I really enjoyed William Fay’s “Share Jesus Without Fear”. The book obviously discusses the topic of personal evangelism in the life of a Christian. In today’s church culture, the use of the “e” word (evangelism) is considered a bit old-fashioned an out of touch with modern concepts. We’ve used the buzzword “outreach” to replace evangelism because it sounds friendlier. My fear is that in doing so, we’ve also neutralized the impact of each individual person to influence others to consider the Bible and the claims of Jesus Christ. I’ll come back to this point in a moment.
In Fay’s book, he begins by discussing his passion for reaching out to people who do not know Jesus. He includes several personal stories to drive certain points home in this regard. He then moves to his own style of witnessing to others by giving you a list of bible verses that are focused on a restored relationship with God through Jesus. He offers suggestions on how you can use these verses and then follows up with some talking points about bringing the person you are sharing with to a decision time. The book then discusses the most common answers people give for rejecting Christ. The book ends with a charge to be confident in using what was shared and to put it to use as God opens doors for you to share your faith.
As a pastor, I’ve seen this type of approach work many times in reaching out to those who want to discuss biblical issues and their eternal destiny. For certain there are some Christians that are a bit abrasive in this approach and that has turned off many because of the fear of humiliation and rejection. In my own observation, it seems that the younger church has moved away from this type of approach because it appears dated but I would disagree. There’s a place for “outreach” events and lighter type of evangelistic service. The term “Servant” evangelism was popularized in the 90’s and it’s poster event seems to be handing out bottled water to people. Just recently, this type of “outreach” was repackaged without the term “evangelism” in the popular book “Servolution”. These are great ideas and I think they are quite useful to bringing a person to a place where they would give audience to a presentation of the gospel but what then? Are people trained to properly share from the bible. That brings me back to my earlier comment about neutralizing individual believers.