Summary: In this sermon, we examine six different approaches to evangelism and how to be engaged in them. (Much from this sermon comes from Hybils’ Becoming A Contagious Christian, chapter 9)
A. One day a five-year old boy ran to answer the telephone, and answering it said, “Hello.”
1. A woman asked him, “Is your mother home?”
2. “Yes,” the boy replied, “but she’s changing the baby’s diaper and can’t come to the phone right now. May I take a message?”
3. “Yes,” the lady was impressed, “tell her Mary Jones called.”
4. “How do you spell Mary?” the boy asked.
5. “M-A-R-Y,” came the reply.
6. A long pause followed, and the little guy asked, “How do you make an M?”
B. You see, this little guy was very willing to share the message, but he simply didn’t know how to, and that’s how many people feel about evangelism.
1. Last Sunday we focused on our great calling to share the good news with others, and the fact that so many need to hear the good news because they are lost.
2. I ended with the E1R1 challenge that “each one reach one” this year.
a. How exciting to think that our church could double in size in 2015 if each one reached one.
3. But just like the little boy in our opening story, those of us who wish to reach unbelievers for Christ need to be both willing and able. To be one without the other is not helpful.
4. We can be able to share our faith, but not willing to do so. And maybe that’s where some of us have been.
5. Or we can be willing to share our faith, but are not be able to do so.
6. The last thing I want is for us to be convicted by Jesus’ command to make disciples, and then not have a clue as to how to begin.
7. So, in this week’s sermon and next week’s sermon, I want to help us to be more prepared to share our faith.
C. For every task that we face, there are many approaches or methods that we might employ.
1. What is true with most things is also true with evangelism.
2. Some methods are certainly better than others.
3. And some approaches are better suited to each of us than other approaches.
4. The key for success is not only employing the most effective approaches, but employing the ones that best match our own individual personalities and gifts.
5. Today I want us to get very practical in the “how to” of outreach.
6. Let’s spend some time talking about different approaches to outreach and see which approaches are the best fits for you and for me.
I. The Proclamation Approach
A. The proclamation approach involves proclaiming the good news about Jesus, simply and clearly.
1. God gave Peter and Paul many opportunities to proclaim Jesus to groups both small and large.
2. Can you think of a better person than Peter to stand before the Jews on the Day of Pentecost and proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah? (Acts 2)
3. Can you think of a better person than Paul to stand before the Greek philosophers in Athens and argue that there is only one true God? (Acts 17)
4. Perhaps God has given you gifts of communication.
5. You may have a gift for teaching and reasoning and perhaps God will open doors for you to speak to groups in a public forum: like a high school, or a collage dorm room, or a living room.
6. If this is the case, then you need to employ your gifts with faith and love. You need to speak for Christ in those places and at those times.
7. Advances in technology has brought new avenues for proclamation has come through the use of the internet.
a. Many Christians are effectively sharing their faith in chat rooms, on blogs and websites designed to teach the gospel.
b. So the internet may be a place where you can effectively share your faith.
B. In reality, however, many of us are not given these gifts, nor these platforms or opportunities.
1. Most of us will be called upon to use a different approach other than the proclamation approach.
II. The Testimonial Approach
A. The blind man from John 9 is a good example of someone who effectively used this approach.
1. From the get go, this man didn’t know very much about Jesus nor about religion, but he knew what Jesus had done for him. He knew the difference that Jesus had made in his life.
2. He said, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.” (Jn. 9:25)
B. The Apostle Paul also used this approach on many occasions.
1. Twice in the book of Acts (22 and 26) we see him sharing his testimony of how he came to believe in Jesus.