Many church leaders often look for ways to help encourage their members to engage in personal evangelism. I’ll briefly list a few tips that I hope are of some help. I’ll then highlight a few common approaches that are less effective today, though they still may have merit.
Some of these ideas may seem quite obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the obvious.
Tips to Help Promote Personal Evangelism
- Provide personal evangelism training. It may seem strange, but there are countless believers who don’t know how to share Jesus.
- Take one or two out to share the gospel (mentoring). Groups of four or more are often intimidating, so take one or two out and show them how to do personal evangelism.
- Talk about evangelism opportunities during the worship services. Regularly remind people about doing personal evangelism during the sermons, announcements, in newsletters, on social media, or any other way the church communicates with the congregation.
- Challenge people to do evangelism. During sermons, many preachers (myself included) often remind people that we should evangelize. Fewer, however, explicitly challenge the congregation to evangelize. One approach is passive, the other is active.
- Give people something to accomplish in personal evangelism. One method I saw used by Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas, was to give people a card with a few blank lines. They were then challenged to write down people they knew who were not believers, and then pray for them and share the gospel with them. The pastor uses various motivational achievements such as this throughout the year and, based on the baptisms, it works.
There are many more ideas I could include, but the ones listed above are too often overlooked. There are some methods, though, that are still quite popular, but whose effectiveness has waned in recent decades.
Popular Methods that are Less Effective Today
Let me say that just because they are less effective does not mean they are ineffective, nor does it mean they are to be rejected. These approaches still work in some situations, but overall, they are not as effective as they used to be.
- Weekday night visitation. Often held on Tuesday nights, this form of outreach is often not about personal evangelism, but about promoting the church to recent visitors. Additionally, the participation rate is often extremely low. Finally, some neighborhoods such as gated communities, apartment complexes do not permit this because it is considered a form of solicitation.
How to Improve It: Make the encounter intentionally evangelistic, yet casual and personal, and never make it about convincing the person to come to your church. Instead, take the time to get to know the individual.
- Door-to-door evangelism. Think Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. I know of one man who finds this method effective in his neighborhood. Most, however, have the opposite result. I heard someone once say that if the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons can be this bold, we should, too (this overlooks the fact that they are required to do this, so it’s less about boldness and more about compulsion). However, most people find door-to-door evangelists tantamount to door-to-door salesmen, and thus they are very much disliked.
How to Improve It: Don’t immediately make it seem like you’re there to sell religion, but instead, you’re there to get to know the person. One great idea is a community survey that is about helping the church find ways to help the community. That alone should lower the inevitable steel wall the person will already have up.
- Outreach events. I, personally, love outreach events. However, they are often more about promoting the church and less about having conversations about Jesus.
How to Improve It: Make them intentionally evangelistic, more about Jesus and less about the local church.
If you found these evangelism tips helpful, comment below. If you have some others please share them below.