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Have you ever sat down next to someone in an airplane and wanted to share your faith with him, but you had no idea where to begin? Or have you ever seen a street preacher shouting about hell and judgment to passers-by and asked yourself, “Is that really what God wants us to do?” Or, have you ever found yourself in a crowd and realized, probably many of these people are currently on their way to Hell, and I have the answer but no idea how to give it to them?
These are questions of evangelism, and if you’re like many Christians today, you have, at one point or another, felt like evangelism was a foreign concept--something that others may be gifted in, but sadly is out of your reach.
In this episode, we’re going to help you get a grip on just what evangelism looks like in today’s world, why it’s so important, and how you--yes, you--can get started in pursuing this vital Christian discipline, and even enjoy doing it. My guest is Tom Schmidt, planting pastor of Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, Illinois, as well as a blogger. Tom is a gifted conversationalist who knows how to convey the Good News about Jesus in easily-understandable ways, and to mobilize others to do so as well.
In our discussion today, we’re going to look at evangelism from three viewpoints: evangelism in the Bible, types of evangelism today, and what it means to be an evangelist or do personal evangelism. We’ll also look at some problems people have with evangelism and then talk about practical ways you can get started.
How would you define evangelism to someone who doesn’t know what it means, or might be suspicious of the idea?
How did you become so enthusiastic about evangelism? And are you comfortable with the term evangelism, or do you have another term that you prefer to use instead?
What have been the effects of your enthusiasm on your church?
What do you want Christians to understand about evangelism?
Now let’s talk about...
What is Evangelism In the Bible?
So, as followers of Christ, we want to make sure we’re talking about things in the same way the Bible does. So how does the Bible define evangelism?
What would be an example or two, in the Bible, of someone evangelizing?
And is this something that all Christians are commanded to do, or is it only for certain Christians?
When we think about the culture today, our social milieu...
How many types of evangelism do we have?
What are the different methods that are out there, that we need to know about?
It seems like in the past, during the First and Second Great Awakenings in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the massive, large-scale revival meeting was the way to go. And you see this even in the 20th Century with guys like Billy Graham. Is that still a thing? How have things changed, if at all?
Another pastor I spoke with this week mentioned his church had great success with a mailer campaign. What do you think about methods like that--mailers, door hangers, door-to-door evangelism, etc.?
What are some of the non-negotiables, those must-haves for evangelism to be effective and biblical?
And do you see evangelism as more of a corporate thing that the church does, or is the center of evangelism the individual or the Christian family?
Now, without getting too controversial, I want to take a look at...
What does it mean to be an evangelist?
Here’s something I’ve seen debated for a long time, and maybe you can set the record straight for us. Is there a Spiritual gift of evangelism?
In the Bible, Phillip is called “The Evangelist.” Was that an official title you think, or what was going on there?
Should local churches have a designated evangelist, or evangelism pastor?
How do you respond to the church member who says, I’d like to evangelize, but I don’t have the gift. Or they get too scared that they’ll say the wrong thing?
Alright now what about some...
Creative ways to evangelize
I know some guys who stick to open-air preaching, because that’s what we see in Scripture and they want to stick to the biblical or tried-and-true ways. What’s your response to that?
I know of at least a couple different methods that you’ve put into practice through your church (at least one of which I stole and ran with when I was a pastor). What are some methods of evangelism that you have personally used?
How about some other methods that you’ve seen used, that you like?
Any methods you’d warn us against?
Alright, now we know not everyone is as psyched about evangelism as you and I are. Let’s talk about...
Objections to Evangelism
Is evangelism the same as proselytizing? What’s proselytizing?
Why would non-Christians have a problem with Christians sharing their faith?
Is it arrogant to evangelize? Is it some kind of a power play, or disrespectful?
Is there ever a time when you think Christians should simply be quiet about the Christian message?
A recent poll by Barna found that a majority of Christians who say they’re sharing their faith say that they do so by living it out, rather than talking about it. What’s your response to that?
What do you hope Christians who listen to this will walk away with?
What about to any non-Christians listening?
What resources would you recommend for those who want to take their study of evangelism further?
How can my listeners follow your work or get in touch with you?
Books, Articles and People Referenced in this Podcast Episode
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