What do you need to be an effective evangelist?

Hi friends, @Interested_in_Evangelism,

Recently I heard a speaker at a conference make a statement that I thought was very profound. He said, “We need to stop saying ‘try harder’ and start saying ‘train more.’”

His point was that attempting to exhort and motivate people to do a task that they are not prepared to do, and when they lack a plan that would help them succeed, then the motivational effort is unlikely to be successful.

Let’s say that you are committed to evangelism. You are motivated and willing.

But there are two more questions:

  1. What is the plan to be an effective evangelist?

  2. What training is required in order to be prepared to accomplish the plan?

Besides saying “take all the RZIM Academy courses” (which is actually an excellent answer), how would you answer these questions?

What is your plan? What training do you need to accomplish that plan?

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Carson,

For me, it’s making sure I put myself into places where it’s not 24/7/365 Christians - simply getting involved in the world around me. I have also tried to make it a habit to engage in elevators and such places by saying things like, “whew, God has surely brought the rain today - wish he’d let me know this morning, so I’d have brought and umbrella!’. I’ve found that even simple statements like this can engage seekers who respond, “maybe your god wanted you wet” or “he couldn’t call you because he doesn’t exist”, which is a jumping off point for conversation.

But, I have thought for several years that many church leaders are missing the boat on parishioner development by not giving specific asks to them. I really believe that church leaders should be constantly asking varying members for their help/participation in order to help people unlock the latent power of God in them and be transformed by doing God’s work. Even if people refuse, that can be a lesson in itself for them and quicken them to consider how committed they are to the work of the church. Too often, Christians have the board member instead of the volunteer mindset. I have been on large non-functioning boards where members assent to the goals of the organization and will throw a little money at it but won’t be engaged in its work aside from voting on something that someone else has pulled together and wants permission to work on. But, we are changed by participating in kingdom work, which has the ability to allow people to see and experience the power of God in action and move people from being anemic, pew-bound, spectators to workers willing to put their hand to the plow.

What about others? What have you seen/experienced/purposed?

Kevin

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Love this question- and I wholeheartedly agree with @kumquat on the importance of strategical placement in the community to reach those around you. Also intentionally seeking out and inviting neighbors over to your kitchen table can be the best mission place on earth- over a shared meal! It’s amazing how much love you can share and the conversations you can have over good food and lots of laughs. :fork_and_knife: :joy:
Of course, I also agree with taking as many courses as you can and putting the work in! Prayer, reading, studying, and preparation are so important. I know it’s something I put in the schedule every day in order to make growth a priority! :books:

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After six months of RZIM exposure and reading J. Warner Wallace’s book, Forensic Faith I’ve learned more about how to and how not to evangelized than I’ve known in my entire 70+ years of being a Christian. This is what I’ve learned and gleaned:
Cover your day with time with God. Then:

  1. Know your Christian worldview and how to substantiate it evidentially. Personal testimony is good, but not as effective as being able to prove your case with facts.
  2. Rather than being a jack of all trades and master of none, it’s helpful to narrow your field of interest in order to focus more on developing your expertise in it. This does not mean you don’t have some knowledge in other areas.
  3. Learn ways to engage and create conversation that can lead to open dialogue.
  4. Incorporate 1 Pet.3:15, always being ready to give an answer for your faith. Respect your questioner and treat him/her with gentleness.
  5. Question the questioner to ascertain the correct motive for the question, and to make sure your answer is responding to his/her question and the motive behind it.
  6. Be honest in your response if you don’t have an answer, but commit to getting one or directing the person to a resource or someone who does.
  7. Be prepared to follow-up, if possible. Establishing a relationship is always beneficial.
    Always bear in mind that the object is to get from the head and bridge to the heart.

