Summary: God wants to use all of us to reach out to the lost, but there are many approaches to outreach that we can employ.
A. For every task that we face, there are many approaches or methods that we might employ.
1. Some methods are certainly better than others.
2. What is true with most things is also true with evangelism.
3. As you know, this week we have been involved in an outreach training seminar – praise God that it has been a fantastic week!
B. Being involved in the seminar reminded me of the story told of the Christian man who owned a barber shop and who went to an evangelism training seminar.
1. He faithfully attended the seminar sessions every night for two weeks.
2. He rehearsed all the material, took extensive notes, and memorized the assigned Bible verses.
3. At the end of the two weeks he received a certificate acknowledging his completion of the course.
4. The next morning, in the barber shop, he hung the certificate and bowed his head. “Dear Lord,” he prayed, “Help me to witness to the first man to come through that door this morning.”
5. At that moment in walked the biggest, meanest, foulest man the barber had ever seen.
6. It seems this man had recently lost a bet with some "biker" buddies and now he had to get his head shaved.
7. Needless to say, the barber did not feel very comfortable quoting the “Roman Road” to a man covered with tattoos who looked angry about having to shave his head.
8. The rest of the day did not go any better for the barber.
9. At 5:00 p.m., the barber was sobbing with shame. He had not witnessed to a single person.
10. He bowed his head again. This time he prayed, “Lord, if you will allow one more opportunity, I promise I will do my part.”
11. At that, the door opened and in walked a pleasant looking gentleman.
12. The man smiled at the barber, apologized for coming in so late and took a seat in the chair.
13. As the barber draped the man in his protective sheet, he began to try to remember what he was supposed to say. He began to get very confused.
14. As the barber put shaving cream on the man’s face, he tried to remember the answers he had learned to the possible objections.
15. As the barber began to strop his razor, he realized that he simply could not remember a thing he had learned.
16. All of this made the barber very nervous and soon sweat began to break out on his forehead.
17. Finally, in desperation, he shook the razor at the man and screamed, “ARE YOU PREPARED TO DIE??!!!”
18. As I said, “Some methods of evangelism are better than others.”
C. Reaching out to others and talking with them about spiritual things can be very intimidating and nerve-racking.
1. But it is our glorious calling, and our privileged responsibility.
2. Jesus gave these marching orders in the Great Commission, “Therefore go 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 I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19,20)
3. Mark records Jesus’ words, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:15,16)
4. Luke records these words of Jesus: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
D. So these have been the marching orders for followers of Jesus for the last 2000 years.
1. And as I said a minute ago, some methods and approaches to evangelism are certainly better than others.
2. And some approaches are better suited to each of us than other approaches.
3. 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.
4. Let’s spend some time talking about different approaches to outreach and see which approaches are the best fit for you and for me.
I. The Proclamation Approach
A. The proclamation approach involves standing before others and 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)