What's the biggest mistake you've made in evangelism?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends, @Interested_in_Evangelism,

I think we can learn a lot from our successes and our strengths… but sometimes it is more fun to learn from our mistakes!! :slight_smile:

I’d be curious to hear… and we would all be very encouraged… please share with us:

What is one of the greatest mistakes you’ve made in evangelism AND what did you learn from it?

I can’t wait to see your answers!

(Dennis Allen) #2

Hi Carson,

A few of my more proficient failures:

  1. “Drive by evangelism”: (taken from the mafia tactics in the 1930’s whereby a gangster drives by shooting his gun at passer bys), in effect, “I’m gonna tell you about Jesus, whether you like it or not.” No relationship needed, just blather. Not an incredibly effective technique for me…
  2. “Debate them to insanity”: Instead of following Paul’s notion to be prepared to give an answer (when asked), try to reach people for Christ by incessantly arguing continuously. Then, when they run screaming out of the room, presume this means progress. For some reason, another low yield event.
  3. “Cool”: I have it all together, why not you? Although I’m an excellent hypocrite, people likewise seem to see through this one too…
(Dennis Allen) #3

Left this off: The learning for me, is that meeting and enjoying people, loving them as people, and understanding their lives is so important. And with a real relationship emerging, then being given permission or inquiry by them to offer reason for the hope is WAY more important than my goofy ways…

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #4

This is a good question @CarsonWeitnauer. Let me share some of them:

  1. I guess mine is that I assume that when a person prays to receive Christ, that they are really born again. I realized later on before that sometimes people just pray to receive Christ just to make sure you leave them alone. So instead of making sure they do the praying which does not save, I just share the gospel faithfully, then only guide them in how to call God to save them when they verbalize that they really want to do it. Even if I don’t guide them on how to do it, I just challenge them about how to respond to the gospel in a biblical manner, in case that maybe they will know how to do it when they think they need God as a savior.

  2. Another is when I did not pray and just relied on my own abilities on sharing the gospel. My conversations with people were not really fruitful those times. And I felt that I was going nowhere. God used it to humble me, since people who were not as good were having better encounters in terms of how people responded. I’m not saying that praying will magically make our encounters fruitful, but it will help us be in a right heart when we do our evangelism.

(Tim Ramey) #5

I remember, many years ago, feeling as if I should take my family to downtown Minneapolis and if people would come up to me, I would talk to them about Jesus.

Many people conversed with me and asked what I was doing. I was afraid to tell them exactly why I was there and made up some lame excuse. There was no condemnation from the Lord but I felt as if I was ashamed of the gospel. I wish I could have those situations over again. Now I love opportunities to talk about Jesus.

(Ryan C Melcher) #6

Thanks for the question!

I think devoting too much time to things that do not matter. Example TV shows. That time could have been better spent for the Kingdom including evangelism.

Cheers and blessings,


(Carson Weitnauer) #7

These are GREAT answers!

One common mistake I’ve made is to wear the “I’m better than you” hat in conversations.

For me, I think it is a way of avoiding the fear of rejection. ‘You can’t reject me, I know better than you!’ Well, far better to risk being rejected, or to be rejected, and approach people in a spirit of humility. I have a long way to go, as anyone who knows me can tell you.

(Michelle M. Halcomb) #8

Ha! So many mistakes for me!!

My biggest problem is fear of rejection, so I often don’t say ANYTHING, but just nod my head in agreement with what was said! I’m afraid to ask the contrary question followed by the awkward silence.

In the past, I’ve also been yelled at by an atheist friend when I’ve made a quiet comment about the Lord, and his loud, mean response silenced me. I was afraid he’d make a real scene and ruin our evening out with our spouses, so I let it go and didn’t follow up.

I also heavily edit myself afterwards, and am prone to shaming myself for what I didn’t say right. This can be a weapon of discouragement the Enemy can use against me, to demotivate me in sharing the gospel. That’s when I remind myself that the cross is an offense to a lot of people, but is a beautiful fragrance to those being saved. God is responsible for causing the seed to sprout. He only wants me to be faithful in responding to His prompting.

