Lesson One:
What is Evangelism?

Hello, I’m Floyd.

Even in high school, I wanted to witness, but it seemed as if I was chasing people away. I realized in Bible College and seminary that witnessing had to take place in the real world, outside those bubbles. I tried different methods and because I am an extroverted talker, I thought that if I could say the right thing, people would come to Jesus.

Then Christine and I moved to Austria and we couldn’t speak the language. Not only was my gift-of-gab was useless, but I realized that I had paid for college classes that taught me why I should witness, but nothing about how. Wasted money.

I passed a primitive German exam, which allowed me to take classes at the university. I met Volker, an Austria student, and for some crazy reason, I asked him if he would help me learn the German language, but that I would like to read the Bible as my textbook. He looked at me as if I needed some serious counseling, but when Christine fed him lunch, he agreed.

I chose the Gospel of John, and I wrote out German questions on every verse. Kind of like Jeopardy. The answers were in the verses. When Volder and I got together, I asked him the questions, he corrected my horrible German, and then he answered the questions.

The problem? I didn't understand his answers!

This is Evangelism?

So I learn to say, "Interesting," and I asked the next question.

Volker lost interest after a few weeks, but by that time I had talked two more students into "helping me with my German." However, I still didn't understand their answers, but I was learning lots of German.

That study lasted the rest of the school year. When classes got out in June, we parted ways. I hadn't understood any of their answers. I decided to wait until October and call those students to ask if they wanted to start reading the Bible again.

I received a phone call from them in July. They had gone on vacation, thought about what we had been reading, and accepted the Lord as their savior.

I was stunned. And upset. Nothing had worked like it was supposed to. How could they get saved without my teaching?

What is Evangelism?

I decided to experiment. Over the summer I had improved my German well enough to understand answers. In September, I picked up a couple more students and began reading with them, but I still just asked questions and let them give me their answers from the Bible. However, some of their answers were wrong! I wanted to correct them, but I didn't. I just asked the question, "Is that what the text says?"

They replied, "No, but we don't believe the text." I assured them that what they believed was their problem, I just wanted to know if they understood the text itself. They laughed and then told me what the text actually said.

That "study" lasted all year, and while they were away on vacation--without me or my teaching--they accepted Jesus as their Savior.

As I look back on those experiences, I realized that I had gone to Austria with two wrong ideas in my head. One, I had totally overestimated my ability to lead people to Jesus, with an emphasis on the use of apologetics, and two, I had totally underestimated the power of the Holy Spirit through reading the Bible.

Jesus allowed Christine and myself to lead dozens of people to Himself by just reading the Bible with them, and asking them questions about the text. We never "taught" in those studies until the people had begun to trust us enough to ask for our viewpoints on the text.


So what obstacles did we encounter? Just one. Getting someone to read with us. I will put a blog in this course on how to do that.

Would you like to lead someone to Jesus by reading the Bible with them? If yes, I want to show you how to do that.

I started out with some wrong ideas about evangelism, and as I've taught this course over the years, others have stumbled over the same misconceptions. We will dismantle them along the way.

And before we move on, I think we need to dismantle two right now. Guilt and Persuasion.


1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and fear.”

This verse used to make me feel guilty all the time.


Let’s start by what God did NOT mean by that verse.

Have you ever be caught off guard when someone asked you a question about your faith? Of course. We all have. And we usually panic. None of us can always be “emotionally” ready. This command does not address our emotions. It addresses our knowledge. And preparing ourselves mentally to witness, even when caught off guard, is easy. It requires just two things: information and intentional practice. Stay with me. We can do this.

This command has nothing to do with personality or methods, which are greatly overrated, like fame and fad diets.


In Acts 18:4, Paul attempted to "reason," and to "persuade" everybody, Jews and Greeks, of the truth of the gospel.

Two men talking

Was Paul's example a command that all believers are required to follow? Could there be other ways of leading people to Jesus? Does the Bible mandate Paul's methods as the answer to the question, What is evangelism? Did all the apostles "reason" and "persuade" people like Paul did? No, they didn't. Note that.

What about using apologetics? If you are in love with that approach, go for it. If you aren’t, don’t worry about it. What I’m going to teach you can incorporate apologetics, but only if you want to use that approach.

 So if “always ready” has nothing to do with our emotions, and it simply means to intentionally learn stuff, then what do we have to learn? That will come in the next blog. Just note that it doesn't mean that you have to be able to answer all the questions your friends might ask.

What is Evangelism? Fishing!

Two Men Fishing

The very first thing that Jesus told his brand new disciples in Mark 1:17 was “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

If you have never been fishing, that's fine. If you follow these blogs all the way to the end, you might even learn how to fish!

What is Evangelism?
Let's Get Started!

This course parallels my book, but contains more things I've learned since publishing it.

You will get the most out of this course if you read my book along with these blogs and do the assignments at the end of every blog.

My book, Evangelism for the Fainthearted, or the audible edition, Evangelism for the Fainthearted (audible).

In every lesson I will give you some information, interspersed with lots of questions. Then some short assignments for this lesson and for the next lesson.

Lesson Two
Evangelism: What it is and what it isn't

Lesson Three
God Calls

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