Sunday, June 04, 2017

Evangelism - Examples - No 4

Evangelism – How (No 4)

Outreach – spreading the net wider

In the previous articles in this series I have concentrated on gospel outreach that is linked to the local church. This article however focuses on outreach that is of a more individual nature. In light of this please remember the biblical aims of gospel work:

  1. To glorify God (2.Cor.4.1-7)
  2. To see souls saved (1.Cor.1.21/Acts.5.14)
  3. To see souls meeting with Christians in a local assembly (Acts.2.41/Acts.9.26-28)
It never was or is the Lord’s intention to see people saved but not in fellowship in a local church. Therefore outreach whether individual or corporate (local assembly based) works towards these basic aims. Now let’s focus on some examples.

Street Meetings - more commonly known as Open Air Work

I personally love going out and about with the gospel. There is nothing better than getting in front of people with the truth of the gospel. It needs to be done prayerfully, courteously, truthfully and regularly with the help and guidance of the Lord. The following are some things that we do in our ‘Street Work’; others may have more effective suggestions to make.

Location, Location, Location!

As many know this is the maxim of many a business venture but it is equally true as we plan to preach the word. Find a good location. There is no point in preaching to houses or blocks of flats which are soundproofed by double glazing and internally erupting with sound from televisions and sound systems. Nowadays people in the streets will often have earphones in but at least they have the choice to stop and listen. Also, if as we suggest you have display boards up, they can read gospel verses as they pass by.

Display Boards

Display boards create a focal point for the preacher and for the audience. If preaching in a town centre I like any fellow workers to face me as this allows any interested parties to stand behind them without feeling too conspicuous. Items on the board should be well prepared and professional as we are constantly making an impression on our audience about how seriously we take the message. Clear verses of scripture are ideal as are statements of truth that hopefully will stimulate a thoughtful response from the audience. Often the response is not what you would want but the Lord is often speaking to people especially when kicking against his promptings. Many do stop and read what is on the boards and remember we believe from Psalm 119.130 – “The entrance of thy words giveth light”. Another seed sown!

It is important that the literature that we give out explains the gospel simply and grasps and holds the attention of the reader. Ultimately this cannot be achieved without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit of God. Just as a preacher is responsible to ‘preach the word’ (2.Tim.4.3) and to explain truth in words that are ‘easy to be understood’ (1.Cor.14.9) so the person who is writing a tract should seek to make the message easy to grasp.

We have found that it is beneficial to preach in the same place at the same time on a regular basis. This means that if people are seeking salvation they know where you can be found.

In our experience preaching should be simple, clear, to the point and relevant to the generation we are addressing. Paul when preaching on Mars Hill (Acts 17) took a completely different approach to when he was addressing a group of Jewish people in Acts 28.23. The Lord Jesus did the same. When talking to the woman of Samaria in John 4 his starting point was different to when he was talking to Nicodemus in John 3. We need wisdom to understand what people understand and to start at their level and take them to understand the truth of the gospel in terms that they can grasp. Preparation, practice and the power of the Spirit of God is clearly needed to be effective as we evangelize.

Internet based outreach

This is an area where there is great potential to reach people. If you are going to do this you need to do it properly and consistently. You cannot afford to start well and then over time let it fade away. I do not claim to be as good at it as I would like to be but I am learning over time. I am simply going to describe what I do which may not be something that you would be comfortable doing.

Each week I prepare a written gospel article (called a blog), I record an audio gospel message (called a podcast) and a video gospel message (called a vblog). The idea is that as the current generation uses the Internet to get most of their information that we should make the gospel readily available to them by this medium as well. If you search the Internet there are many Christians and Christian organizations that are doing this, so my contribution is just a small part of a bigger picture. If you do your research properly you can make sure that you contact people who live in your locality. So this is not just about putting the message out on the World Wide Web but about tailoring your contacts to reach people in your area.

I currently have a contact base in excess of 2000 people and I know that to date over 15,000 people have accessed one of the three items I put out on the web. Many of my 2000 contacts pass on to their contacts my invite to watch, listen or read which is why the numbers being reached are significantly higher than my contact base. Details of where to access the items are also on the back of all our literature given out on the streets.

