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Evangelism Made Personal

Increasing Opportunities To Share The Gospel

(An Approach That Works!)
The importance of sharing the gospel of Christ with those who are lost cannot be over-emphasized. Jesus wants everyone to hear the good news of salvation (Mk 16:15-16), and has provided the gospel as God's power to save all who believe it (Ro 1:16-17).

 But what is the most effective way to reach people today? The Institute For American Church Growth asked over 10,000 people this question: "What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church?" Their replies were:

What can we learn from a survey like this? It does appear to confirm that gospel meetings as traditionally held have lost their effectiveness in reaching the lost. It also seems to justify churches' concern to pick their preachers carefully and to give special regard to the quality of their Bible classes.

 The obvious point of the survey is this: IF CHURCHES ARE TO GROW, IT WILL BE THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS! Preachers, programs, classes may help, but in most cases they will only maintain the size of the congregation. Such congregational efforts are worthwhile, however, for they can reach people with whom we might otherwise never come in contact. But the fact remains: THE GREATEST POTENTIAL LIES WITH THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOME CONTACT WITH MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL CONGREGATION.

 Each of us have daily contact with tens of people who need the gospel of Christ. In addition to efforts designed to reach people "en masse" (via television, radio, mail), we need to utilize the contacts made through the members. In other words, the ideal would be to provide a "TWO-PRONGED" APPROACH to evangelism. Unfortunately, when a special effort is being made to reach out to the masses, the tendency in most congregations is to neglect the opportunities to follow up contacts made through the members.

 Two fundamental things are needed to utilize the contacts made through individual members of the congregation:

Assuming that the concern is there, I will share suggestions with accompanying "action steps" in this article on HOW anyone who is a Christian can increase opportunities for the gospel to be shared with their relatives, friends, neighbors, and others. These suggestions will be based upon observations of what has consistenly proven fruitful in other places and are confirmed by the results of the afore mentioned survey.

 Here is the first suggestion, along with its "action steps"...


This suggestion is important if our efforts in evangelism are going to be fruitful in the long run. First, because it will help to confirm our claim to be true disciples of Jesus Christ (notice Jn 13:35). Correct doctrine, organization, worship, etc., are certainly important; but it is our love for one another that the Lord intended to convince the world that we are truly the disciples of Christ!

 Also, our love makes us useful to the Lord! From Re 3:7-8 we learn that the Lord knows the true condition of His churches, and that He will "open doors" for those that can be useful to Him. I am persuaded that if we are a church that can be used by Him to:

...then He will "open doors" for us as well!

 But suppose we are not a place where new Christians can grow spiritually in an atmosphere of love? Do we seriously think that the Lord will use His providence to lead us to souls who are seeking for the truth? Even if we did reach souls for Christ, would they receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to remain faithful and strong in the Lord's service?

 Then finally, it is important to practice hospitality towards Christians because it prepares us for the kind of personal work that is the most effective in leading others to Christ. I am referring to "friendship" evangelism (also known as "relationship" or "lifestyle" evangelism), which will require a willingness to be hospitable and giving to those we are trying to reach. If we are unable (or unwilling) to practice hospitality towards our brethren, what makes us think we will practice it towards the lost?

 So the first thing to do is make sure that as a church we provide the right kind of loving and caring spiritual environment. Here are some "action steps" that one can take:

When a congregation is filled with loving members who care for its own, then I believe it is ready to be used by the Lord to reach out and care for others!

 Where does one begin in trying to reach the lost? May I suggest that you...


Making a "list" may not seem important, but it is! It utilizes a very helpful technique used by people successful in all walks of life (i.e., having a "things to do" list). For us, it helps to focus our attention upon those we hope to reach for the Lord, and not neglect them.

 In making up this list, one should observe the following suggestions:

KEEP THIS LIST WHERE YOU WILL SEE IT DAILY. This will help you to be constantly reminded of these people and thereby more likely to do the things mentioned next...


Why pray? First, that God will work together with you...
  Also, that those on your lisit will...
  Remember, it is GOD who gives the increase when it comes to evangelism. We are but servants whom God can use in His providential workings. So though we may work as though it all depends upon us, let us pray as though it all depends upon God!

 The next step will take the most time in effective evangelism...


The importance of this suggestion is seen in the following statement: "People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care!" A demonstration of love will make a person more likely to be receptive to the gospel of love when it is shared (1 Pe 2:12). By observing our "good works" they will more likely "glorify God" by obeying the gospel when they hear it. In other words, our love and good works will help prepare the "soil" to be as receptive as possible when the "seed" is finally sown.

 Some "action steps" to take might be...

In other words, simple "hospitality" and "neighborliness" will go a long way in giving you the opportunity to do good towards them. And when they see the "incarnation of the gospel" (the principles of the gospel lived out in the flesh), they will be more likely to believe in the "verbalization of the gospel" (the truth of the gospel in spoken or written word).

 After you have spent some time being "hospitable" and becoming better acquainted, I believe the next step would be to...


In the past, I might not have thought this to be very important, but I have come to think differently. There are several good reasons for wanting them to attend the services of the local church...
  As you prepare to invite these souls to attend services, be sure to spend time first in prayer...
  Of course, you will more likely have people accept your invitations if they are among the "unchurched," but oftentimes even the "churched" are dissatisfied with where they are attending and are willing to investigate a different church.

 The next couple of steps become increasingly important, one being to...


This would apply to all visitors, whether they were invited by you, someone else, or are simply "walk-ins." Some "action steps" might include:
  Showing such love towards those who may even be "strangers" is the true meaning of hospitality, a virtue that ought to characterize Christians (He 13:2; Ro 12:13b). Plus, in doing such things, you are preparing their hearts for the gospel! How?
  Finally, we are ready for the most important step in all our efforts...


Ideally, this will come AFTER witnessing a demonstration of the gospel in our lives...
  If you feel confident in discussing it with them, then approach them yourself and suggest some sort of Bible study. I have found either of the two suggestions effective:
  If you do not feel you are yet confident in approaching them concerning a study, or in conducting it your self, there is still much good that you can do:


These suggestions are offered with a FIRM CONVICTION that if they will be carried out, opportunities to share the gospel and save souls will be greatly increased! Also, with the HOPE that you will accept the challenge to implement these suggestions.

 This approach is not only the MOST SUCCESSFUL in saving and keeping souls, it is also one of the MOST NATURAL and easiest ways to reach the lost for Christ! Remember the survey by The Institute For American Church Growth? One does not even have to be able to teach to be effective in leading others to Christ! One simply has to be a FRIEND to Christians and to the lost!

 And even if we do not convert a single soul...


 Have those interested in being involved meet together on a weekly basis

 Encourage one another to SET GOALS for the coming week

At each weekly meeting...
  This simple program should easily increase opportunities to share the gospel and bring many souls to Christ!

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