Evangelism 50 years ago went like this:
Step 1: See person (Personal knowledge of person’s life not required).
Step 2: Invite person to church.
Step 3: Person comes to church, hears a salvation message and accepts Jesus into his/her life.
That’s not how evangelism works these days. Evangelism in 2022 looks more like this:
Step 1: Listen to your friend speak on how all churches either: a) want your money; b) are anti-intellectuals; c) are political hacks; d) full of hypocrites; or e) all of the above.
Step 2: Listen to your friend tell you how they’ve been hurt in churches in the past.
Step 3: Apologize for the church’s failure in your friend’s life.
Step 4: Serve in the community.
Step 5: Talk (don’t brag about serving in the community. Don’t even mention it, unless your friend says something like: “What did you do on Saturday?” And you say, “Oh, some folks from my church and me were sorting groceries at the food bank. Go back to talking about the weather or whatever small talk is the conversation of the hour).
Step 6: Listen to friend scoff, “Churches don’t serve in communities much.”
Step 7: Listen some more without getting defensive. Just listen.
Step 8: Talk a little bit (mostly about regular life happenings. Occasionally mention how God helps you. Don’t worry as friend rolls eyes.)
Step 9: Serve in the community again (ask if the friend would like to serve too. Maybe the friend will. Maybe not.).
Step 10: Listen as the friend talks about how churches need to stay out of politics.
Step 11: Listen as friend talks about how bad things are in our world.
Step 12: Talk a little bit about how Jesus really can help.
Step 13: Friend has personal troubles.
Step 14: Listen to your friend tell about a family crisis.
Step 15: Listen to friend’s worries.
Step 16: Listen about friend’s anxiety.
Step 17: Talk a little bit and offer to pray for your friend (Maybe they will let you. Maybe not).
Step 18: Invite the friend to watch last Sunday’s church service on-line. Tell them it helped you.
Step 19: Listen as friend says they don’t have time.
Step 20: Listen as friend talks about more troubles.
Step 21: Listen as friend says they watched a little bit of the worship service.
Step 22: Smile. God is working– you know it. It’s a secret. Don’t tell your friend why you are smiling.
Step 23: Get coffee together and invite friend to join you at church.
Step 24: Listen as friend comes up with an excuse about how busy he/she is.
Step 25: Listen as friend says “Christianity is good for you, but probably won’t work for me.”
Step 26: Talk a little bit and say, “I don’t know, Jesus might surprise you.”
Step 27: Invite friend to watch a church service on-line again and tell friend “If you have questions, I will be happy to talk about it.”
Step 28: Listen to friend say, “Hey, I watched a service.”
Step 29: Listen as friend says, “Thank you. I did feel a little something.”
Step 30: Talk a little bit about how Jesus is speaking and how Jesus loves your friend.
Step 31: Listen to friend’s doubts.
Step 32: Listen to friend’s fears.
Step 33: Tell friend what a change Jesus has made in your life.
Step 34: Listen to friend’s questions.
Step 35: Try to answer friend’s questions.
Step 36: Pray with friend as they invite Jesus to be Lord of their life.
Step 37: Invite friend, who is now a believer, to join you in church on Sunday.
Step 38: Friend comes to church.
Step 39: Begin to disciple your friend.
Evangelism takes longer these days. But it is still worth it!
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15