What are Evangelism Methods?


1. How are the Holy Spirit and Jesus similar? Where does the Bible come into evangelism?

A Story

You meet two unsaved people, and you begin to talk about Jesus. They show some interest, so you call Jesus on your cell phone and tell him about those two guys.

Then you ask him if he could meet with the two of them at a coffee shop tomorrow at one in the afternoon. He says yes. They both agree to show up at the coffee shop at 1 PM.


They meet with Jesus for one hour. Then they meet with you at 4 PM on the same day. You ask how it went. One of them gets mad. He says he didn't like Jesus at all. Something was really creepy about it all. Jesus made him feel very uncomfortable. You ask him, “Do you want to meet with him again?" He adamantly says, NO!

The other person disagrees. He liked Jesus. There was something about Jesus that made him want to spend more time with him. You ask him, "Do you want to meet with him again?" He cautiously says, Yes.

Both had the same experience with Jesus, in person. Why did they respond differently? The answer is very simple. One of them wanted what God was offering: Jesus. The other one didn't.

What does this story have to do with evangelism?

Question: Who wrote the Bible? 2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever made by the will of man, but men being moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

Question: Are Jesus and the Holy Spirit both God? Yes.

Question: If a person rejects Jesus, would that person reject the Holy Spirit? Yes.

Question: Since the Bible came from the Holy Spirit, how would a person respond to the Bible if that person rejected Jesus? Negatively.

Question: Since the Bible came from the Holy Spirit, how would a person respond to the Bible if that person is seeking God? Cautiously positive.


Since we don’t have Jesus available to show up at a coffee shop to meet our two friends, could we use the Bible in His place? Could we introduce people to the Bible without any explanation whatsoever and let the Bible take the place of Jesus in person?

Yes, and this course is going to show you how to do that.

2. Methods

Christine and I moved to Austria in 1980 without having learned the German language. That saved me. I didn't understand German well enough to use all those evangelism methods I had been taught. They all depended on my language ability. I began asking Austrians to read the Bible with me, so I could learn German better. Much like the TV show "Jeopardy," I prepared questions so they could discover the answers from the text in the Bible we were going to read. After asking a question, my friends would correct my horrible German, and then they would give me an answer to the question. But I didn't understand their answers. So I just replied, in German, “That's interesting,” and then I asked the next question.


I understood very few of their answers or their conversations with each other about the text. The Bible study ended in early summer when the university classes finished, and they left on vacation. I planned on calling them in October to see if they wanted to continue the Bible study. They called me in July. They had wanted to continue the study immediately. They had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior while on vacation.

I can't describe my mixed emotions. I was thrilled and depressed at the same time. How could they come to faith in Jesus without my teaching? What about all that training in evangelistic methods? I could have used that money to further my career in sport parachuting or sailing.

Yes, I continued to meet with them, but I also started another study with two other students. I used the same "method" of just reading and asking questions without giving any answers. This time I understood their answers, which were often wrong. But instead of correcting them, I simply asked what the text actually said. They gave the correct answer, but added that they didn't believe the text.

I told them that unbelief was their problem, but that I just wanted to know that they understood what the text actually said.

I could greatly expand on how that study continued, but I don't want this blog to reach 5,000 words. The end result? They went on vacation, accepted the Lord as their Savior and wanted to keep reading the Bible with me. As they began to trust me more, they began asking me questions about things in the Bible. I answered those questions. This process never ceased during our entire fifteen years in Austria. That produced three Bible churches along the way.


How was that possible? I was the missionary, and God didn't need me to lead them to himself. He used his Bible without my explanations or guidance. I should've been crushed, but I needed that lesson.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit in the life of an unsaved person can't be taught in a class on evangelism.

Re-read that previous sentence.

During that time, Dr. John Lennox motivated me to write a book on evangelism, which I did. We titled it Evangelism for the Fainthearted. The premise is simple. Get a person into the Bible, so the Bible can get into the person, and then get out of the way. I'm producing this course to show you how to do that.

After Christine and I had spent five years in Austria, we returned to the States for one summer. I went to a Christian bookstore and asked to see the used book section. I found between 50 and 100 books on evangelism. The owner was a friend, so he sold all of them to me for a discounted price. I had them shipped back to Austria. Over the next year, I read every one of them.


None of them were wrong. Each had some good things to say about evangelism, and described some good experiences.

Many of them, however, promoted their method as superior to all other methods.

However, those that reported success and actually saw people come to Jesus, every single one of them used the Bible in some form.

As I finished reading those books, I came to this conclusion: Methods are overrated. They are usually very complicated and mostly fit the person promoting them. Humans are so diverse that we can't plug everybody into a limited number of methods.

