METHODS OF EVANGELISM
Jesus commissioned all believers to spread the Good News of salvation in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, 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.” Amen.” There are many methods of evangelism for the believer to use in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. These methods were developed to help the believers that find sharing difficult.
Dr, Ben Gutierrez writes, “Nothing will instill a doctrine, life-lesson, principle or skill into a person’s mind more than having to teach it to someone else.” This thought, coupled with the principle of repetition, will allow the believer to become an effective evangelist. Part ONE – Evangelistic Method #1 – One “Intellectual” Method of evangelism is the Romans Road. This method incorporates several verses of the book of Romans to guide one in explaining the salvation of Jesus Christ. It demonstrates in simple terms why we need salvation, how God has provided that salvation to us through Jesus Christ and how we may secure that salvation.
The advantages of this method of evangelism are in its simplicity. There are only eight or nine versus to know, depending on which lane of the Romans Road you prefer. In fact, one has only to know what the verse is an not necessarily memorize the verse text. This would allow one to know where in the bible to turn and read, or have others read the text. It is methodical in that it allows for a repetitious method each time one shares the gospel in this manner. That is to say the order of the text and the way this method flows does not change while it is being shared from person to person. There
is a simplicity to this method as well in that it leaves out any deep theological issues yet allows for targeted discussion of salvation.
It is in the methodical simplicity the young, or shy, or insecure believer is provided this road map of evangelism an is not overwhelmed with the thoughts of not knowing enough to be able to share.
There a few disadvantages to using the Romans Road to Salvation. One must be mindful of these when sharing and have an understanding of the audience with whom they are speaking. Since the Romans Road is derived only from the Bible and only from the New Testament, it may at a disadvantage if the other person does not regard the bible as having any authority whatsoever or does not recognize the validity of the New Testament. Another challenge could be the general nature in which this method speaks as the Romans Road is narrowly focused on salvation and does not lend itself well to many questions of other areas in a spiritual discussion. Part TWO – Evangelistic Method #2 – A “Relational” Method of evangelism is Lifestyle Evangelism. In my opinion every believer should be practicing this method of evangelism by default. This is the demonstration to the world what Christ has done in one’s life through their lifestyle. The believer is deliberately living a proclamation of salvation for others to see. Earley and Wheeler write, “When I use the term lifestyle evangelism, I am speaking of intentionally combining both proclamation and affirmation over a period of time through a friendship relationship.”
Advantages of using this method are that it is not really used as a method but lived as a lifestyle. Living a life for others to see the power and grace of God in every area of their life the observer has occasion to see. This lifestyle demonstrates an authentic christianity that is easily discernible from those not saved and those “christians” that merely, “Talk the talk.” The lost that are searching will easily identify there is “something” the believer has that is attractive to them and will eventually be compelled to approach the Lifestyle Evangelist.
To me there are two main disadvantages of using this method of evangelism.
The first is the fact that we are all fallible and may, at times display a very “un-christian” attitude or trait from time to time. If this is done in the presence of the unbeliever that is close to approaching the christian, or in the presence of one that is seeking to discredit or persecute Jesus through His people, it could drive the observers to conclude the Lifestyle Evangelist is not authentic. This could even drive the non-believer away from salvation.
Secondly, the lifestyle of a believer is not enough in and of itself to be evangelism. The christian lifestyle must be coupled with deliberate sharing of the Gospel of Christ with others. Therein lies the disadvantage if the believer thinks simply living a christian life alone is adequate for evangelism. It is not. Part THREE – Evangelistic Method #3 – A “Confrontational” Method of evangelism is known as The Way of The Master. “In its most frequently encountered form, the method of evangelism looks like this: the person being witnessed to is asked if they think they are a good person. If they say yes, then they are asked how they would measure up if they were judged based on the 10 commandments.”1 The Way of The Master uses the acronym WDJD to walk through these questions: Would you consider yourself a good person? Do you think you have kept the Ten Commandments? Judgment by the Ten Commandments: If you were judged based on those 10 commandments, would you be guilty or innocent? Destiny: do you think you will go to heaven or hell?
It takes little training for the evangelist to be proficient in this method and this makes this method attractive to many. Other advantages of using this method are the ease in which it leads to an evangelistic conversation and how it may be used regardless of the relationship of the evangelist and the unbeliever. Although it confronts a person’s sin, it does so after allowing the person to relate how they are a good person or reflect on how they have not been a good person as it is appropriate. It is also easy for most people to confess those sins that society today would regard as normal behavior. Such as stealing a pen from the office, telling a white lie, lust in the mind (heart) and other seemingly insignificant sins.
A major disadvantage of using this method is that it stops short of sharing how one may be saved. So, it would be needful to couple this method with another method, such as Romans Road to bring the person to a point of actually receiving salvation, or at least being at the point they can receive it. Another disadvantage may be its reliance and emphasis on the Mosaic Law as opposed to emphasis on Christ’s redemption. Though I recognize this disadvantage as minor as emphasis may be added where needed. Part FOUR – Application of These Methods to Your Own Life – It has always been important to me to live a lifestyle of authentic christianity and in understanding my life is on display as I am a professed Christian. I must confess, however, I have not been deliberate in that part of evangelism that compels me to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ as part of my every day lifestyle. I stated earlier I believe every believer should be practicing this method of evangelism by default. Therefore it is my conviction to add intentional sharing of the Good News to my lifestyle.
Additionally, I would choose the Roman’s Road method of evangelism to augment my lifestyle and provide me with a methodology for sharing what the unbeliever I speak with must do to receive salvation. I believe this is the best method for me overall in that the Romans Road complements the lifestyle I already strive to lead. The clear, concise manner of Romans Road fits how I interact with others as I am known for saying,”I am a man of simplicity.” and profess things are usually not as hard as people make them out. This would certainly include the saving grace of God.
Most people in my life know who I am. I must now commit to share with them why and how they may share what I have in Christ. A challenge I may be presented with by some I meet may come from using the Bible as the authority. I will prepare for this by being able to articulate why the bible is authoritative as well as by learning other methods of evangelism like The Way of The Master to that do not rely strictly on the bible but on the experiences of each individual.
Earley, D., & Wheeler, D. (2010). Evangelism is…How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville TN, B&H Academic Publishing
God, The Holy Bible, NKJ
Gutierrez, B. (2012) The Call: Know Personally. Live Passionately. Virginia Beach VA: Academx Publishing
Johnson, Jesse. “Strengths of The Way of The Master”, March 28 2012, http://thecripplegate.com/stengths-of-the-way-of-the-master/ (accessed June 22, 2012)