Evangelism in 3 Easy Steps!


I just want to say up front that my thoughts on evangelism are not just random ones. They’ve been birthed in the crucible of my long and gruelling history of failure in the enterprise at hand. Having failed miserably on many occasions to achieve anything close to an evangelistic encounter I have certainly earned the right to speak on this subject.

Because the gospel itself is simple and straight forward, I have sought to keep my thoughts on the subject simple and straight forward as well. Evangelism need not be as difficult as people like myself have sometimes made it. All you have to do is follow the three steps outlined below.

1. Open your mouth.
Studies show that it’s easier to get words out of an open mouth than a closed one, unless you’re a ventriloquist. Even then, the mouth is usually partially open as long as the lips don’t move. Of course, if you’re far enough away from your audience the lips can move slightly. If you would like more information on how to speak without moving your lips I’m sure there are many quality ventriloquistic courses available on the web. In evangelism it doesn’t really matter if the lips move or not. And you certainly don’t need a dummy sitting on your lap. The important thing is that the mouth is open wide enough for words to get out of it. So the first step in effective evangelism is to open your trap.

When the Apostle Paul spoke before the Sanhedrin the high priest ordered someone to smack Paul in the mouth (see Acts 23). Why? Because the high priest didn’t like the words coming out of it (Paul’s mouth). He understood that an open mouth often leads to talking, which could include words you don’t want to hear. Which brings me to the next step.

2. Say something.
Once the mouth is open, the second step is to actually say something. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with saying: “Preach the gospel at all times, use words when necessary.” With all due respect to Saint Francis, evangelism implies, dare we say requires, the speaking of actual words. I suppose you could communicate the gospel through body language but the potential for misunderstanding is enormous. You might think you’re communicating your excitement for the gospel when in fact you’re really telling someone that you need to use the bathroom. Such are the difficulties in reading body language.

3. Say something about Jesus.
Talking about the weather or the Blue Jays or even Donald Trump doesn’t qualify as evangelism. Sometimes even atheists use their mouths for talking. There are even reports of talking Hindus and Buddhists. In fact, there are unbelievers who can’t shut up.

In order to evangelize someone you must talk about Jesus (see Philip the Evangelist in Acts 8). This is the difficult part of the process. Most people are fairly capable of enacting steps one and two. It’s this pesky step three that really causes the most problems. Some would argue that it doesn’t really matter what you say because “God knows your heart.” You might be talking about the colour of your hair or the tattoo on your arm but God knows that you really want to communicate the gospel so He is able to transmit that information directly from your heart into the head of your unbelieving communication partner. No need for the info to come out through your mouth and into their ears because God is able to work a miracle.

To date, however, there have been no confirmed reports of anyone receiving the gospel through osmosis. Most people hear the gospel through the open mouth of a Christian. Yes, occasionally God speaks to people in dreams and visions but even then the subject usually seeks further explanation from a seasoned believer. Again, that further explanation would require an open mouth saying something about Jesus.

To recap then, the process is indeed a simple one:
Open your mouth
Say something
Say something about Jesus

If you’re not comfortable with these steps then simply do what most other Christians do; leave it to the professionals, which would include pretty much anybody whose last name is Graham.

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.freestock.com/free-photos/silenced-eccentric-woman-tape-mouth-71829037″>Image used under license from Freestock.com</a>

Converting the Jews

Should Christians try to convert Jews to Christianity?
That was the question pondered in a news story I read recently at Forward.com. According to the story the Vatican drew flack from an organization called “Jews for Jesus,” because the former decided to exempt Jews from the church’s evangelistic efforts. Obviously, “Jews for Jesus” believe Jews need Jesus. And they believe it is perfectly acceptable to tell them as much. The Vatican is not so sure.

It’s difficult to escape the irony of it all – a Gentile church debating whether they should try to convince the people of Israel to believe in a Jewish Messiah. Jesus was born and raised as a Jew and is now followed by billions of Gentiles. Yet, relatively few (as far as I know) of “His own people” believe in Him. The scriptures make no attempt to hide the paradox. John (one of the original 12 Jewish apostles) said, “He came to His own (the Jewish people) and His own did not receive Him…” (see John 1:11)

Some did receive Him of course and some receive Him today. Indeed, if it weren’t for the Jews – Peter, Paul, John, to name but a few – there would be no Christian church. The vatican did acknowledge that “Christianity is rooted in Judaism.” But for some reason they think this means the Jewish people themselves do not need to become Christians.

My question is: What about Paul? He started out as a zealous Pharisee and a great persecutor of Christians, but an encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus completely changed the direction of his life. What if Paul never became a Christian? The vast majority of our New Testament would not exist. Self-described as a Hebrew of Hebrews Paul was the writer God used to pen a sizeable portion of the document that forms the bedrock of Christianity as we know it.

The Christian Church exists today because Jews became Christians. Of course, there are some, even Christians, who believe we should make no attempt to convert anybody, much less the Jews. But Jesus specifically said, “Go therefore and make disciples (Christians) of all the nations…” (see Matthew 28:19) The key phrase is “all the nations.” He didn’t say, “go and force people to become religious.” Or “go and try to make people come to church.” Becoming a Christian is all about free choice. It’s about giving people the freedom and option to become a Christian “if they want to become one.” If they don’t want to become one then that is their choice. We must respect it.

Not everybody will accept the message. Some will completely reject it. But given the eternal significance of the matter we have to at least give them a fighting chance.