Anyone who has read any portion of the New Testament could probably gather that evangelism is important. In fact, had not the disciples obeyed the Great Commission, the Gospel would have never made it to us. But as much of the world still lacks knowledge of Christ, evangelism is still a necessity today. However, the most common objection that people give is that they don’t feel comfortable sharing their faith or they don’t know how.
I think some of this is the fault of the church, providing improper training on how to do it. But what I want you to see below is that though you may have only been exposed to one type of evangelism style all of your life, there are actually several different styles of evangelism recorded throughout Scripture. In fact, I think that each of the different styles often reflect the personality of the one doing the evangelism. So master all of these, but I would encourage you to find what is best for you and master that. And then use that style to fulfill your role in carrying out the Great commission. I’ve provided scriptural examples of each, as well as listed some strengths and weaknesses to each style.
1. Confrontational Evangelism
- Example: Peter preaching at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41)
- Peter was extremely straight forward in his Gospel presentation, saying things such as, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (v. 38). The result was that about 3000 were added to their number that day.
- Strengths: Ability to speak to the masses, can be done quickly, it calls for a response
- Weaknesses: Sometimes viewed as overbearing, impersonal, or that you don’t care
2. Intellectual Evangelism
- Example: Paul preaching in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)
- Paul reasoned with them in their temple, referencing their gods and their beliefs. Result is that some sneered, but others wanted to hear more and eventually believed.
- Strengths: Shows the intellectual side of faith, it addresses what the crowd currently believes, and it builds a bridge from their belief to a belief in Christ
- Weaknesses: You can sometimes over intellectualize faith and you can become prideful in your knowledge
3. Testimonial Evangelism
- Example: Man born blind (John 9)
- The man was healed by Jesus and immediately began telling others how he was healed. He didn’t have all of the answers, but all he could do was tell his story and no one could deny it.
- Strengths: No one argue against your story, it is personal, it implies a personal relationship
- Weaknesses: It can sometimes be long-winded or never really address the Gospel
4. Relational Evangelism
- Example: Dinner with Levi (Luke 5:27-32)
- After Jesus calls Levi to follow Him, Levi held a great banquet at his house and invited a large crowd to have dinner with Jesus and listen to Him.
- Strengths: Makes evangelism personal and shows that you really care, and it also tears down some barriers that a stranger may encounter
- Weaknesses: You can sometimes just be all relational and never share the Gospel or you could begin to be pulled in the direction of their lifestyle
5. Invitational Evangelism
- Example: Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)
- After realizing that Jesus was the long-awaited Christ, the woman ran back into town and invited others out to see and meet Jesus as well.
- Strengths: Invitational sometimes feels less threatening than confrontational, and it allows for them to see or hear first-hand
- Weaknesses: It is often a cop-out from sharing the Gospel yourself and so therefore you are just letting someone else evangelize
6. Service Evangelism
- Example: Story of Tabitha (Acts 9)
- There was a disciple named Tabitha who had fallen ill, and when others had heard that Peter was in town, they called for him to come and pray over Tabitha to make her well.
- Strengths: Meets the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs, and even non-believers can take part in this with you
- Weaknesses: Sometimes we do all action and never share the Gospel, and salvation can only come through hearing the Gospel
7. Cultural Evangelism
- Example: Paul becoming all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
- To the Jews, Paul became like a Jew. To the Gentiles, Paul became like a Gentile. He matched the culture that he was in so that he could win those of that culture.
- Strengths: Meets them where they are, in their comfort level
- Weaknesses: You embrace so much of the culture that you neglect who you are
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.