WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST?
An evangelist is a preacher of the Gospel. He calls all men to repentance, and He proclaims Christ’s word of salvation. He also builds the Church.
The definition of evangelism is given in a dictionary as the preaching or promulgating the gospel missionary zeal, purpose, or activity. By this definition, some Christians may think they can not evangelize because they have no “official” title of a preacher, evangelist, or member of a missionary group.
Those who performed the work of evangelism in the Bible had many different names:
- the ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)
- the fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17)
- the messengers of the Church (2 Corinthians 8:23)
- the defenders of the faith (Philippians 1:7; 1 Peter 3:15)
Those called by these names were not only the apostles of old but also the people of today’s Church, the average Christians.
The cycle of evangelism isn’t just anything for someone else to think about or quit to do. The Bible quite clearly notes that evangelism must be intentional in every believer’s life. During the Old Testament, the hope was that God would send a Savior, and through the Israelites’ lives and dedication, they would proclaim the name of the coming Christ. But the psalmist state that the Lord and His works are to be proclaimed by “all men” and “all nations.” (Psalm 18:49; 96:3, 10). Nowhere does it state that only those with a particular title should evangelize, or that it only happens by chance.
Jesus himself, in the New Testament, commands His disciples to evangelize in all nations (Matthew 28:19, 20), and we cannot deny that the same command is given to us too. By the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Paul, the Apostle, also admonishes that “And the things that thou hast heard of me …, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2). So we see that evangelism is also to be taught to those you evangelize. When you have a sincere heart for Christ, it is not something that can be overlooked or held off. It is the command of God.
WHAT DOES EVANGELISM LOOK LIKE?
Evangelism is communication — What do you think is best to talk to friends or strangers about? Often the topics that differ depending on our perception of people, but if our discussion is to evangelize, we need to be very transparent in our connection to Christ and our relationship with Him. There should be no guilt or pride in speaking of the one we claim to love.
Evangelism is a lifestyle — In any conversation, even to strangers, we should find it very easy to talk about God. Still, we live a Christian’s life that we will be willing to encourage others to adopt. One thing for sure, to determine their honesty, people continue to follow the lifestyle, attitude, and behavior of others who are seeking to share the Gospel with them.
Evangelism is love — Beyond learning about God and living our lives according to the Scriptures, we must express God’s love so as not to miss a big part of evangelism. The Bible describes several occasions that Jesus had compassion on the masses, and he explicitly instructed his disciples to show love to each other (which would draw the unbelievers’ attention), and to the lost. This love is not an artificial, transient love but an expression of God’s real, everlasting love.
Since we now understand the concept of evangelism as spoken of in the Bible and some of the ways it can manifest in our lives, what should we do to incorporate it into our everyday lives? Are you among those Christians who have difficulty sharing their faith with family members, acquaintances, and colleagues? Evangelism, also known as soul-winning, is not meant to be a tedious moral discipline; it should be a natural abundance of a transformed life that preaches God’s way. When it comes to evangelism, the duty of a Christian is merely double: to sow the seed of the good news (be a witness) and to water the seed (be a witness again); the latter refreshes the seed already planted by others (1 Corinthians 3:6). We, as Christians, are charged with the responsibility to be witnesses for God. It is the Holy Spirit’s duty to germinate the word of truth within an individual. We play a small but essential part, and He’ll do the rest.
SEVEN APPROACHES TO EVANGELISM
Pre-evangelism is the research you do before sharing the Gospel. In summary, when you live an authentic Christian life with others, pre-evangelism compels you to inquire about their religion. That is achieved by being a true Christian example by loving and helping others, allowing them to see what a transformed life can be. For example, some people evangelize by feeding and clothing the needy, visiting the sick and prisoners. The type of witness builds up to a particular moment when the “door” to witness opens to express your faith. Pre-evangelism is simply the work you do to break down the barriers of bias and cynicism others have toward the faith you witness, making you more open to others to inquire about the faith in you.
