Personal Evangelism

The Practical Side

There are four parts to the practical side – “The Four P's”:

People, Preparation, Practice, Perseverance

1. People

  • You cannot be an evangelist unless you are involved with unsaved people (JOHN 4:35-36). This means relating to, talking and eating with, doing other things with, and sharing your life with people.
  • We all pass by people in the street; that is not involvement. Remember the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan (LUKE 10:25-37).
  • We need meaningful contact with people. So ask yourself, “How can I get involved? How can I build up relationships with people?” Doing things that help people and actions that show you care mean a lot to people.
  • Remember that every person is estimated to be in touch with 20 to 70 other people. So, if you can truly get alongside one, through them, you can reach many others.
  • If they become interested in the Lord, be ready to spend more time with them.
  • Also remember that Jesus sent His disciples out in twos. Can you do more with a friend? Can three or four of you do even better? Be inventive, creative, and adventurous. But check yourself whether you are in this for a good time or to reach people.
  • Don't write anyone off. That's judging. Talk to them all. The unlikely ones are often the ones who respond. Fear no one!

2. Preparation

  • By this we mean practical preparation. Spiritual preparation is covered in the next section.
  • You need to make changes to your lifestyle to allow for time with new contacts. You can't just "sandwich" them in between present commitments. Adjust now to be ready. They deserve your time!
  • You will find it helpful to have written "aids" to help get conversations going. Use leaflets, articles, or testimonies.
  • These are just conversation starters. They are not going to save anyone on their own, but they will help.
  • Have more detailed literature available like our theme sheets on ‘Water Baptism' and ‘The Holy Spirit' to give out to interested people (these are also available on the website: www.cai.org).
  • Having a small wallet for such pamphlets makes it easy to keep them with you at all times.
  • Be ready to go and prepared for action at all times (2 TIMOTHY 4:1-2)!
  • Jesus saved the thief when both were dying on their crosses. He was always ready to win someone. Have that same sense of readiness.
  • Try and relate to the people you are involved with. Talk at their level. Dress like them, if appropriate. Don't be too different (1 CORINTHIANS 9:19-23).

3. Practice

  • Evangelism needs practice. To do it, you have to start doing it.
  • Don't be disappointed if you think you've messed up in some way.
  • You can start by "practising" smiling at people. Practice being friendly.
  • Then take the next step of "practising" talking to people about anything. That's a conversational skill we have to learn (1 CORINTHIANS 1:21).
  • Sometimes you start up a conversation and can't get it around to the Lord. That's okay. Don't feel guilty. The more you try the better you will get.
  • Have a few key phrases in your mind that help turn the conversation around. For example: "Are you into the spiritual side of things at all?" Then whatever they say (Yes or No), you can say, "Yeah, well I wasn't either until I heard about miracles happening." And away you go. Another one is: "I heard an amazing story at our church the other day. This lady..." and give someone's testimony.
  • Remember that when you are "witnessing" to people you are doing just that, being a "witness". Talk about what has happened to you, not about theology and scripture.
  • Like Paul, in ACTS 22 and ACTS 26, God wants you to give your own story. There is nothing complicated about being a witness. You can also supplement it with someone else's. "One of the people in our church had asthma, cancer, etc., and what happened was amazing..."
  • Later, if the people are interested, you may end up discussing biblical or ethical matters. (Questions like: “Where did Cain get a wife?”; “What about evolution?”; “Why do bad things happen?”, and so on.) However if you can't handle that, you can always call in someone else. If you get them that far, you are doing really well.
  • Remember - practice makes perfect. The more you try, the better you will get.
  • Just starting down the road for the Lord, is a giant leap forward. It gets better. As someone once said, the hardest step is the one out your own front door. JUST DO IT.
  • Remind yourself that:

WINNING SOULS IS THE GREATEST CALLING IN THE WORLD (JAMES 5:20)
I AM KEEPING THE GREAT COMMlSSION (MARK 16:15)
I AM A MINISTER OF RECONCILIATION (2 CORINTHIANS 5:18)
JESUS DIED FOR THESE PEOPLE (1 TIMOTHY 1:15)
IF I DON'T SPEAK, WHO WILL? (ISAIAH 6:8)

4. Persevere

  • It's never going to be easy, although some people will surprise you by being so easy to talk to and bring to Jesus.
  • Have some good scriptures that keep you going, especially through the hard times when no one seems to listen.
  • “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (PHILIPPIANS 4:13).
  • “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (MARK 9:23).
  • “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit (JOHN 15:5).
  • “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (JOHN 15:16).
  • Sometimes you have to shake the dust off your feet and start in a different area. Too many people get tied up with their relatives and never move on to others (MATTHEW 10:14).
  • With God on your side, how can you fail? He wants sinners saved more than you do!

