By David Evans
TBMB evangelism team
Ask someone a question and they shoot to a Google search. We have knowledge but are not necessarily knowledgeable. We live in a time where Christian music, books, seminaries, podcasts, community groups are everywhere. We live in a time of resource like no other time. We have resources at our disposal and yet baptism trends and church attendance seem to spiral downward. There is a difference in having access to tools and using the tool.
The second evangelistic inch is “the tool.” From Scripture memorization to tract presentation, many tools exist to assist the follower of Christ when telling the story of salvation. Whether the follower of Christ is utilizing a personal testimony or an evangelistic outline, not all tools fit every person. Three considerations are important when choosing a tool: (1) the audience, (2) the message and (3) the messenger.
First, the role of the evangelist in the disciple-creation moment is to attempt to meet the other person where they are without compromising the gospel message. The right tool can create a bridge of communication and relationship necessary to communicate the message of salvation to the particular audience. Understanding or knowing the audience is helpful. Terminology matters in context. Methodical contextualization is necessary when communicating across cultures. By the way, sociologically our world no longer hangs out on the front porch but on social media outlets such as Facebook. Are we willing to go where they are?
Second, the message of the tool is important. Too often our personal testimony focuses on the sin and not the Savior. A personal testimony can be a powerful tool if it is pointed in the correct direction. The message of the gospel tract must be biblically clear and the messenger should have an ability to present it clearly or the tool is not necessary. Other tools would include a memorized outline, survey, tract, conversation, story, etc. By the way, the tool never replaces the follower as the tool. Tracts and outlines can assist the Christian, but they will never replace the Christian.
Third, the messenger is an important consideration when choosing a tool for gospel presentation. The messenger should find a tool that is most comfortable to present. Not every tool fits every messenger in the same manner that not every fishing pole fits every fisherman. The job of the church leader is to locate the proper tool for the Christian to learn and become accustom to using. The only ingredients that matter more than the messenger’s comfort level are if the tool communicates rightly with the intended audience and if the tool rightly glorifies God. The messenger may need to consider adjusting personal comfort level for one or both of these ingredients.
A final consideration. I have heard many Christians give criticisms about certain evangelistic tools. They go as far as making fun of the tool. I have not ever met a lost person who cared what type of “tool” you used to present the gospel. I have only met lost people who care about the gospel that is being presented. Maybe we, as church folks, get too caught up in the critique of the tool instead of the usage. I have always found truth in the old adage, “When the fishermen stop fishing, they throw rocks.”
The following are “Evangelistic Inches” to help someone move from zero activity to gospel conversation and beyond:
(1) The desire
(2) The tool
(3) The opportunity
(4) The disciple. B&R — Evans is the evangelism team leader for the TBMB. Contact him via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out “The Reaching App” by searching in your app store or visiting www.TheReachingApp.com.