Five New Testament Evangelism Methodologies
by Marcus Merritt
Matthew 28:18-20 provides Christians with the mandate for evangelism and missions.
Further, Acts 1:8, demonstrates the model for evangelism and missions. So what are our methods? If Christ expects his followers to evangelize and make disciples of the entire world, how do believers go about that task? Below are five New Testament evangelism methodologies.
1. Proclamation-Evangelism – 1 Corinthians 1:18. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
The most popular and enduring method of communicating the good news is through gospel preaching. When Spirit-filled preachers boldly proclaim the unchanging message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, good things happen. Preachers keep preaching the Word! But, what about the vast majority of believers who are not ordained ministers? If evangelism were only for preachers then Matt. 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8 would only apply to a minute portion of the body of Christ. The New Testament did not exempt “laymen” from evangelism, nor was it limited to Sunday mornings at eleven o’clock.
2. Event-Evangelism – Luke 5:27-32
Levi’s feast was an event staged by a new believer for the express purpose of introducing an invited crowd to Jesus Christ. Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) threw a huge banquet and invited all his vulgar and vile friends. Many probably had not yet learned of Levi’s conversion experience. The Bible reports that “a great company” of them came and sat down to dine with Jesus. Naturally the self-appointed religious watchdogs were outraged by this turn of events, but Jesus reminded them that it is sick people who most need the attention of a physician.
Levi created an event (a party) in order to draw a crowd (his lost friends) for the ultimate purpose of introducing them to Jesus Christ. Only Heaven knows how many lives were radically transformed and how many seeds were planted that germinated after the resurrection.
Think of it like this: Jesus spoke to more lost souls at that event than he would have in a lifetime preaching in the temple and synagogues only. The people who came to Levi’s party were on the fringes of society and would have never been welcome in the Temple.
3. Ministry-Evangelism –- Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Jesus was not teaching a “Liberation Theology” nor was he promoting a health and wealth gospel. However, Jesus did often meet the physical needs of an individual before addressing his or her greater need for forgiveness and salvation. As Christ followers, we would be wise to emulate this approach. We can offer ESL classes, food or clothing assistance, medical attention, and so much more. Dorcas made coats for the needy and her love for the underprivileged gave her a unique platform to share the love of Christ (see Acts 9:36-42).
4. Personal-Evangelism – Jn. 1:40-42; Philip & Ethiopian Acts 8:26-39
Andrew first found his brother, Simon and brought him to Christ. Philip spoke to the Ethiopian and led him to faith in Jesus Christ. The Samaritan woman led many to faith through her testimony. These are all examples of how God uses personal evangelism as a means to introduce lost people to Jesus Christ.
Research by the Georgia Baptist convention uncovered an interesting fact about personal evangelism. Among the convention’s 3600 Baptist churches, only 23% provided personal evangelism training. However, among the top one hundred most evangelistic churches, 87% provided personal evangelism training. It is no coincidence that the most evangelistic churches equip their membership to engage in personal evangelism.
5. Confrontational-Evangelism – Acts 17:22-23 (contains elements of apologetics) So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”
No one hates those cable TV political talk shows more than I do. People shouting at one another and calling each other names – that is not what is meant by the term “confrontational-evangelism.” So just erase that mental image altogether.
In Athens, Paul had to be blunt with the group of religious philosophers that he addressed. They did not have the Judeo-Christian worldview that even the unbelieving Jews possessed. Paul’s evangelistic approach contained an element of apologetics. There are times when modern believers will need to take this approach when dealing with someone who holds firmly to another belief system (including staunch atheists). The best way to confront a person of false faith is to simply put forth the claims of Christ.
Your state missionaries in the Office of Evangelism Ministries are ready to assist you in any of these five methods. Further, New Testament evangelism methodologies are not limited to these five. I would be interested in hearing back from you about some other New Testament evangelism methods that you have tried.