In Chapter 6 of Mitch Triestman’s book “To the Jew First” he discusses the tactics of evangelism. This is an important part of reaching people. There is nothing worse than bad evangelism. He mentions that there are essentially three ways Christians evangelize. There is the “witnessing-as-you-go” tactic where the situation determines the evangelism and one can find the opportunities to reach out in everyday life. The second is going out to witness. This type of evangelism generally involves groups of people working together in ministry to reach out to people. There is a lot of planning and organization involved, as well as a plan. The third way he mentions is not doing either. This is a failure of epic proportions. We as Christians have been given a light to share, not to hide. This type of evangelism is when a person sees the opportunity to reach out, and looks away. This is, in my opinion, one of the most deplorable things in the world. Ask anyone, saved or not, if they would save a person from a burning building if they could, and almost everyone would say yes. Why then would a Christian see a person that is in danger of being stuck in that burning building for eternity and not come to their aide? Triestman says that after so many years of so many Christians involving themselves in option three, the best thing to do is to be aggressive and to the other two simultaneously. There is a lot of work involved with either. The first thing that I thought of when looking at the costs of both was that, the witness as you go technique requires an extreme amount of accountability. There is no one telling you to do it, it’s your faith that allows you to feel it. You don’t really get any time off, since, you never know when there is someone watching and learning from your actions. As a Christian, it is important to always subject yourself to the will of God, but when you are an active witness, there is a completely different feeling about you. You are living the example of Christ…all the time. You can’t have a bumper sticker that says “Honk if you love Jesus” and then behave rudely when someone behind you honks. The same goes for a person who has defined themselves as Christian. Everyone will know it, especially in smaller towns where communities are tight-knit and everyone knows everyone else. If you are inconsistent in the roll of Christian, everyone will also know that. A Christian will need to respond to anger with love for their witness and that is also a demand on the mind and heart. Wherever God is, Satan wishes to be. If God’s working in your life, expect challenges and struggles to be produced for you by the deceiver and destroyer. If you are reaching a lot of people in your community with little tiny bits of witness, there is a strong possibility that you’ll have a bad day and be irritable the next time there is an opportunity. There is only one sure-fire defense against the enemy. Prayer must be constant. Pray for protection and vision. Pray for the right words to say and the right verses to read. Pray for the right prayers to pray. There is a never ending cycle of prayer for witnessing as you go. For the go and witness portion, there is also a long list of prayers and ways to witness. Everything from pamphlet and tract distribution, to meeting for prayer and phone ministry. In each of these there is a strong need for many different talents and passions. What is a good tract without a good person with an inviting personality to hand it out. What’s a good speaker without the right material, what use is the good material if there is only a limited supply? Every single ministry, outreach or encounter should start with prayer. There is no other way to be successful. If you are handing out tracts, pray for a receptive crowd, and protection while on the street corners and boardwalks. If you are visiting shops or homes, pray for safety and reception. Pray for a good voice and good weather. There is nothing that one should not pray for in the process and prayer should come easily in the field. At a prayer meeting, make sure to pray for a good crowd, a good message and pray for the words to say. At a meeting pray especially for everyone present that they can receive blessing from the prayer that they receive. Pray until you feel silly, then pray some more. I cannot stress the importance of prayer in my own life. Prayer has kept a roof over my head (Literally), has lead me through school thus far, has lead me into a successful relationship with my fiancée and kept me safe through surgery and travel and everything else imaginable. Never underestimate the power you can wield with a simple prayer. Triestman goes into a lot of the details of each of the different types of outreach and in order to do it justice, I would need to quote large swaths of his literature. If you are personally interested in anything from this chapter, or from any part of his book, I would be happy to arrange a copy for you!
So, what types of prayer are important to you in your witness? What is your specific request when preparing to evangelize? Are there any suggestions for starting a ministry? Do you need encouragement to start evangelizing? Post your questions or comments!