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While worshipping in a church in the southern part of Thailand the pastor was preaching on the Fruit of the Spirit. Then as he challenged them he gave them a test where he asked them to score themselves on a scale of 1-10 in four different areas. He said that no one is a 40 because all of us are still a work in progress (so true). Then he teased them that at best some of them were only a 20. They laughed but it caused me to wonder how we would score on an evangelism test. The four questions could be:

  1. Am I completely confident in being able to show someone from the scriptures how to repent of their sins and ask Christ to be Lord of their life? Remedy: Get trained in how to share the gospel!
  2. Am I burdened to share my faith with people in my circles of influence and am I burdened enough to do something about it, not just talk about it? Remedy: Fall on your face before God and beg Him for this!
  3. Do I approach every day as an opportunity to share the love of Chirst with others around me both in demonstration and verbally?  Remedy: Realize you are Christ’s ambassador wherever you are and wherever you go!
  4. Have I shared my faith with someone in the last week? Remedy: Commit to share your faith with someone in the next week and do it!

Ok, how did you do?  Remember, no one gets a 40 but many, if we are totally honest, struggle to score a 20! While most churches would say that their primary reason for existence is evangelism/discipleship, they would readily admit that the areas they are most challenged in is evangelism/discipleship!

We know that only 15% of all churches in America are growing and only 1% are growing through new converts. With that truth staring us in the face how do we reconcile that with the Great Commission which says, “Go and MAKE disciples!” It does not say make them better disciples (which does happen and is important) but it says make them; from scratch.

The pastor in Thailand shared with us that 80% of the people in the congregation that day were new converts in the last year. It always causes me to rejoice when I visit a church plant and I am told that 80% or more are new converts. We must stop shuffling the Christian deck and once again commit to “making” disciples.

George Barna has noted, “Evangelism is not a priority in most churches, so the fact that most churches do not verbally share the gospel in a given year is not deemed problematic. Only one out of eight churches bother to evaluate how many of their congregants are sharing their faith in Christ with non-believers.”

This, in the face of the fact that conversion growth is the only kind of church growth that can be supported as the biblical kind of growth. While a church is thankful for biological growth and transfer growth they do not produce Kingdom growth and the kingdom of darkness is not pushed back.

Evangelism occurs more often in relationships than with complete strangers. 67% of the leaders (growing churches through conversions) surveyed attributed personal relationships as the primary means by which their churches were reaching people with the gospel.

Here are some steps to think through:

  1. What if the pastor, staff, and leaders of the church gave 10% of their time (or day a week) to developing relationships with lost people and training other believers to build intentional relationships?
  2. Where could you go and build relationships with people who are far from God? Get out in the fields and hang out with lost people wherever that might be in your context!
  3. What if you challenged 10% of your people to accept the challenge with you? Timothy was admonished by Paul to do the work of an evangelist! We must figure out a way to mobilize our people to live missionally and incarnationally. The best way is to lead is by example!
  4. How did Jesus make disciples? He cared about lost people and we must care about what He cares about. Leaders must model what they want their people to do! Money, methods, nor facilities are our limiting factors; leadership is!

You cannot reproduce what you are not doing! Someone recently said, “Our churches are full of people who say they love God but do not love what God loves!” God loves the world and Jesus said He came to seek and to save that which is lost!

  • Are we looking for the lost daily?
  • Are we conscious of those around us who need to see a demonstration of the love of God?
  • Are we listening to their stories and showing them they are valued by us and by God?
  • Are we sharing our story so that we can share His story?

Let me make this very clear: Reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ is not only the responsibility of the leaders of the church. It is every believers’ responsibility to share the gosple of Jesus Christ!

It is interesting that one statistic that has remained almost unchanged over the last 30 years is this: 85-88% of people who are reached with the gospel are reached because of a friend or a family member. It really is about relationships and our circle of influence.

What are you going to do about it?

The 3 P’s of Evangelism


Evangelism seems to be taking a back seat to almost every other kind of activity in churches today. Several authors have expressed concern about how even church plants can grow and do well but not reach the people that need to be reached the most, the lost.

One recent survey was shocked at how many in full time ministry say they do not have the “gift” of evangelism. In John 4:35 Jesus said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

Alvin Reid in The Evangelism Handbook says, “The church growth movement influenced many in the latter half of the twentieth century. It offered a three-tiered look at the process of evangelism.

The three components are these:

  • P-1, Presence. For example, agricultural, medical missions.
  • P-2, Proclamation. Presenting the gospel in an understandable manner.
  • P-3, Persuasion. II Corinthians 5:11 encourages hearers to respond.

An analogy for this definition is a house. In presence evangelism, people’s needs are met; they see a demonstration of the gospel, and, therefore, a foundation is built on which the gospel can be communicated. Because the church growth movement began on the mission field, its importance is obvious.

Cross-cultural issues must be considered in a viable presentation of the gospel. Increasingly, in a post-Christian or even an anti-Christian culture in America, presence evangelism has a place. Servant evangelism (covered later) fits in nicely in our context.

Proclamation evangelism to continue the house analogy, allows the light of the gospel to penetrate through the windows. People not only need a foundation, but they also need direction. The gospel can never be presented by a demonstration only; there must also be a proclamation.

Finally, persuasion evangelism leads people into the relationship they need with Christ. One can live in a house and not be family; by persuading people to follow Christ, we are inviting them to join God’s family. There are strengths and weaknesses to this definition.

The weakness comes when believers define evangelism at the P-1 level only. We must build bridges, but we must also do more. Still others stop at the P-2 level. This definition is complete when we see it as a whole.

That being said, it is positive in that when we are stopped short of a complete presentation of the gospel, we know we have at least provided some aspect of the gospel that the Holy Spirit can use. In other words, we should always seek to present Christ through presence, proclamation, and persuasion; but when we cannot, we can be thankful that on some level we have presented Christ.”

Reid defines evangelism as, “Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ by word and life in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that unbelievers become followers of Jesus Christ in His church and in the culture.” One problem is that many see the term “evangelize” as the work of the evangelist and the preacher proclaiming the good news in a formal setting. While that is true it is also simply sharing the good news one on one. It is every child of God telling others the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for them.

Every believer on this side of heaven owes every non-believer on this side of hell the gospel! The gospel is the good news. It is not bad news and we need to share it with those God has placed in our circle of influence.

Here are three things to do:

  1. Pray for those you know who are followers of Christ. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. You can share the good news but only God can transform a life.
  2. Ask God to show what you could do to build a bridge to them through an authentic relationship. People are further away from the cross today which requires patience and starting with the very basics.
  3. Be willing to do whatever God shows you so that you might be able to share the good news with them. Once you have gained their trust they will then allow you to speak into their lives because they can see who you are not just what you are saying!

Here are three steps to sharing the gospel:

  • Listen to their story!
  • Share your story!
  • Tell His story!

Paul said it best, “Do the work of an evangelist!”