Some notes on personal evangelism

At a MTS Day last year, Bernard Cane from Good News Christian Church shared some provocative thoughts about outreach and the reasons why we aren’t me diligent in this area of church ministry (the audio and session notes can be found here).

In this brief article I would like to complement Bernard’s ideas about church-wide connection and promotion with some things I’ve heard, experienced or thought about personal efforts to share the gospel.

1. Look for those who are curious

I’ve noticed the uni students at Uni Fellowship of Christians often talk about this or that classmate who is ‘curious’ about Christianity, or praying that their friends might become more curious. It’s a interesting choice of words and a helpful one.

In Australia many people are either apathetic or hostile to religion and Christianity. We might be able to say a thing or two to prick this apathy or offsest this hostility. But being watchful and prayerful for those who are actually curious about philosophy, religion or Jesus can take the pressure off having to force the issue with those who are less open.

2. Extend invitations, make offers and give opportunities

There are different ways to think about using a public mission event, an evangelistic course or an apologetic book:

- With those I know well and who are curious, I can extend a sincere invitation that they would be my guest at this event. This is the kind of invitation where I actually seek a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and where I follow up closer to the time.

- With some who I suspect might be open, I might make an offer - this is a lighter kind of invitation. I put the idea before them without expecting a reply and I might not even follow up the invitation. 

- With those I hardly know at all, or who are hostile to Christianity I can be even more gentle still - I think of it as giving an opportunity for a conversation, giving an opportunity to investigate things. In this approach my tone of voice is almost apologetic, acknowledging that it’s a ‘big ask’ and they are welcome to shut it down.

Multiple approaches for multiple contexts help me do something rather than nothing, while also doing the best I appropriately can in any given situation.

3. Personal openness

Sharing the gospel is not just about waiting for theoretical discussions about the meaning of life. It is often sharing insights into our personal experience of being Christian and how it shapes our lives. It may even be sharing the unique challenges and frustrations that come with our faith.

Could I be more open about my life and faith? How might I offer more of myself and my spiritual life in everyday conversation? Am I trying to be too perfect, rather than being honest about the ups and downs of life?

4. Personal prayer and small group prayer

God hears and answers prayer. Since we deeply desire people to be saved we should ask him to make it happen! I have also found that personal and small group prayer for the non-Christian people in my life both makes me more attentive to the oppportunities that come up. And sharing these kinds of prayer points in small group also holds me accountable to make the most of these opportunities!

5. Deliberately make time for people

God made all human beings in his image, and he so loved the world that he sent his only son. And we are to love our brothers and sisters, do good to all and even love our enemies. And as we love people, more opportunities to share the gospel will come our way, because we are having more meaningful contact with people. 

This can express itself in lots of different ways, depending on lots of factors, some of these might be:

  • Don’t look at phone when collecting kids from school, taking lunch break or on the bus - instead make eye contact and be willing to strike up conversation.
  • Be frienldy and conversational with service staff at shops.
  • Look for opportunities to offer practical and emotional support to others, and be willing to accept the same in return.
  • Have drinks and snacks in the fridge, ready to invite people to stick around and chat.
  • Plan a night a week for hospitality.
  • When planning parties and outings, consider inviting those outside church and family circles.


None of these guarantee good opportunities to share the gospel, let alone open responses to the gospel. But they’re a good start, aren’t they? All the best with your prayerful efforts to make the most of every opportunity!

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