When we become followers of Christ, it’s often the case within many evangelical circles that a very shallow and pragmatic approach to evangelism is immediately taught and modeled. So, what should our evangelism look like and why is this such a vitally important thing to get right from the beginning?
Jesus has given us a commission to go and make disciples, but to hear many people talk about evangelism, it’s very rigidly program driven, fad centered, and often focused on a person’s personal testimony rather than the gospel. We are not called to convert people. We are called to share the gospel and when we do—we trust God for the results.
As we consider a proper method of evangelism, there are two B’s that need to accompany our approach.
B-1: Beg God to Save Sinners
To hear some people describe or even teach on the subject of evangelism, it seems that they are more interested in the tricks or schemes that get people to respond as opposed to trusting in the sovereignty of God to awaken unbelievers to the truth of the gospel.
I recall years ago attending a special meeting held in our town where an evangelist had come to preach the gospel. He had asked for volunteers from various different churches to work as counselors each night. To be a counselor, you had to go to a preliminary class to be prepared to counsel people when they respond at the end of the service. I later discovered that part of the preparation and training involved telling the counselors to wait until a specific moment during his invitation to get up and come forward from all around the audience which would free others to get up and respond too. This priming of the pump technique is nothing more than a gimmick to get results. We must remember that the Holy Spirit doesn’t need our help in causing people to make a move toward God.
One of the things that we fail to do in evangelism is to pray. How much are we begging God to save sinners? The apostle Paul had a big head that resulted in a swelling heart for unbelievers. Paul prayed these words to God:
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen (Rom. 9:3-5).
Paul’s instruction of the church at Rome turned into a prayer for his Jewish brothers and sisters—his kinsmen according to the flesh. How often are we begging God to save sinners? What about co-workers? What about friends? What about family members? Do we have a zeal for God that results in a brokenness for unbelievers?
If all of the big God theology truths do not cause your heart to swell with love for unbelievers and a steady prayer to God for their soul—there’s something massively wrong with your devotion and worship of God.
B-2: Brag on God to Sinners
If you’ve ever met a new grandparent—you’ve probably encountered the zeal and joy of a person who looks for an opportunity to openly brag about how beautiful, wonderful, and sweet their new grandchild actually is (with pictures to prove it).
Evangelism involves first of all, a proper explanation of the gospel. Since the gospel means good news about how God saves sinners—that presupposes the fact that you must begin with an honest acknowledgement of sin and a person’s need for salvation through Jesus Christ. Without the hearing of the gospel, they will not be saved (Rom. 10:17).
Bragging on God to sinners involves pointing people to the fact that a God who sovereignly created the entire universe and owes sinners nothing has sent his Son to the cross as the payment for the salvation of wretched sinners. You can likewise brag on God for saving you when you were not owed anything good from God (Rom. 5:8).
Far too much evangelism is centered on bragging on self rather than bragging on God. If people hear you evangelize and remember more about you than they do about God and his saving gospel—how effective is such a presentation? People are not saved by listening to our story. People are saved by God’s story of redemption which centers on the sacrifice of his Son in the place fo ruined sinners. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once made this statement:
The one and only medium through which the Spirit works is the Scriptures; therefore, we “reason out of the Scriptures” like Paul did. 
So, a pointed question for you: when was the last time you actually shared the gospel with someone? What’s preventing you from bragging on God? Grandparents don’t have to go to a course to learn how to be happy about having a grandchild. The desire to share the gospel should be present within every Christian. Yes, sharing the gospel is necessary. It’s impossible to share the gospel without using words. Nobody has ever been saved by another person being nice to them or living out the gospel before them.
Perhaps you’ve been actively sharing the gospel for a while, but you’re not seeing a lot of results. Remember, we can’t evaluate our faithfulness in evangelism by the number of converts. However, if we are not seeing a lot of results, we should not be satisfied with it. We do plant and water and trust God for the harvest—but when the harvest doesn’t come, we need to beg God for souls.
1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones, quoted by Will Metzger in Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel Wholly by Grace Communicated Truthfully Lovingly, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002) 57.