Evangelism is a term used to describe a Christian that spreads The Gospel of Jesus Christ to non-believers. The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines evangelism as “The promulgation of the gospel.” If you’re wondering what the Bible says about evangelism, it can be captured quite succinctly in Mark 16:15, when the Scriptures tell us: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Evangelizing requires strong faith, courage, and conviction in the promise of God’s Word. It is made easier and more effective with evangelism courses and online training, books from the experts, as well as specialized resources and tools like evangelist tracts. The internet has helped to democratize Biblical evangelism through the use of social media and virtual communication mediums (think Zoom) as well.
When you’re new to evangelism, it can be a daunting task to get started. That’s why Lord’s Library editors compiled this resource which compares key evangelism methods, strategies, and techniques for sharing The Gospel. The different Christian denominations employ varying evangelism techniques based on doctrine and practice. And like anything else, each of the evangelism methods we highlight below has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important to remember that there is no evangelism method which has universal success, and no “evangelism” occurs unless one shares The Gospel. However, evangelism works best when its tailored to the specific situation. For example, you wouldn’t look to evangelize vocally to individuals standing in line to enter a loud rock concert. What’s the best of the different evangelism methods? Whichever one presents The Gospel clearly and asks for a response, is the general rule of thumb.
Below we discuss the most common evangelism methods that will help new Christians live out our common mission. This resource begins with the overarching categories of evangelism methods, followed by several common use cases where you could consider using them.
Evangelism Methods, Strategies, and Techniques
Key Evangelism Methods to Consider
Lifestyle evangelizing can best be summed up by the phrase, “My life is my witness.” Lifestyle evangelizing is a method where one lives the best life they can for Christ and letting their actions serve as their witness. The goal here is to live such an abundant and beautiful life in the Lord that it catches other people’s attention and makes them want to learn more about what makes you so different.
This type of evangelizing opens doors to honest and piercing conversations about The Gospel and how it can transform one’s life.
Servant evangelizing is all about spreading The Gospel through serving others as Christ would. Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve organized a public food drive at your church. At this event, anyone from the public who is in need can come and receive basic food and necessities on behalf of the church. As you serve these people and provide them with their basic needs, it can often lead to powerful conversations about faith and why you felt called to put on such an event in the first place. Christ strived to meet the needs of others in many ways throughout His ministry, and by doing so reflected God’s love for them in amazing ways.
We are called to do the same.
Often put on by churches, event evangelizing is a potential way to bring the community together in fellowship, and preach to them the message of The Gospel in the process. This is a popular method congregations and ministry groups, the most famous of which are revival services, vacation Bible school, and Halloween alternatives (think “Trunk-or-Treat”). An outreach event is held, the public is invited, and The Gospel is shared with those who attend.
Door-to-door evangelism often sparks images of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons. This method involves going to homes and sharing The Gospel with those who answer. Many Southern Baptist churches in the United States commonly do this type of door-to-door evangelism. Their earnest desire to tell everyone they can about The Gospel of Christ brings them right to people’s doors, hoping for an opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
Street Preaching Evangelizing
Street preaching evangelists typically set up shop along a busy street in a city. They will preach the message of The Gospel to passerbys, knowing they will have a big audience in a busy area. They also know that being out in the community means they’ll be able to preach to a wide array of people, many of which may not have ever heard the message of The Gospel before.
Bible tracts are very small books or pamphlets that tell the story of The Gospel in a simple, yet effective way. Tracts are small and easy to hand out in busy areas where a lot of people are passing through. They can also be easily left places for people to find and explore on their own, or given after a conversation about faith to help someone remember and study further the topics discussed. Street preaching evangelists often give out tracts.
Conversational & Relational Evangelizing
Note: Some may distinguish between conversational and relational methods.
Conversational evangelism is starting a conversation for the purpose of sharing The Gospel while relational evangelism is seeking to relate to the person, looking for permission—i.e., an open door—to discuss spiritual matters. While they may be technically different, their general approach is the same: sharing The Gospel during a normal conversation. Thus, they are treated as one in this evaluation. This can occur in a store checkout line, at a sporting event, on an airplane, or almost anywhere.
Conversational evangelism was the method most often used by Jesus Christ.
Which Evangelism Methods Work Best?
Personal Evangelism Techniques
When evangelizing, more often than not, it’s best to keep it simple. We don’t need a complicated master plan to tell others about Christ and The Gospel, and there are plenty of opportunities that arise naturally throughout one’s life. In light of this, one of the best things that can be done is to wear faith on your sleeves; live in a way that shows you are a believer.
Just simply treating others with love and respect, no matter who they are, can be enough to generate conversations about the Christian faith. It never hurts to self-identify yourself, either, by wearing a Christian tee-shirt or cross as a tool to spark a discussion about The Gospel. Something as simple as what you’re wearing could break the ice between you and a would-be Christian.
The other key thing to can do as you get set to evangelize is to be prepared. That means studying the Bible diligently, while keeping an eye on different evangelism methods and examples in the Scriptures. Use prayer as a means to enhance your evangelism plans, and even rehearse if you have trouble with engaging with strangers. There’s no more frustrating barrier than stumbling over words when you have a moment to speak the truth of The Gospel.
You will find that many more are curious about the faith than you originally thought.
