As long as you are communicating the Gospel with a view toward conversion and with a proper motivation it doesn’t really matter what technique you are using. Again, your content must be correct, you must actually be communicating that content, and your heart motives should be pure. Given these assumptions, there is not one right method to evangelism.
With the growing number of curriculum and methodologies it almost seems as if evangelism techniques have become an end unto themselves. Rather than viewing different techniques as tools to accomplish a goal, some have begun to see the techniques that they are using as the only true way to do evangelism.
The bible never presents evangelism in this way. The bible commands us to evangelize. The bible dictates the content of our message. The bible warns us to guard our hearts from wrong motivations. But the bible never presents one technique (or any specific technique) of evangelism as the only way to do it. Instead, the bible provides us with a number of examples Christians doing the work of evangelism.
The one consistent thing that we find in these examples is that evangelism in the NT was never about a technique or a program. The key to evangelism is that Christians within the church know the Gospel and are communicating it in every avenue of life. Don’t get me wrong, some evangelism techniques can be very helpful. However, we must never confuse evangelism with the tools for helping us do evangelism.
With all this in mind, let me suggest a few categories of evangelism for you to consider pursuing personally. These are not the only avenues for the work of evangelism, but they certainly are profitable avenues for the work of evangelism.
I call this first category natural evangelism because in our lives there are certain relationships that naturally lend themselves toward evangelism. This would include close friends, family members, co-workers, etc. These are the relationships that God has providentially put into our lives, and these are the relationship in which we especially need to be good stewards.
The clearest illustration of this category of evangelism is the parent’s opportunity to evangelize their children.
Another scriptural illustration is the opportunity that a believing spouse has to evangelize their spouse 1 Cor 7:16).
Unfortunately this is an area of evangelism that we most often take for granted. We get so bogged down with trying to keep our kids fed and clean that we forget our responsibility to evangelize them. So too, it is usually the people that we are most familiar with that we take for granted. We must view these relationships as providential opportunities to be evangelists.
I call this second category guerrilla evangelism because we need to be intentionally and strategically building relationships with unbelievers so that we will have opportunities to share the gospel with them. Just like guerrilla warfare, we are embedding ourselves into situations so that we can strategically share the gospel with someone.
This is essentially what Paul did when he went to Mars Hill, when we worked as a “tent maker”, and when he went into the synagogue of a new city. Paul was seeking to embed himself into situations and relationship where he would have opportunities to share the gospel with unbelievers. For us it will look different than it did for Paul. He was strategic in finding situations where he could either build relationships that would give him the opportunity to share the gospel, or he would immediately be given that opportunity.
We need to find these situations in our lives. If you have a hobby, find a club for that hobby and start attending meetings. If you workout, go the gym at the same time so that you will start building relationships with the people in the gym. If you buy coffee at the same place all the time, start building relationships with the employees. The possibilities are endless. The point is that we have to think strategically about how we can find opportunities for evangelism.
By the way, this is far more effective than what I could call “carpet bomb evangelism.” A carpet bomb is not a precision bomb. It drops charges all over the place in the hope that it will find a target. Similarly, there are ways of doing evangelism where you drop the gospel all over the place in the hopes of finding someone who is listening. This isn’t wrong or sinful. But it is far less effective than strategically finding situations where you will have the opportunity.
The problem with Guerrilla Evangelism that it takes effort, energy, and relational commitment. But then again, this is really isn’t a problem it’s what evangelism is all about.
The final category that I would like to suggest to you is what I would call “Philip Evangelism.” This is when God plops an opportunity for evangelism right in your lap. I call it “Philip Evangelism” after Acts 8:26-39 where God drops an opportunity for evangelism right into Philip’s lap.
This is the rarest form evangelism, but for some reason this is usually what we think of when we think of evangelism. God does not normally work in this way, but when he does we need to be ready. This is the kind of evangelism that 1 Peter 3:15 has in mind:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
There are certainly other avenues for the work of evangelism, but these are three categories that you should be seeking to excel in.