4 Ways We Need to Grow in Evangelism

Posted by Pastor J.D. on March 15, 2013

If evangelism is not something that we do well as a church, everything else that we do will be sterile. To that end, during the Summit’s last all-staff meeting, we discussed what hindrances were getting in the way of evangelism at our church, and how we could grow in those areas. We were all able to learn from each other’s experiences, and we identified four broad areas that we, as a church, need to grow in:

1. Raising the temperature of intentionality.

This is probably the most crucial of the four. We need to make evangelism a habit in our own lives, and that does not happen by chance. It can be easy to look around at what God is doing at the Summit and to pat ourselves on the back for the large number of people coming to Christ. But there is a big difference between a movement of God going on around you and a movement of God that you are involved in.

This means that I—specifically my sermons—should not be the end of the evangelistic conversation. It is certainly a beneficial and useful experience to bring non-believers to our weekend church services. But if your entire evangelism program consists of reliance on me, there will be problems. The sermon is the beginning, not the end, of the conversation.

2. Sensitivity to the Spirit.

Intentionality in evangelism does not mean that we force ourselves to present the gospel 12 times a day. It also does not mean that we need to explain the whole gospel every time we talk about spiritual things. Some of you are so consumed with getting through the whole spiel that you fail to recognize that the poor person you are talking to has checked out.

Sensitivity to the Spirit will lead us to speak up in situations that might make us uncomfortable, but there are times when the door just does not open. We need to accept that most conversations will not end with the sinner’s prayer—and that is not a sign that the Spirit is absent.

3. Providing people with tools.

A lot of people have plenty of drive to share their faith, but are lacking in practical guidance. On one level, it does not take much skill to describe your experience of salvation—“I was separated from God; Jesus saved me.” But there does come a point when instruction and training are a huge help. Having the right tools can greatly improve our confidence when we share Christ with others.

There are a lot of tools out there, and we should get them in the hands of our people. Training people to be able to share their story concisely and without religious jargon is crucial. We should also equip them to share the gospel (different that sharing their “story”) using simple illustrations—like the “do” vs. “done” of the gospel, or the famous bridge illustration with us on one side of a gap and God on the other. There are a myriad of other resources to help people think of creative ways to engage their neighbors for Christ, and we need to do a better job getting them out there.

4. Models.

The best evangelism books and courses will not change the evangelistic ethos of a church. Only watching other people as they share Christ will teach us how to do it better. That is how I learned: not from books or seminars, but from seeing how my dad shared his faith with others. We need to partner with one another, learning from each other as we take Christ to our neighbors. This keeps us accountable and encourages us as we see the work of the Spirit through our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Pastor J.D.


J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013). More

21 responses to 4 Ways We Need to Grow in Evangelism

  1. Thanks for putting these 4 forward.

    While I’m sure it’s assumed, I would add #5 to the list.


    1. Prayer for the Harvest.
    2. Prayer that my friends would want the gospel
    3. Prayer that I’d run into people thirsty to hear the gospel.

    More here: http://www.evangelismcoach.org/2007/prayer-and-evangelism/


  2. Ironic that I’m reading this while on a plane to Nicaragua to spread the gospel. Thanks again for all your resources you give us in your sermons and your blog. I’ll def. show this to my group down here. Pray for God to use us.

  3. I believe that the reason the vast majority of Christians are frustrated at their inability to evangelize and share the Gospel is because, with the best of intentions, we are attempting to go about it according to our wisdom, instead of God’s wisdom. In Deuteronomy 4 as Moses is giving the ancient Jews instructions on how to live (emphasis on “live”) in the Promised Land he tells them that if they live explicitly according to the statutes and rules that he has taught them (not adding to them nor taking away from them) that their non-Christian neighbors will come knock on their tents and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people…and what great nation is there that has statutes and rules so righteous?” (Deut. 4.1-9)
    It seems to me that the first thing many of us need to do to more effectively and consistently present the Gospel is to repent and conform our lifestyles to the truths in which we profess to believe so that our lifestyles are distinctively different from that of our non-Christian neighbors. Moses tells us that if we do that we have something they don’t and will want us to explain how they might get it.
    This would mean that the paradigm of sermons and small group studies would change from providing accurate knowledge about God to doing that PLUS adding practical suggestions on how to apply the truths in the messages to one’s everyday situations and circumstances. Instead of being biblical informers, we would be biblical instructors.

  4. Buddy, I’m not to sure about that.

    When I look at conversational encounters in Acts, it doesn’t all seem to be lifestyle based.

    Phillip and the Ethopian Official had nothing to do with lifestyle.
    Felix calling Paul for conversations for 18 months didn’t have much to do with lifestyle.
    Paul reasoning in the marketplaces and synagouges didn’t have much to do with lifestyle.

    I think lifestyle is one ingredient of evangelism. After all, we are to given reason for the hope within us when asked. Phillippans 1:27 encourages us to live in such a way that we bring honor to Christ.

    But I think conversation skills are important to have. The four things Greear mentions above are important wisdom.

  5. I like it so far

  6. I’d just like to pass on another way to help spread the gospel and it’s simply this:-

    Include a link to an online gospel tract (e.g. http://www.freecartoontract.com/animation) as part of your email signature.

    An email signature is a piece of customizable HTML or text that most email applications will allow you to add to all your outgoing emails. For example, it commonly contains name and contact details – but it could also (of course) contain a link to a gospel tract.

    For example, it might say something like, “p.s. you might like this gospel cartoon …” or “p.s. have you seen this?”.

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