Some of us remember a time when we were trained in a style of evangelism that was technique-driven and, at times, even gimmick-filled, to “get the job done.” This style of evangelism (while okay for a gifted few) tended to produce a we/they mentality that often put believers in the role of salesman and nonbelievers in the role of the “prey” (this is at least some people’s experience). It’s like fishing with a bare hook, the only goal being to snag something.
I’ll be the first to say that God sometimes uses spontaneous and random connections with people to both expose people to Christ and to lead them to Christ. I’ve experienced that numerous times over the years. Most of the time, however, the spread of the Good News is a relational dialogue that involves trust building and spreading the aroma of Jesus over and above techniques and good apologetics.
Check out this story.
Jesus spoke to the disciples saying, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break (Luke 5:4-6).
Even Jesus’ disciples found themselves fishing on the wrong side of the boat at times!
As you’ll see in the upcoming blog series I’ll be using illustrations from fly fishing (particularly insights from creating fishing flies) to illustrate how we can help our friends come to faith. The style of gospel-spreading that Jesus exemplified was much more than bare hook evangelism.
What has been your experience with evangelism? What was it that made it a positive experience? What made it negative?