Some have used the apostle Paul as a definitive guide for evangelizing. Yes, we can learn a lot from the things he did, but very few of us are in Paul’s situation. He wasn't married, had no children, didn't spend 50 years of his life in one location, in one job, surrounded by the same people with the same set of relatives for his entire life. He didn't worry about his retirement, should he die first, leaving his wife behind with nothing to live on.

Believers have promoted friendship evangelism over cold evangelism, but the apostle Paul didn't spend any time making friends with people before starting a conversation about Jesus with them. Paul spent all of his friendship time with people who responded positively toward Jesus.

I realize that this won't set well with those who promote spending 20 years become friends before attempting to evangelize those "new" friends.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to make friends with people, but scripture doesn't make close friendship a requirement for witnessing or leading someone to Jesus.

And during times of persecution, friendship evangelism is dangerous, since we don't always know whom we can trust.

Don’t be dismayed when you are afraid to witness. That happens to every believer. Even Paul, the Apostle. Read Acts 18:9. “Do not be afraid” should be translated, “Stop shaking from fear.” Read Ephesians 6:18-19. “Praying at all times . . . as well as on my behalf that words may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” Even Paul needed prayer for boldness in witnessing!

Paul put more emphasis on boldness in the face of fear rather than on method. Yes, we should attempt to explain the gospel in terms that people will understand, but the Holy Spirit has the ability to use our inept and pathetic attempts at evangelism to guide an unsaved person in the right direction. As the message goes into the mind of the unsaved, no matter the human method, the Holy Spirit works in that person’s soul to convict them of sin and draw them to the Father.

This means that we can learn something about evangelism from anybody who attempts to witness to friends and strangers. Christine and I learned evangelism directly from our experiences and the Bible.

My life goal has always been Romans 15:20, to take the gospel to places it hasn't reached yet. There are always such places. Every new generation needs the gospel. But since I'm over 70, my options for travel have diminished, so I'm putting this all online to broaden our outreach to believers who want to see their friends come to Jesus.

Three Mistakes


1. We need to stop procrastinating and become intentional about witnessing. I am not talking about methods. Finish this course and you’ll see what I mean.

2. We need to stop overestimating our own methods, which I would have used, if I had known German upon arriving in Austria.

A side note. What about the “gift” of evangelism? According to Ephesians 4:11-12, IF a person has that gift (if it’s a gift and not a position in the church), then that person should be “equipping the Saints for the work of service.” IF the gift exists, then that gifted believer should be training others to evangelize, not allowing other believers to claim that they don’t have the gift.

A second side note. Apologetics are also overrated. All the facts in the universe will not convince a person who doesn’t want to be convinced. I have a PhD in Apologetics. Great for encouraging believers. Apologetics without the gospel is useless.

3. We need to stop underestimating the work of the Holy Spirit.

If a person doesn’t want God, then no method will work. If a person wants God, and only God knows that, any method will work. Think about that. If a person is internally seeking God, then no “defective” method will keep them from finding God, because God promised in Matthew 7:7-8, “If you seek, you will find.”

One last note.

God cannot use perfect believers to witness. Why not?

Perfect believers don't exist! If they did, the unsaved would look at perfect believers and respond: I can never match that.

But they can look at imperfect believers and say, "if God is willing to save you, then maybe there's a chance for me."

Believers avoid sin in order to obey God, and our struggles with sin become part of our evangelism.

Remember, Jonah? He wasn't perfect. He hated the people he was supposed to evangelize.

This brings us back to the message. Words, either written or verbal. Yes, we should show love to others, but if we don't, unsaved people seeking God will find Him anyway. God promised.

So let’s begin with you.


1. How much has the Bible changed you? Did you understand the Bible the first ten times that you read it?

2. Let’s get rid of the guilt. Learning to witness is a process.

  • It starts with recognizing what we have to offer: eternal life with Jesus.
  • It recognizes that the world hates Jesus.
  • It focuses on the message of the gospel, not any specific method.

This means that the Bible, which contains the message, is more important in evangelism than anything we can do for others.

Finally, it’s not about you. Its about getting the message into the mind of an unsaved person, whether he/she be a friend, an enemy, or an acquaintance, whatever.

And now we begin with you.

B. Application

Before the next lesson, answer these four questions. You might want to write down your answers for later.

A. Under what circumstances do most people get saved? This is not a trick question, but you probably don’t know the answer.

B. What were you like before you got saved?

C. What were the circumstances that motivated you to repent of your sins and ask Jesus to save you?

D. How different has your life become since then?

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