Are you one of those believers who has a hard time sharing your faith with your family, friends, and co-workers? Perhaps you are in the minority according to The Barna Group, a faith-based research organization, which found that “a slight majority of born-again adults, 55%, claimed to have shared their faith in Christ with a non-Christian during the previous 12 months … That number has been relatively constant over the last decade. ” Evangelism, also known as soul winning, was not designed to be a tedious spiritual discipline; rather it should be a natural overflow of a redeemed life influencing those who stray toward God. When it comes to evangelism, the duty of a Christian is simply twofold: to sow the seed of the good news (to be a witness) and, or to water the seed (again to be a witness), the latter refreshing the seed already planted by others. (1 Corinthians 3: 6 NIV). Our job is simply to bear witness to the truth, it is up to the Holy Spirit to germinate the word of truth within a person. We just play a small but important role, and He does the rest. In my experience, soul winning is much easier than it sounds. Over time, I have come to understand the seven approaches to effective soul winning.
Pre-evangelism is basically the work you do before presenting the gospel. In short, pre-evangelization is when you live an authentic Christian life around others, forcing them to ask about your faith. This is accomplished by being a genuine example of a Christian loving and serving others, allowing them to see their redeemed life as it is. For example, some people evangelize by feeding and clothing the poor and visiting the sick and prisoners (Matthew 25). This form of witnessing accumulates at a specific time when the “door” to witnessing opens for you to share your faith. Pre-evangelism is simply the work you do to break down the barriers of prejudice and skepticism that many have towards people of faith, making you more accessible for others to ask about the hope that is in you.
2. Personal evangelism
You have heard stories of people coming to the same fishing pond over and over again to catch the “unique” fish that they miss over and over again. Over time you learn their habits; the type of bait it responds to and the places it inhibits at certain times so you can have the advantage of catching it. People look a lot like that elusive fish; some people take longer to come to Christ. A soul winner must possess great patience and use certain skills to conquer it. In this approach, you address a specific person you want to reach by praying for, loving, and showing kindness over time. In other words, you must be consistent with your faith for a specific period of time while building a strong relationship based on trust. At one point in your relationship, you might ask, “Why are you different from everyone else in the office?” or “Why are you so nice to me?” When these questions arise, then you know that the door to witness is open for you to share your faith. It is important to note that in this method of evangelism you first win a friend before you win a convert. Many people make the mistake of pressing Christ on people first before building the relationship.
3. Proclamation of evangelization
This type of evangelism is one of the most common approaches found in the Bible. Jesus drew large crowds in open spaces. Once he gained their attention, he proclaimed the good news of salvation to them. In Acts chapter two, we see Peter preaching to a crowd of curious seekers. On this day, 3,000 believed Peter’s message and were baptized on the same day. That’s a good trick! A few chapters later, in Acts 8, Phillip is found preaching the good news in a city known as Samaria. It is clearly noted in Acts 8:12 (NIV), “… when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” Proclamation evangelism doesn’t just happen among large crowds; it can be a small group of people in a house.
4. Prophetic evangelism
The best example of prophetic evangelism is found in the story of the Samaritan woman drawing water from a well (John 4). Jesus then asks for a drink. Through this encounter, Jesus reveals his true identity, which is why, in return, she asks for the living water that he was offering her. However, Jesus knew that the skeptical woman needed something else to confirm her words, so she reveals her past, most notably that she had five husbands and that the one who was presently was not her husband. Immediately, he realizes that Jesus is a prophet and leaves his presence. How would he have known his past if they had never met before? The woman then rushes into town to tell everyone that she has met the Messiah. A large crowd followed her to the well where Jesus refreshed himself. Prophetic evangelism is when you receive a specific word of knowledge about someone of whom you had no prior knowledge. The person who receives the “word” realizes that you are a man or woman of God and is more open to what you have to say.
5. Power evangelism
Power Evangelism is demonstrating signs, miracles and wonders that capture the attention of curious onlookers. The signs, wonders and miracles are undeniable in the eyes of the onlookers who captivate their full attention upon hearing the resulting message. This is evident in Acts 8: 6, “When the crowd heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.” Power evangelism is a strong anointing to heal the sick, raise the dead, and take authority over demonic influences. In another encounter of power found in Acts 19:12 and 13, “God performed extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even the handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were brought to the sick, and their diseases were cured and evil spirits abandoned them. “This type of evangelism is not limited to a few, but every believer can walk in signs and wonders (Mark 16: 17,18).
6. Presence evangelism
Presence evangelism is when God’s overflowing power and grace flows through your life and affects those around you. In other words, the people around you feel God’s presence more than yours; you become a bearer of fire. A story is told about a holy man known for his revival. He once walked through a factory without saying a word, and many workers began to fall to their knees repenting of their sins. This event was the overflowing presence of God in his life, affecting others. We also see the overflow of God on the apostle Peter when he was simply walking down the street. The Acts 5:15 (NIV) passage states: “As a result, the people took the sick out into the streets and put them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow would fall on some of them as he passed.” Peter’s shadow is another way of explaining the strong presence of God that overflows in his life.
7. Post-martyrdom evangelism
The eternal axiom first reported by church historian Tertullian, “The blood of the saints is the seed of the church,” came true during times of great persecution. In other words, when the church is persecuted it grows exponentially. This last form of evangelism is what I call Post-Martyrdom Evangelism. This type of evangelism is evident in the story of Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 7:54 – 8: 1-5, under the watchful eye and approval of a young man known as Saul of Tarsus. After approving and witnessing the first martyrdom, Saul was enraged by persecuting the northern church, to Damascus, with court orders to arrest the Christians who lived in that city. As he approached the city, a great light, brighter than the sun, shone in front of him. Saul fell to the ground and called out to a person whom he referred to as “Lord.” This brief encounter is known as Saul’s conversion experience. Many scholars believe that the remnants of Stephen’s death remained in Saul’s mind, constantly prodding his conscience. Saul could not escape from Stephen’s last words before his death: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Saul couldn’t understand why someone would die with such love without fighting for his life. Stephen’s martyrdom was the gospel seed firmly planted in the soil of Saul’s soul.
Saul, who later became known as the great Apostle Paul, also died as a martyr thirty years later.
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