This work demands discipline to prepare the messages on a weekly basis, do it within the correct timescales and to be relevant and still biblical in the presentation of the gospel. As with many forms of outreach it is difficult to determine any level of success so we work on the same principle of gospel work – our job is to sow the seed of the word of God, the reaping and saving is in the hands of our Lord and Master.

Letters to local newspapers

For a long time now I have had a burden to write in local newspapers as a medium for spreading the gospel. Newspapers are still widely read and despite the rise of electronic media they continue to be a major communication tool in our society.

As you will no doubt imagine most newspaper editors in our country have very little inclination to give a regular column to someone pushing the message of the Bible. I have therefore resorted to writing letters to newspapers picking up on current issues of the day and mixing in scripture and the gospel. One of the things you quickly learn is mix your message in with your topical issue of the day. If you don’t the editor will print the topical bit and leave out the biblical bit – they don’t usually want the bible part but that is our reason for writing. Another tip is find out the name of the editor in charge of letters and send them your letter by email in the late evening or early morning (1 am!) as this is the time when you they are deciding what to include in the next days paper.

Another way to get into a local or free newspaper is to buy advertising space and to write a message alongside an announcement of some form of gospel outreach. You might think that this is expensive at first glance but have a look at the costs. These publications end up in 15/20,000 homes in most areas. Putting a leaflet into every home will cost you a lot more and take a lot more effort than one advert every 3 or 4 months. I know one assembly who are using this approach and have seen people coming along to their hall as a result. To do this properly you need to buy half a page of space, get someone to design the page well and someone to write a good concise and informative piece explaining the gospel.

Outreach to business people and the wealthy

One of my interests was to contact people in the business community. I personally have a lot of contacts in the business community from my work life and I wanted to keep in touch and bring the gospel to them. This linked in initially with my Internet outreach as many business people keep in touch and contact each other through networking sites. So each week I post a link to the various gospel messages that put out on the Internet so that these business people can access them.

Secondly, with the help of another believer, we have written to the top 100 business people in the North West of England and we have for three years written to everyone who appears on ‘The Times Rich List”. This has evoked quite a good response with a number of people replying to the letter by phone or e-mail and at least one man accessing the Internet based gospel messages.


There are so many ways to reach people with the gospel but without the power of God none of it will be effective. SO water your outreach with prayer and seek guidance for everything that you do.

May God bless His word in your hands.

Radio Outreach

Business Meetings and Networking Events

Community Hall Based Gospel and Bible Teaching

Home Bible Studies

Outreach at Football Matches

This example of outreach at football matches might simply work with you going to the area where a match is taking place and giving out leaflets or preaching to the crowds. In our case the outreach is linked to an assembly, as the assembly premises are located en-route to a Football Stadium. We put up tables, serve tea, coffee and soup on cold days. We give our sweets to children and permit fans to use the toilet facilities in the hall. Thousands of tracts are distributed and many people come and chat as they have become accustomed to what we are doing.

Book Stalls – Literature and Gospel CD’s

If you are going to get involved in this form of outreach I feel that you have to be prepared to be in it for the long run. A table or a stand in a shopping mall or precinct is a good way to get to know people and to build up a profile in an area. At Christmas some assemblies in Belfast set up a table in an indoor shopping area, served Christmas pies and gave out calendars. What a good idea – getting the word of God in the hands of people.

Some people have set up a market stall and man it every week. They make lots of contacts and people take literature and often engage in conversation.

Just remember to get the right permission and to get the right people to run the stall, not Mr. Grumpy, as you are trying to win souls not chase them away.

School based work

Many assemblies and individuals are involved in this type of work and so very little comment is needed. The links created by going into schools is invaluable. It brings credibility to the gospel when working in an area and it facilitates the presentation of the gospel to adults and children. Only one school has not asked me back and I have never been asked to tone down my message.

Thankfully to date I have been able to present the gospel in courteous and yet honest biblical terms.

As was stated in the introduction, some of the examples on this list could be used in conjunction with a local assembly. While the ultimate aim is to see people saved and added to a local assembly most of these forms of outreach are usually carried out by individuals working on their own.

May we develop a vision for the spread of the gospel and be sensitive to Lord’s guidance and practical about the opportunities that exist to spread and preach the word.


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