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One of the most valuable early lessons I learned as a Christian was the importance of sharing my faith with others. As a new believer, when my pastor announced that we were going to go street witnessing as a congregation, I simply did what I was asked.

What I didn't know at the time (but have since learned) is that fewer than 10 percent of born-again Christians actually believe they have responsibility to share their faith in Jesus Christ with others.

When I first entered the full-time ministry as a pastor of a small rural church, I duplicated the only evangelism style I knew—street witnessing. After weeks of teaching, only two of our men (2 percent of our congregation) actually went to the streets with regularity.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14)

How can we involve others in becoming the preacher that others will hear? How will the lost believe in Jesus and be saved? What I have learned about relevant evangelism is the topic of this article.

My mom used to say "There is more than one way to skin a cat." To win our cities, we'll have to learn to think outside of the box. If street witnessing (or decision evangelism, as I like to call it) only appeals to a small percentage of Christians, let's look for other ways to motivate Christians to preach the gospel.

We can communicate the love of the Father in ways other than verbal. St. Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying, "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

Mac Hammond, in his book Winning Your World, describes five styles of evangelism that need to be presented as ministry opportunities. They are confrontational (decision) evangelism, intellectual evangelism, relational (interpersonal) evangelism, invitational evangelism, and servant evangelism.

Including all of the different types of evangelism presents the greatest potential to not only get our congregations out of the pews and into the ministry, but to significantly impact the communities in which we minister.

One powerful way to win our communities is through simple acts of service that demonstrate the love of God; this is what has come to be known as servant evangelism. Servant evangelism is serving others with no strings attached. This style of evangelism is based on the on the kindness of the Father which Romans 2:4 says brings men to repentance.

Jesus won the world through acts of goodness and kindness. "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him" (Acts 10:38).

On Wednesday evenings in the summer our church has been able to mobilize as many as 600 of our members to perform servant evangelism projects. These simple acts of kindness, such as picking up trash on the streets, bagging groceries, washing cars, cleaning windshields and mowing the lawns of elderly people, have a great effect on our community.

When people ask us what we're doing, we tell them that "We believe that if Jesus walked the earth today, this is what He would be doing."

A few years ago after a severe windstorm and power outage in our city, we responded to a request from our city manager by bringing bags of non-perishable food to a senior apartment complex. The property manager was so impressed she asked if they could bus their 90 residents to church on Sunday. No doubt many will be saved, healed and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Don't limit your evangelistic outreach to what you've done in the past. Find ways to involve people whose personality might prevent them from going to the streets. Make invitational evangelism training available to those whose friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers would join them at your church service.

Be prepared to lead your congregation up and out of the church building and into your community. The Great Commission is awaiting all of us.

Copyright © CFAITH All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Phil Winn
Web site: Living Word Christian Center
 
A lifelong Minnesotan, Phil graduated from North High in Minneapolis in 1963. At age 17, he enlisted in the National Guard and received his commission as an Army officer in 1966. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1970, he took a position a hospital representative for Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The same year he married his college sweetheart Annie Haviland.
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