we "spread the good news", we had better know what we are talking about. If all a person is doing is spreading the message of typical "churchianity," which much is based upon pagan fables and holidays, then God will hold that person accountable. We had better be sticking our noses in the Bible to see what God and Jesus are really saying. NOWHERE IN YOUR BIBLE does it say to keep Sunday, Easter or Christmas. The Bible in both the Old and the New Testament does say to keep the seventh day weekly Sabbath ( Exodus 20) and Godís seven annual Holy Day festivals (Leviticus 23). (Request our free literature: "Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath," "Why Do You Keep Sunday" and "Godís Holy Days"). 

What is the Goal of Evangelism?

Matthew records Jesusí commission to His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV).

As we can see, this commission has three parts: make disciples, baptize them and teach them.

Now letís look at the eight approaches to evangelism.

Approach #1 - Set the Right Example

How do we set the right example? We can start by living the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5-7. This sermon that Jesus gave is the foundation of Christianity. It is the "nut and bolts" of how to live the Christian life. Jesusí instructions in this sermon instructs us to be humble, to mourn, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to be merciful and to be peacemakers. We are to be the salt of the earth, a light to the world and we are to live by Godís Ten Commandments.

As you read through the Sermon on the Mount you will notice that this is NOT salvation by grace only, because Jesus gave us works to do. He tells us how we should be conducting ourselves.

Jesus also passed on some very important instructions to His disciples as recorded in His prophecy that He gave on Mount Olivet as recorded in Matthew 24 and 25. Matthew 25 records three parables. The first one tells us to be prepared, the second tells us we must perform and the third parable reveals that if we donít do works, we could lose our salvation.

Setting a right example involves: following Jesusí teachings and His example. We can always ask the question: What Would Jesus Do? But we have to remember that to know what Jesus would do, we must read the scriptures, the Gospels, the Book of Revelation, the words of Jesus, to know what He would do.

Setting a right example is the most important approach to evangelism - 

BUT!

Letís read a passage from the Gospel of Luke: "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? {8} "But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? {9} "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. {10} "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'" (Luke 17:7-10).

We must go above and beyond what is required of us.

#2: Confrontational Approach

Now letís look at the confrontational approach that involved the apostle Peter.

"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1). ..... "And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5)..... "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words" (Acts 2:14). .... "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know" (Acts 2:22). .... "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." {37} Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" {38} Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:36-39).

Peter was confrontational. He pointed his finger at the Jews and laid it on the line. Some could have been offended and he possibly could have been martyred.

At times the apostle Paul was confrontational and he was stoned and left for dead.

We must be very careful with this approach.

#3: Intellectual Approach

Now letís look at the intellectual approach which involves the apostle Paul: "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. {17} Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. {18} Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. {19} And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? {20} "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean." {21} For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. {22} Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; {23} "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: {24} "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. {25} "Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. {26} "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, {27} "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; {28} "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' {29} "Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. {30} "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, ..... {33} So Paul departed from among them. {34} However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them" (Acts 17:16-34).

The apostle Paul appealed to their intellect, their knowledge, their religious ideologies.

If you are going to appeal to someoneís intellect, then, you need to be reading and studying the Bible. Peter said: "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

#4: Testimony Approach

The Gospel of John records the following event: "Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. {2} And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" {3} Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. {4} "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. {5} "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." {6} When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. {7} And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. {8} Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" {9} Some said, "This is he." Others said, "He is like him." He said, "I am he." {10} Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" {11} He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and I received sight." {12} Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know." {13} They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. {14} Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. {15} Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." {16} Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them. {17} They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." {18} But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. {19} And they asked them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" {20} His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; {21} "but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself." {22} His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. {23} Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him." {24} So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner." {25} He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see." {26} Then they said to him again, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?" {27} He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?" {28} Then they reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples. {29} "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from." {30} The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! {31} "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. {32} "Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. {33} "If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." {34} They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out. {35} Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" {36} He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" {37} And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." {38} Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him" (John 9:1-38).

There are several interesting things recorded in this passage. Notice in Verse 22 that the blind manís parents feared the Pharisees. The Pharisees had the power and control and they abused the people by threatening them that they would be put out of the Temple.

In this passage, the man who had been blind had been healed by Jesus. He gave his testimony to the Pharisees and in Verse 27 it sounds as if he was perhaps getting hot and argumentative with the Pharisees.

Perhaps at times in our lives, we can give a testimony of what God has done for us. It is encouraging to others to hear about a healing, a miracle or a blessing. We must give God the credit and the glory.

#5: Hospitality Approach

The hospitality approach involves being sociable. The Gospel of Luke records the following: "After these things He (Jesus) went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." {28} So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. {29} Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. {30} And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" {31} Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. {32} "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Luke 5:27-32).

Notice that Levi, the tax collector, was sociable. When Jesus called him, he did not cut himself off from his family, friends and coworkers. He was not ashamed of Jesus. He was being a light to the world.

We can learn a lot from this approach of being hospitable and sharing a meal with others. We could always take this opportunity to share the Gospel with others. One way is to always say a blessing over the meal and in that blessing you could mention some of the truths of God and how He has blessed you, our nation and the people attending your meal.

#6: Invitational Approach

Letís look at an invitational approach in the Gospel of John: "But He (Jesus) needed to go through Samaria. {5} So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. {6} Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. {7} A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." {8} For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. {9} Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." .... {15} The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." {16} Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." {17} The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' {18} "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." {19} The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. {20} "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." {21} Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. {22} "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. {23} "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. {24} "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." {25} The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." {26} Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." {27} And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?" {28} The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, {29} "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" {30} Then they went out of the city and came to Him" (John 4:4-30).

Notice Verses 28-30 that the Samaritan woman invited the men of her city to come to Jesus. We should follow her example and invite our friends and relatives to church so that they could come to Jesus. Through evangelism, our efforts can make a difference.

#7: Service Approach

The service approach is recorded in the book of Acts: "At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. {37} But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. {38} And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. {39} Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. {40} But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. {41} Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. {42} And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord" (Acts 9:36-42).

We all need to serve others with good works and charitable deeds. Love is outgoing concern for others. This shows that we are trying to be holy. We should take the time to call someone who is sick, visit someone in the hospital, send a card, go to the funeral home and comfort friends who have had a death in the family. We must show others that we care.

Jesus said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). If we canít do the little things for our friends, how could we give up our life for a friend?

#8: Be Ready to Give an Answer Approach

The apostle Peter stated the following: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

In order to use this approach we must study, read and meditate on the scriptures of the Bible. We need to know the Book. We need to answer a personís question by using scripture.

The following scripture is one that is very important in quoting Godís word: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

Now letís look the example of Philip and see how he applied this approach of evangelism: "Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. {27} So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, {28} was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. {29} Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." {30} So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" {31} And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. {32} The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. {33} In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." {34} So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" {35} Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. {36} Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" {37} Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." {38} So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. {39} Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:26-40).

Philip did what Jesus commanded the disciples in the three part commission that He gave them. Philip made a disciple, he baptized him and he taught him.

We need to be ready to give an answer if called upon to do so. In order to do so, we must study our Bible every day and pray for opportunities.

In Conclusion: Evangelism should be a part of a Christianís way of life. Jesus said: "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38 NKJV).

Perhaps by being aware of these eight approaches to evangelism, we can preach the gospel of the kingdom of God more effectively. Letís remember the three part commission of evangelism is to make disciples, baptize them and teach them.