Cross-Cultural Evangelism Techniques
When Jesus chose to become a baby, He provided the ultimate example of cross-cultural evangelism. Jesus, even though He was the Son of God, took on all the limitations of humanity. Rather than just burst into the universe and take the world by force, Jesus became a helpless baby. He developed as we all do, growing up to learn life just like everyone else.
The Incarnation provides us with the ultimate example of how to evangelize cross-culturally. willingly laid aside His status as God to become human in order to connect with us. As such, He accepted all the limitations that human nature placed on Him. This voluntary relinquishment of rights allowed Him to enter perfectly into the culture of His people and thus convey the love of God for all humankind.
What does this mean for us? It means that when we are preparing to do cross-cultural evangelism, we must strive to learn as much as we can about the culture we are preaching into. We must be willing to dive deep, do our homework, and learn to speak to them in a way that will resonate with who they are in a special way. We must be willing to accept the differences and limitations of that culture so that we can be the best evangelists we can be.
Modern Evangelism Techniques
Technology affords us many new ways to reach the world for Christ that simply weren’t available to us in times past. If we use our technology wisely, it can be a tool to help us spread God’s love around the world!
Just think about it this way: with the internet, we can communicate and influence people from ANYWHERE in the world, all from the comfort of our own homes. Not only that, but there are countless ways to do it! In times past, you needed to be face-to-face with others to tell them about the Gospel and show them the love of Christ. But now, we can communicate with others anywhere, at any time.
There are countless ways to go about this, some as simple as posting your testimony and daily Bible verses on social media, to organizing your very own online ministry. No matter how you go about choosing to spread the Gospel of Jesus using technology, you can have a larger reach than ever before.
Evangelism Methods and Strategies for Church Growth
Churches grow when they contribute to and impact their communities in meaningful ways. Many people won’t give an emissary of the church the time of day or read any mailing sent out by the church. But if that bridge is gapped by loving acts of service or an opportunity to be part of something special, you’d be amazed at how much easier it is to evangelize!
There are two main ways this is successful. The first is through service ministries. As a church, identify needs that exist within your community. Are there many in poverty seeking clothes, food, and other basic necessities? Are there many families in the community who need child care or fun family activities to participate in with their kids? Narrowing down the answers to these questions can point you in the right direction of how to evangelize as a church.
When you meet the needs of people in your community, you show them the love of Christ. How? Because that’s exactly what Jesus did everywhere He went! When people have their needs met and see that you are willing to go to great lengths to serve them, it will open their hearts to the message of the Bible. They will have an intimate and personal connection with the church now and feel the loving presence of Jesus through your actions. This type of approach helps to strengthen the church and build up its ranks.
Family events help to connect more people to the church as well. “Trunk-or-Treat” Halloween alternative events, youth camps, and any other kind of family outing event can bring people to the church who might not come over on their own. Families are always on the lookout for things to do with the kids. Once they are there, they can hear the message of the Bible, have it resonate with them, and become regular members of the church!
Evangelism Strategies in the Book of Acts
Below is a chapter-by-chapter summary of the different evangelism strategies in the Book of Acts:
- Acts 1:12-14: Evangelism comes before a time of prayer.
“Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
- Acts 2:36-38: Evangelism involved powerful public preaching about The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
- Acts 3:6: Evangelism involves serving others.
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
- Acts 4:29: Evangelism involves speaking God’s word boldly.
“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”
- Acts 5:42: Evangelism involves private and public preaching whenever the opportunity arises.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
- Acts 6:1: Evangelism involved daily distribution to the poor.
“And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”
- Acts 7:59-60: Evangelism involves being willing to lay your life on the line for Christ.
“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
- Acts 8:26: Evangelism involved going wherever people are to be found.
“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.”
- Acts 9:17-18: Evangelism means serving and preaching to all kinds of people.
“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
- Acts 10:1-2: Evangelism means we must obey The Gospel.
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.”
- Acts 11:14: Evangelism means sharing words that will bring others to salvation.
“Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”
- Acts 12:12: Evangelism means praying for workers.
“And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”
- Acts 13:2-3: Evangelism means sending out workers.
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
- Acts 14:23: Evangelism involves good leadership.
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
- Acts 15:6: Evangelism grows out of being able to settle conflict.
“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.”
- Acts 16:25: Evangelism involves keeping the right attitude.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”
- Acts 17:11-12: Evangelism involves studying and preaching God’s Word.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.”
- Acts 18:9: Evangelism involves speaking God’s message fearlessly and with love.
“Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:”
- Acts 19:26-27: Evangelism means opposing all religious error.
“Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”
- Acts 20:27: Evangelism means preaching the full wisdom of God.
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
- Acts 21:13: Evangelism grows out of deep commitment to God and to the lost.
“Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
- Acts 22:21: Evangelism thrives when we realize we are sent by God.
“And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”
- Acts 23:6: Evangelism finds its foundation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.”
- Acts 24:25: Evangelism involves reasoning about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.
“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
- Acts 25:19: Evangelism is preaching that Jesus is alive, both in word and action.
“But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.”
- Acts 26:28: Evangelism is teaching the importance of giving one’s life to Christ.
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
- Acts 27:23-25: Evangelism involves faith in God.
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”
- Acts 28:31: Evangelism involves preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern Jesus.
“Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
What other resources on different Christian evangelism methods can we share with our audience? Let us know!
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