The Spiritual Side

There are four parts to the spiritual side – “DART”:

Drive, Attitude, Rejoice, Time

1. Drive

  • Every successful soul winner has a hunger for souls. He or she is driven to win them for Jesus. It is their top priority, no matter what else they are involved in.
  • Jesus was DRIVEN to reach people (LUKE 13:32-35).
  • Paul was DRIVEN to win souls (ROMANS 15:18-20).
  • This drive can only come from our relationship with Jesus.
  • The more we know Jesus, the more we will realize that many people around us are going to hell, dying, suffering, lost, or lonely.
  • We will love talking to others about Jesus, knowing that we must not deny Him.
  • When we know Jesus, we will keep going whatever the opposition.
  • Jesus reminds us that every person we walk past in the streets may be one of His.
  • He keeps our compassion, love, enthusiasm, and zeal high.
  • Let Him do this for you. Spend time praying over the lost. Say, “Here am I, Lord. Send me” (ISAIAH 6:8).

2. Attitude

There are some attitudes that a soul-winner needs. Others may get by without them, but a soul-winner must have them. God can give them to us. These are not in any particular order.

  • Faith: If you are going to get out into the highways and byways, expect doors to open to you. Go wherever your Lord wants you, fear nothing, and take every opportunity. You will need faith - every soul winner has faith.
  • Boldness: This is like faith. You need a holy boldness, a cheek, a special type of courage to walk through doors when others think they are shut, to phone up not knowing what will happen and to fear no man.
  • Love: All believers need love, but soul winners need a love of the lost, a love of the unlovable - a love that drives them out from the comfort of the church and into the world. They show this love and interest in every new person. New people sense that this person is genuinely interested in them and cares deeply for them.
  • Vision: Soul winners have a particular ability to see the potential in every human being for them to be followers of Jesus. They are excited by unsaved people, interested in them, even more than in those already saved.
  • Compassion: Soul winners can be impatient with the saints, as they think of those who do not even know Jesus. “Why aren't we all out there talking to them? Why are we thinking about our needs, when many don't know Jesus?”

Ask Jesus to give you more of all these attitudes. Don't be content with less.

3. Rejoice

  • The JOY of the Lord is your strength (NEHEMIAH 8:10).
  • Most people relate to a happy person more than they do to a sombre person. Usually they are more impressed by who you are, than by what you say, even if they don't quite recognise that. They won't relate to a sombre, intense or even fanatical person, because they probably sense that such a person could end up hurting them.
  • Remember that people are very suspicious these days. Politicians, lawyers and priests are no longer respected, and nor are Christians.
  • Genuinely happy people are always attractive and acceptable. They are hard to put off.
  • Rejoice in the Lord always (as a soul winner), and again I say, REJOICE (PHILIPPIANS 4:4).
  • A related truth is that a successful soul-winner must be able to cast their own cares aside, and relate completely to the person they are talking to.
  • That person becomes the most important person in the world for them. Much more important than themselves.
  • If you rejoice in the Lord, regardless of your own trials, you are ready to reach others. The Lord will see that and use you, and people will listen.

4. Time

  • There are probably more souls lost through lack of time spent on evangelism, than for any other reason.
  • Many saints are too busy with the rest of their lives, and even with church programs, to find time for soul winning.
  • If time, or the lack of it, causes souls to be lost, it is a spiritual problem.
  • Therefore time must be found by faith and trust in God.
  • We need to reorganise our priorities to make time.
  • We need to pray that God will grant us time.
  • We need to drop other commitments to spend time on evangelism.
  • We need to put time with our new contacts ahead of time with saints.
  • There is always an answer to lack of time. Find it for the sake of lost souls.
  • Say often: “My times are in thy hands, Lord” (see PSALM 31:15).

Source: Pastor Fred - Auckland, New Zealand