Methods of Evangelism

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Jason
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Methods of Evangelism

Post by Jason » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:43 am

I was just at the local grocery store with my son, standing at the deli counter waiting for them to slice some meat, and an older man approached and asked if my son was adopted. Given that he's Asian and I'm a white dude, this is a perfectly natural question. I said, "Yes," and then he proceeded to talk to my son for a while in a very friendly manner.

And then this gentleman asked my son if he loves Jesus and I answered and said that he did. The guy then pulls out a testimony tract and tells me to read over it. Has anyone here used this method of evangelism on strangers? I've never been approached by a brother in this manner before, but it left me with some odd feelings.

First, he seemed almost disappointed when I indicated that we were already Christians. And second, once he produced the tract, I felt like the prior discussion about children and adoption (which was really great) was just a lead-in to his sales pitch. I felt used.

It occurred to me that this type of evangelism would leave a negative impression for most and I wonder about its effectiveness. The tract he handed me said "A moment ago we met... Was it a coincidence?" Well, as a follower of Christ trying to buy ham with my son, I think that it probably was. For those of you who've done this type of ministry, did you find any fruit in it?

By the way, I googled the man's name (it's on the backside of the tract) and it turns out he's a bestselling author of Christian books and he's been around the ministry since the early seventies. Is this approach totally ineffective for Christ, or am I just in a grumpy mood?

dwight92070
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by dwight92070 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 am

I was saved in 1970 and I've been grappling with this topic ever since. I have done quite a bit of street preaching until about a year or two ago when I stopped. I too felt more and more uncomfortable with that type of evangelism. It seems to be "slap in the face" evangelism, i.e. these people are going about their business, or going to a baseball game or football game. They didn't come to hear a sermon and they don't appreciate it, so you've already made them angry, or at least some of them, even before they hear your message. On the other hand, Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel, so, as my pastor says, we should do it anyway. He has been street preaching 3-4 times a week for 2 decades, and I've gone with him many times, until I finally had to tell him that I disagree with that method. Of course, it helped to hear Steve's opinion on this. He is not in favor of street preaching, saying that we are preaching generally to uninterested people and in many cases, antagonistic people. However, God can lead people however He wants, so I will never judge my pastor or anyone else for street preaching, unless they are doing it in a loud, condemning, obnoxious way, which my pastor never does.

I know you were not referring to street preaching but I think the principle is similar. There's nothing wrong with being friendly towards strangers, obviously. Jesus was friendly toward the woman at the well and He took that occasion to "witness" to her. Some say the answer is "friendship evangelism", but both my pastor and I disagree. Jesus did not take the time to develop a friendship with this woman before He shared the truth. But He did earn the right to be heard. He went into the Samaritan area, as a hated Jew, and was friendly toward a Samaritan woman! Then, only after she asked Him why He did that, did He go right into the truth. Even then, He continued speaking the truth as He saw her respond to it. He did not cram it down her throat or shove a tract in her hand.

I am not convinced that either Jesus or the apostles ever did street preaching as we see it today. Yes, Jesus did on occasion preach in the streets, but only after He had performed a miracle and saw the crowds gathering. As He earned the right to be heard, He spoke and taught.

Gotta go to work.

Dwight

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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by dwight92070 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:35 pm

Jason, could I ask you who the man was? I am curious which Christian author evangelizes in that way. Two men came to mind: Bill Jack and Ray Comfort.

Thanks,
Dwight

dwight92070
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by dwight92070 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:37 pm

Also, how old is your son?

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john6809
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by john6809 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:22 am

I don't know how it would feel to an unsaved person but I can't imagine it would be any different than it was for you. I think that human dignity is offended when you feel that someone is baiting you or manipulating the conversation so that they can segue into what they had intended from the start. Not very genuine interest in the person, just the agenda.


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Jason
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by Jason » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:16 am

Appreciate the feedback. Dwight, my son is 8-years-old. If you send me a PM, I'll tell you the man's name. But it's not one of the two you mentioned.

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Paidion
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by Paidion » Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:55 pm

Thank you, John, for using the word "segue." It is the first time I have encountered it in all 78 years of my life.
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john6809
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by john6809 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:11 pm

You're welcome, Paidion.


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morbo3000
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by morbo3000 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:40 am

I periodically wander into people who, for want of a better phrase, seem to think I'm an actor in a play with them in the starring role. Most recently, sadly though not surprisingly, I was with a young pastor. Learning that I'd formerly been a pastor, he started referencing a bunch of music and authors thinking it was a point of commonality. But I could tell he wasn't trying to get to know me. I was being played. Honestly, though, I don't hold it against him. He's doing what he thinks a Christian pastor is supposed to do. Seems to me, the only people jesus "played" were the religious ones. Everyone else he just hung out with. My kinda pastor.


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steve7150
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Re: Methods of Evangelism

Post by steve7150 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:23 am

Thank you, John, for using the word "segue." It is the first time I have encountered it in all 78 years of my life.











Apparently "segway" evolved from "segue" because it seemed more logical but actually refers to a vehicle of some kind. Re the "agenda" discussion, this agenda is to save folks and i have occasionally run into folks with this agenda. I respect them and if they didn't truly want to be my personal friend i got over it quickly.

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