Methods of Evangelism

Charles Spurgeon made the claim that it is more important to bring someone to Christ then to study and learn all there is to know about God’s Word. Some may argue with this idea, but Jesus’ last words were “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).” We are to learn and understand His mysteries simply because we love Him, but He has given us a direct command to reach people. Evangelism can be hard and scary. I wrote a paper explaining many of the ways people have attempted to reach people. I hope these descriptions will help you learn new ways of reaching people and may find one that fits your personality. God Bless.

Part ONEEvangelistic Method #1: Four Spiritual Laws

Four Spiritual Laws is an intellectual method of evangelism that was formed by the Campus Crusade for Christ and published by the founder Bill Bright in 1957.[1] The main idea of this method is to examine natural laws and how they relate to spiritual laws.[2] There are four spiritual laws that govern each person and those laws are: 1. God loves you. 2. Man is sinful and separated from God. 3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. 4. We must individually receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.[3] This has been found to be a positive form of evangelism through Campus Crusade.

One of the main advantages of this method of evangelism is that it starts from the basis that God loves people.[4] Instead of starting with the fallen state of man as Roman Road does. This gives more hope and a desire for something better before moving to Law two stating that man is sinful and is separated from God. This gives the hearer hope of something better then explains why they are not living in the abundance of life yet. This method also strives to relate to a generation that attempts to rationalize and scientifically understand everything.

There are two main disadvantages to this method; first because it is misleading in how it explains being saved through praying a prayer; it seems to downplay the role of faith in salvation. Without understanding that faith is necessary for salvation, it may lead people to believe they are saved without truly being saved.[5] Another disadvantage is that using a systematic approach to evangelism such as this one is sometimes a turn off to people because it is not personal or convicting.[6] It also seems to have a lot of criticism surrounding it for its theological standings, but the method is based around four laws and it is not meant to be a theological stance.

Part TWO—Evangelistic Method #2: Lifestyle Evangelism

Lifestyle Evangelism is a Relational method of evangelism that strives to shine the light of Christ simply through living a holy life among non-believers.[7] The focus is to build relationships and through those friendships, people strive to emphasize God’s love through their actions as well as words. This method of evangelism became popular in the 1990’s. The main verses that this method is supported by are Ephesians 4:1-3 and Romans 1:16-17. Both verses point toward living a life worthy of God’s righteousness. A method is not intrusive or confrontational; because there is a relationship build first.

There are some advantages for the Lifestyle Method. One simple advantage is living a life pleasing to God is something every Christian should already be doing. Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”[8] As Christians, living as an example of Christ should simply be something that we do to honor Christ. The Lifestyle method seems to strive to follow Christ’s example when He spent time with sinner. In Mark, Jesus, after calling Levi to be His disciple, is found to be spending time with tax collectors and sinners.[9] Jesus spent time with people who were not religious people and His reason, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinner.”[10] This is reflected in the Lifestyle method. This method is also has the advantage of letting the conversation of the Gospel come up naturally.

The main disadvantage of the Lifestyle method is that it is a non-verbal method of evangelism. The reason this is important is that Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”[11] Since the emphasis is on living rightly, it seems to downplay this passage from the Bible about preaching the Gospel.[12] Another disadvantage for this method of evangelism is missing the opportunities to share when they arise. After building that relationship, there could be complacency in the relationship and a fear of ruining the friendship.

Part THREEEvangelistic Method #3: Way of the Master

Way of the Master is a confrontational approach to evangelism. Ray Comfort and Kirck Cameron who have created a TV series helping to teach people this method of evangelism created Way of the Master.[13] This method focuses around the Mosaic Law. The concept of the Way of the Master is to make people realize they are not as good as they think they are. The steps are represented by WDJD (What Did Jesus Do?) and these four letters are meant to help the evangelist remember these four questions: W – Would you consider yourself to be a good person? D – Do you think you have kept all the Ten Commandments? J – On the Day of Judgment, if God judges you by the Ten Commandments, will you be innocent or guilty? D – Destiny—Will you go to heaven or hell?[14] Through those questions, the evangelist will lead the listener through and understanding that they need someone else to save them from their sin and inevitable destruction.

