Simply engaging a person in conversation about their church background, or talking with them about their experience of God will open them to the Spirit’s influence. The result of these simple conversations is that we have an opportunity to discuss the things that matter to us and that grow out of our own experiences. This low key/low profile approach is understandable and attainable for people.
For example, I was golfing recently with one of my friends, who describes himself as an ungodly man. I said, “You’ve been coming to church for some time. Do you feel like you’re getting closer to God?” He said, “Yeah, I am. I can’t believe it.” It’s that kind of easy conversation that I’m describing.
I talked with another man and said, “You say you’re an agnostic and yet you’re in church almost every Sunday. Tell me what’s going on; why are you there?” He said, “Because I’m hoping there is a God.”
These conversations are casual and yet very meaningful. As we interject these comments or questions, we are talking to people about the Lord.
As we grow in our understanding of evangelism, one of the best things we can do is examine the life of John the Baptist, particularly because John talked about Jesus. He announced Jesus in advance of his coming. That is a good share of what we do when we evangelize or when we witness. We are to prepare the person in advance for their coming to know Jesus. We are to announce that Jesus is here among us, and that he is One to whom we should listen. As we do, we affirm the person of Jesus.
Another reason that John the Baptist is such a good picture of the Christian witness is because he said, “I must decrease and he (meaning Jesus) must increase.” Frequently, our difficulties in evangelism arise from our own fear. We are unsure; we don’t want to do the wrong thing. Consequently, we have made evangelism about us. In fact, the focus should be just the opposite: it should be upon the person of Jesus. John the Baptist gives us a wonderful blueprint for evangelism.
LYLE POINTER serves as senior pastor of Blue Springs, MO, Church of the Nazarene Note: This is an edited transcript of a video interview with Lyle. View the unedited segment here.