2. Personal evangelization
You’ve heard stories of people returning to the same fishing pond again and again to catch the “perfect” fish that constantly eludes them. You learn its habits over time, the type of bait it responds to, and the places it inhibits at certain times so that you can take advantage of it. People are like that elusive fish; some people take longer to come to God. A soul winner must have tremendous courage and use those abilities to win others over. You target a single individual in this method by caring for them, loving, and displaying love over time. In other words, you must be consistent with your faith at all times while building a solid trust-based relationship. At one point during your relationship, he or she might inquire, “Why are you different from those in the office?” or “Why are you so good to me?” Once such questions arise, you know the door is open for you to preach your faith. It is important to remember that you win a friend in this form of evangelism before winning a convert. Most people make the mistake of first preaching Christ before establishing the relationship.
3. Proclamation Evangelism
This method of evangelism is one of the Bible’s most popular methods. Jesus attracted huge crowds together. When he got their attention, he declared the good news of redemption. In Acts, chapter two, we see Peter preaching to intrigued seekers. Three thousand believed in Peter’s word that day and were baptized the same day. That’s a treat! A few chapters later, in Acts 8, Phillip is heard preaching the good news in Samaria. It is clearly stated in Acts 8:12 “.. when they believed Philip proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Proclamation evangelism does not just happen in large crowds; it may be a small group of people in a household.
4. Prophetic evangelization
The best example of prophetic evangelism is the story of the Samaritan woman’s drawing water from a well (John 4). Jesus asks for a drink. Through this experience, Jesus reveals his true identity, and in exchange, she asks for the living water. Jesus realized, however, that the cynical woman wanted even more to validate his claims, so he exposes her past, most importantly that she had five husbands, and the one she was with was not her husband. She suddenly knows Jesus as a prophet. How would he know her past if they hadn’t met before? The woman runs into town to convince everyone that she has seen the Messiah. A huge crowd followed her to the well where Jesus stood. Prophetic evangelism is when you obtain a particular word of wisdom about someone you don’t know. The person receiving the “word” understands you are man or woman of God and is more open to what you have to say.
5. Powerful Evangelism
Powerful evangelism displays signs, miracles, and wonders that draw the audiences’ interest. Signs, wonders, and miracles are evident in the audiences’ minds, captivating their attention to receiving the message that follows. This is clear in Acts 8:6, “When the people heard Philip and saw his miraculous signs, they all paid careful attention to what he said.” Power evangelism is a strong anointing for healing the afflicted, raising the dead, and taking control over supernatural forces. In another experience of influence contained in Acts 19:12, “God did amazing miracles through Paul so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that reached him were given to the poor, and their diseases were cured, and evil spirits left them.” This form of evangelism is not limited to a few, but every believer will walk in signs and wonders (Mark 16:17-18).
6. Presence Evangelization
Presence Evangelism is when the overwhelming influence of God passes into your life, impacting those around you. In other words, people around you experience God’s presence more than yours, and you are a fire carrier. There was a man known for evangelism, once he marched through a factory without saying a word, and many employees fell to their knees, repenting of their sins. This occurrence was God’s overwhelming presence in his life, influencing others. We also see God’s overflow on Apostle Peter as he walked down the lane. “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” (Acts 5:15) Peter’s shadow is another way to describe God’s great presence overflowing in his existence.
7. Evangelism in the Post Martyrdom
Through times of great persecution, the eternal axiom first recorded by church historian Tertullian, “The blood of the saints is the seed of the world,” became truth. In other words, it rises exponentially as the Church is persecuted. The last form of evangelism is what is called the evangelism of the Post martyrdom. This form of evangelism is evident in the tale of Stephen’s martyrdom under the watchful eye and consent of a young man known as Saul of Tarsus in Acts 7:54- 60; 8:1-5. After approving and witnessing the first martyrdom, Saul went to Damascus with court orders to arrest Christians living in that city on a spree persecuting the Church to the north. When he entered the town, a great light shone in front of him, brighter than the sun. Saul fell to the ground and called out to a person whom he called “Lord.” This brief encounter is known as the experience of Saul’s conversion. Most scholars suggest that Stephen’s death still lingered in Saul’s subconscious, continuously pricking his conscience. Until his end, Saul couldn’t avoid Stephen’s last words, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Saul couldn’t understand why anyone should die so affectionately without fighting back for his survival. The martyrdom of Stephen was the seed of the evangelization firmly planted within the soil of Saul’s soul.
Saul, who later became known as the great apostle Paul, also died thirty plus years later from the death of a martyr.