Great Commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as your self (Matthew 22:37-39). However, the best way to love our God is to do God’s will–share life with the lost souls! The best way to love our neighbor is also to give them the eternal life more than anything else. So, the Great Commission goes: “Go therefor and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Here are the reasons for evangelism.
Doug Anderson shows us steps for evangelism.
1. Service Evangelism—Acts of mercy, showing God’s love in concrete way. We, UMC, are good at services. Serving others is in our DNA. We have joy in services. However, service alone will rarely bring people to God. Service with Good News will bring people to God. For example, when we give food and shelter to the homeless people, they do not come to God. However, if we say that (1) God loves you, (2) we care for you, (3) and we invite you to a specific time and place for worship God, they may come to God. Some ideas for this type of evangelism is found at the www.servantevagelism.com. I will give some ideas from the web site and you can also read books like Conspiracy of Kindness, 101 Ways to Reach your community, Outflow, and Irresistible Evangelism by Steve Sjogren.
2. Faith Sharing in small groups. Ask these questions in small groups.
1) How is the status of your soul?
2) How did you experience God in your life this week?
When we answer those questions every week among our friends, we are getting used to share our faith with others. We will be ready to answer all kinds of questions that non-believers or young believers would ask to us. Without this step, we will not be ready to share our faith with others. So, practice sharing faith every week with others in your own small groups.
3. Testimonial in public worship—Ask small group leaders for a candidate!
Once you are used to share your faith in your groups, you are ready to share your faith in public worship. There will be some people whom you do not know but you are already used to share your faith and you will feel comfortable when you share your faith. However, not everybody is ready to share his or her faith. So, the small group leader should recommend good candidates who can share a meaningful and inspiring stories with the congregation.
Sometimes, we can use pre-recorded or edited video! In that way, even shut-ins and home bound people can share their faith in a meaningful way. However, do not give microphone to somebody in worship services spontaneously. It can be a disaster for the whole congregation. Always prepare the person and the manuscript.
4. Invitational Evangelism-Personal, Specific, Relational invitation.
People do not invite their friends simply because they do not want to be embarrassed. When they invite people, people would ask what they would expect when they go to church. If we are used to share our faith in our small groups and worship services, we can answer those questions with joy and enthusiasm. However, if we have not shared our faith with others, we do not know how to answer those questions and hesitate to invite people. So, it is really crucial for us to have small group discussions and practice sharing our faith, ideas, feelings, and experiences.
About 3 weeks before we invite our friends, we should write down names and pray everyday. Then, 2weeks before the invitation we should check if members actually pray for them continuously. Then, 1 week before the Invitation Sunday check again. In that way, we can share accountability with our church members. And invite people on a certain Sunday.
Invitation is not just passing out information about worship location and time. We have to personally invite for a specific time and place. For example, “Next Sunday 10:00 AM, I am going to pick you up at your house!” is an invitation. “Later, stop by our church if you have time! Our services are at 10:30 AM” is not an invitation. Invitation should be personal, specific, and relational.
Christmas, Easter, and Back to School Week are the best opportunities in USA. So, try to invite them on those three opportunities as well as other times.
5. Relational Evangelism-Learn how to listen and share your life and faith.
We can do relational evangelism only after we do the previous steps. First start with your small group discussions. Once you share your faith in a safe and comfortable place, it is easy for you to share your faith with strangers. Learn how to listen to their stories with your whole heart! Then you will know when and how to share Good News with the others. Everybody needs to know that God loves him or her and Jesus died for him or her. Grace is available to everybody who seeks God’s Grace! We can share that through our personal relationship with others. Our words and actions can be channels for the Grace.
May God bless your efforts to share life with others! May our lives are full of fruits of evangelism!