by Samuel Brooks
How do you engage in outreach and discipleship? Is there a “one-size fits all” formula? What’s the proper way of evangelizing?Evangelism is defined as “the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness” [Google Dictionary]. Your Dictionary defines outreach as “reaching out to others, or becoming involved in a community or effort”; whereas, a disciple is “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” [Merriam-Webster].
The Apostle Paul said “When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23 NLT).
Personally, this is what I believe to be the best way to approach evangelism, outreach and discipleship:
- “Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). You must be sincere in your actions and words. All in all, “practice what you preach!”
- Read and study Scripture DAILY!
- Create relationships and build trust — find common interests between you and the other person(s) that could potentially lead to you sharing the Gospel with them. Telling someone that there are “demons around them” and/or criticizing and condemning them will NOT win anyone over! If someone started off with doctrine, condemning me, etc, I would more than likely not have decided to become a born-again Christian in 2014. Instead, invite them for fellowship, lunch or coffee. Things like doctrine, inviting to a church service, etc, comes slowly and that happens when trust is in place.
- Forgive (give and ask freely) (Matthew 6:14-15).
- Prayer (Matthew 5:44 and 6:7-13). Pray in public, not just in private; and be willing to pray with someone on the spot. This should be a DAILY occurrence!
- Witness — share your testimony with others when the opportunity arises.
Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This is known as the Great Commission! It doesn’t matter if you’re a former drug addict or alcoholic and are working in a rehabilitation center, a former criminal, or a military veteran who’s experienced combat situations, you have CREDIBILITY! You have the ability to reach out to individuals that I can’t and I can reach out to individuals that you can’t based on our life experiences. Nor should you limit the location (e.g. bar, bowling alley, movie theatre, etc) where you can connect with individuals, unless the temptation is too great (Job 31:1 and Luke 11:34-36); so I don’t advise that if you struggle with lust, for example, that you attend strip clubs to reach out to individuals. Another thing, if an individual is going through a difficult period in their life, whether it’s divorce, PTSD, financial, suicidal thoughts, etc, don’t be afraid to reach out and help them.
“Machine Gun Preacher” Sam Childers
There are many examples of fantastic evangelists and individuals involved in outreach besides Sam Childers and Michael Franzese that include Billy and Franklin Graham, Rachel Joy Scott (the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre), Chuck Norris, Kyle Idleman, John and Charles Wesley, Troy Evans, the Robertson family, David and Andrea Logan White (Pure Flix Entertainment), Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus, William J. Seymour, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Jeff Arnold, David K. Bernard, Irvin Baxter, John the Baptist, the Apostles…there are many more that I can list but the best of them all is Jesus Christ! Not just for the fact that He’s the one God manifested in the flesh; instead, He set the tone on how to properly reach out to people. He also says in Matthew 9:13b NLT “For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Whatever wrong you’ve done, God can turnaround and use it for good and His glory, but it’s up to YOU to repent and surrender your life to Him because He gave everything for you at the cross!