Evangelizing on Connect is a very valid method for evangelizing for me. Some techniques I have learned are:

  1. Be more exact in my responses, not being as much concerned about their lengthiness as to the quality of their content.
  2. Incorporate links or other resources when available or deemed helpful.
  3. Review thoughtfully what I’ve written before posting.
  4. I don’t have to respond to all the questions in my category, especially if multiple others have responded. However, if there are any additional points not covered in a response, I try to add my input.
  5. Although I have not encountered any questionable or disrespectful dialogue, I’ve learned I should flag it for review if I do.
    I’m always open and willing to receive correction or any teaching thought necessary.

#2. Evangelizing comes in many forms. But, when talking about verbal, one on one, face to face evangelizing, then I need a lot of training. I have always said I think better on my seat than on my feet. I am not good with spur of the moment responses. I always go away having the perfect response…after the fact. That is why Connect is so perfect for me because I have my Bible, Young’s Analytical Concordance, and a host of other resources at my fingertips that I can use to respond. I’m not the least bit concerned with my fear of rejection when I can hide behind my laptop. I’ve also been cloistered in a “friendly” setting when I have led Bible studies or participated in church related activities. Decades of being a Christian that way can be a hard shell to break out of.
I’ve been reading, scrutinizing, and devouring “Forensic Faith” because it’s the first book that appeals to my love of forensics, relating it to case making Christianity. It is teaching me how to read Scripture forensically and how to select my "jury’’ (Questioner). However, in the early sections of the book, Det. Wallace describes how he teaches youth to evangelize. He calls it “teaching into training”. The first thing he does is make sure they are confident with knowing the evidence for the Christian worldview. Then he throws them out to the wolves, so to speak, taking them on college campuses or on the streets to engage people of other worldviews. It then becomes a calendared event so that their case making skills are honed. I think that is the kind of training I need… something that gives me firsthand oral, person to person training. (Would I relish being thrown to the wolves??? A resounding, NO.)
I would like to be taught how to engage since I’m much more an introvert off-line.
So, if I have to “train more”, I’m definitely open to whatever is offered.

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John @kumquat you are talking to me. That “church life” has been my Christian experience most of my life. A few little outside activities here and there, but I think the Church has failed its members, especially its youth in teaching them what to believe, how to believe, sharing what they believe, and defending what they believe. That is why so many high school grads turn from the Church after they enter college or the work force.
Thank you for your thoughts that are right on the money.
(I didn’t read your post before I wrote mine. Check it out and you’ll see I’m the perfect example of your post.)

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First you have to love Jesus. If you love Jesus you will want to tell others about Him and what He has done for you.

You do not have to be a theologian. Consider the blind man in John 9. He told the pharisees what Jesus did for him. “…I was blind but now I see.” The blind man deduced that Jesus was a prophet and a man from God with what had been done for him. He related that to the pharisees. We should tell others based on our knowledge of Jesus without regard to the depth of our knowledge. Of course after becoming a Christian there should be a natural desire to become more knowledgeable.

Some evangelism can be done through lifestyle. We serve a gracious and loving God so if we are gracious and loving to others then we become attractive and sometimes we get to share our beliefs with others when others become curious as to why we are gracious and loving. This can be tough because we often sin and others see that as well as our Christlike behavior.

At any time we evangelize we should seek God’s guidance and support through prayer. It is God who saves - not us. However, God most often uses us as His means in reaching the lost.

Evangelism Explosion training (EE) is an excellent tool to use in sharing our faith. EE is a very convincing method in telling others about Jesus. I have used it to share with hundreds of people and seen dozens make professions of faith after hearing the Gospel message in the EE presentation.

When I received EE training it took about 12 weeks with weekly assignments and weekly team visits where the Gospel is presented by your trainer until you have begun to master the material. Some trainees will be ready to present in just a couple of weeks, but most need the full 12 weeks. There is additional training beyond the 12 weeks for those inclined. It has been 20 years since I first took EE so lessons and training may have changed some.

Interestingly, while I received substantial apologetic training through EE, I hardly ever remember using apologetics in any visit. Maybe two times. What was needed more than anything was the Holy Spirit, prayer, and a modicum of boldness which the Holy Spirit will supply.

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