RZIM podcasts have helped me understand that it is more important to focus on the other person and their beliefs and experiences, at least at first. No change can happen outside of relationship, so I need to establish that first (a lot of listening!) and then gain enough respect so I have a platform from which to ask the harder questions. Having that person share where they are coming from is very enlightening. I don’t find myself sharing things they don’t care about and more of what they do care about. I find most people have not really thought things through but adopt ideas that sound good to them.

(Barbara Schumann) #9

I think I have not learned how to prepare AND depend on the Holy Spirit. Those two things have seemed exclusive, but neither works well by itself. For some reason I thought that depending on the Holy Spirit meant that I prayed fervently, but didn’t plan what to say, as if planning would show that I was depending only on myself. After many conversations that went terribly, I swung the other way and memorized a couple gospel presentations. That went better, but there has not been anyone to my knowledge that has been saved. Now I’m praying for the Holy Spirit’s help and also preparing. I still don’t know of any conversions, so I don’t think I’ve got this figured out yet.

(Barbara Schumann) #10

I have made those exact mistakes also. Because my witnessing attempts went so very badly, I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t do it, so I rarely said anything. And whenever I did go out on a limb and try again, I berated myself afterwards for saying this instead of that, for not praying enough beforehand, etc.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #11

I have made several mistakes, but a few that come to mind are-

  1. Not listening well to know whether a person is open enough to hear the gospel. No amount of good solid arguments help if people have already made up their mind.
  2. Not knowing whether to answer a question or not. Some questions come not out of curiosity about Christianity but to just win an argument rather than a desire for truth.
  3. A few positive experiences in evangelism tell me that heart change is completely in the hands of the Holy Spirit. In those successful cases, I have said nothing but a few verses and the person was convicted of their sins and impressed about how wonderful God is. The god of this age puts a veil to the gospel and much prayer is needed for each soul which I have not been consistent with.
  4. Not being sensitive to when to stop the conversation expecting people to take a bigger bite than they can swallow.
(Tim Ramey) #12

I’ve already expressed my blunder but Lakshmi’s post made me aware of what I continue to do wrong: As the person is talking, I have an answer before they finish talking.

(Sieglinde) #13

Bless your heart :heart: I have done that too.

(Sieglinde) #14

I once posted a flyer at work (back when it was allowed) of a short film we were showing at our church called “the burning hell.” It was visually awful. I didn’t want to post it but felt pressured by my pastor to do so. Just typing this makes me cringe…
Needless to say, no one showed up.
One day I was talking with someone very intelligent. I was giving a testimony of someone I met from Iran. I was trying to segway into a deep conversation about the Lord. I told him the guy left Iran to go to Persia…lol! Oh my Lord, I meant Peru but at the time could not think of it. I knew Persia was modern day Iran but he embarrassed me so bad I just shut down and was afraid to say another word. And everyone at the table just stared at me like they pitied me…lol, I really am laughing*:joy:*
So on that one, I learned not to take myself so seriously AND not to shut down when I make a mistake.
And I certainly don’t use Hell as a talking point. My witnessing is much more relational, compassionate and understanding of the person I am talking with.
RZIM has helped me so much. I just love Ravi. He and his team are so necessary in this world.
The guy who embarrassed me later came back and apologized. I was very gracious and told him it was okay and that if it wasn’t for situations like that, I would never learn and grow. He appreciated that and we have had several deep conversations since. He hasn’t become a beliver but he did tell me I got him thinking.
So, God can even use our blunders and turn them around for good:) We have such a sweet Lord.

(Scott Dockins) #15


Not talking…

(Kevin Hurst) #16

Not living consistently in my own life to the message I was sharing with others.

(Billy Ang) #17

Being over zealous but forgetting that it’s His glory not ours…
When I was serving in Alpha, I also learnt that “people dont really care till they know you care”

I guess in short: Be slow to speak but quick to listen :slight_smile: