I recently attended a youth focus group where the consensus was that event-based evangelism was reaching a point of saturation.
In this article, I’ll define event-based evangelism as having a focus on sharing the Gospel at large-scale, corporate church events like conferences or productions.
Coming from a megachurch, having many events to invite friends to is not something that’s unusual to me. We have at least one special event each quarter and we organise visitor-friendly gatherings once in awhile. Cell groups are also expected to plan outreach activities among themselves!
So there really isn’t a lack of places or events to bring my friends to. Ironically, I don’t have enough friends to invite to all these events!
From my experience, event-based evangelism may not work for everyone.
And it doesn’t work every single time. Some of my friends are too introverted to want to hang out with strangers. Others experience a certain kind of fatigue after having been invited to churches too many times – by friends from different churches, I might add.
I know I’m not the only one who’s facing this problem, though there’s a simple solution to it: If we can’t bring people to church, we’ll bring the church to them.
But that was when I realised we faced another issue: Most of us didn’t really know how to reach out to people by ourselves.
Growing up in a time when event-based evangelism thrived, our role in outreach was simple. All we had to do is to show up with a friend and the pastor or minister would do all the work — he’d preach the Gospel to our friends for us.
Without that, talking to friends about our faith can feel pretty daunting. But here’s the thing: Once I figured how to share the Gospel myself, I realised how powerful personal evangelism is.
People may disagree that God exists, but they cannot deny what is real to you.
First, your friends are likely more inclined to hear you out as opposed to a stranger on stage. Second, never underestimate the power of a personal, intimate touch. Now, if you’re still unconvinced, Revelation 12:11 tells us the importance of our testimonies.
I’m not claiming to have mastered the art of personal evangelism, but if you’re wondering where to start on this journey of learning how to share the Gospel, here are 3 useful things I learnt along the way.
3 STEPS TO BETTER GOSPEL SHARING
1. PREPARE A TESTIMONY
Testifying is the “easiest” way to share Christ because it is your own story of how you experience God and who He is to you.
Some of our friends might find other methods overbearing, but people are usually more open to hearing personal experiences of who God is.
The powerful thing about testimonies is that people may disagree that God exists, but they cannot deny what is real to you.
2. KNOW THE ANSWERS TO TOUGH QUESTIONS
Equipping ourselves to answer questions about our faith is an important skill in evangelism too. 1 Peter 3:15-16 tells us to always be prepared to give an account for our faith because we’ll never know when an opportunity will arise.
It could be during recess, when your classmates are discussing what they learned in science class: What if one suddenly turns to you and asks, “Do you really believe that God exists?”
Or it could be in a time of crisis when a family member asks: “How can a loving God allow suffering in this world?”
Giving an account means more than just sharing our testimonies because there will be times when people question the basis of our faith. That would be a great opportunity to explain why Christianity is a reasonable faith, and share what we believe in.
We may not have the answers to all the questions, but we should at least know why we believe what we believe. Otherwise, we would miss a chance to bring heaven a little closer to someone.
3. HELP NEW BELIEVERS GROW
Some of us think our part in evangelism ends the moment our friends believe in God. But truth be told, that’s just the beginning.
The Great Commission commands us to make disciples and to teach them the ways of God. Accepting Christ is just the start — discipleship is the next step.
One example I read likened discipleship to parenting: When your baby is born, you don’t just put him in the crib, point out to him the layout of the house and show him where his milk bottle is and leave him be.
If we wouldn’t do that to newborns, why would we do that to new believers — who are like spiritual infants? We have a responsibility to nurture and teach our disciples about the Word and their relationship with God so that they mature in their faith. Without journeying alongside new believers, they are likely to fall out of the faith.
Whether we’re still living in the age of event-based evangelism or personal evangelism, I know one thing: Whatever method we use to reach people, we must always be ready to present our faith in and out of season because the Great Commission is the responsibility of every disciple. We cannot just rely on pastors to preach the Gospel over the pulpit.
So let’s ask ourselves: What is one area of personal evangelism we can work on today?