The Way of the Master has some advantages. One is that it is Biblical following Paul’s logical conclusion in Romans 3:20, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”[15] With the understanding of sin in the listener’s life, the evangelist is able to then share the hope of the Gospel. Another advantage is that it helps the hearer truly understand the sin they have in his or her life.[16] The Way of the Master explains in detail why, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[17]

The disadvantages with the Way of the Master evangelism method is firstly there is an overemphasis on the Ten Commandments[18] It is important to help people understand that they are sinners, but Christ has already paid for the sins of the world on the cross.[19] Christ’s blood has already washed everyone’s sins clean, but it is simply up to the person to accept that gift.[20] The Ten Commandments help people realize they have sinned, but not that everything has already been covered and people simply must have faith to choose to accept the covering.

Part FOURApplication of These Methods to Your Own Life

Evangelism is something that does not come naturally to some people. I am one of those people. I love having theological conversations and teaching people about God, but when it comes to evangelizing I have struggled. This is why Lifestyle Evangelism method is what works best for me in my life. This method also fits well into my work life. I would in a non-profit organization residential treatment facility for teens who are trying to recover from crisis in their lives. I am not officially allowed to talk about God and the Bible, but if a resident asks me I am able to share with them. This is why I strive to witness to them and my coworkers through living a life pleasing to God and waiting for that opportunity to talk about God, prayer, and grace. I believe in doing this I am able to plant a seed of hope and Christ’s love into the lives of people around me.

I am unsure if this is the way that should always be used or is the best, but I believe the Lifestyle Method is one of the best. This method is a slow process of ministering to people and this is why I believe it is not necessarily the best way, but as Christians, we should always move in this method of evangelism to those around us. Jesus instructs to,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”[21]

Jesus has called all believers to shine like lights in the dark world. I believe living as a light to those around us is the best way to create opportunities to share the Gospel with others.

[1] “Died. William ‘Bill’ R. Bright,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 27.4 (October, 2003): 164.

[2] Joshua Kellogg, “The Four Spiritual Laws: An Analysis Of Campus Crusade’s Method Of Evangelism” (Senior Thesis at Liberty University, 2012 Digitalcommons.Liberty.Edu, last modified 2012, accessed February 25, 2016), http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/honors/271/.

[3] Matt Slick, “The Four Spiritual Laws”, CARM – The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, last modified 2016, accessed February 25, 2016, https://carm.org/christianity/evangelism/four-spiritual-laws.

[4] Joshua Kellogg, “”The Four Spiritual Laws: An Analysis Of Campus Crusade’s Method Of Evangelism” (Senior Thesis at Liberty University, 2012)

[5] Joshua Kellogg, “”The Four Spiritual Laws: An Analysis Of Campus Crusade’s Method Of Evangelism” (Senior Thesis at Liberty University, 2012) p 30.

[6] Walter A Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary Of Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1996).

[7] GotQuestions.org, “What Is Lifestyle Evangelism?”, last modified 2016, accessed February 25, 2016, http://www.gotquestions.org/lifestyle-evangelism.html.

[8] Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV).

[9] Mark 2: 14-15

[10] Mark 2:17 (NIV).

[11] Mark 16:15 (NIV).

[12] GotQuestions.org, “What Is Lifestyle Evangelism?”, last modified 2016, accessed February 25, 2016, http://www.gotquestions.org/lifestyle-evangelism.html.

[13] GotQuestions.org, “Is The ‘Way Of The Master’ Evangelism Method Biblical?”, last modified 2016, accessed February 26, 2016, http://www.gotquestions.org/way-of-the-master.html.

[14] David Wheeler and Dave Earley, Evangelism Is .. (Nashville: B & H Pub. Group, 2010) Appendix 1.

[15] Romans 3:20 (NIV).

[16] David Wheeler and Dave Earley, Evangelism Is .. (Nashville: B & H Pub. Group, 2010) Appendix 1.

[17] Romans 3:23 (NIV).

[18] Jesse Johnson, “Concerns With The Way Of The Master”, The Cripplegate, last modified 2012, accessed February 26, 2016, http://thecripplegate.com/concerns-with-the-way-of-the-master/.

[19] John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV).

[20] Bob Wilkin, “The Way Of The Master”, Grace in Focus, 2007, accessed February 26, 2016, http://faithalone.org/magazine/y2007/1jul07.html.

[21] Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).

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