Seven evangelistic profiles in Scripture

evangelistic stylesSociety often stereotypes evangelists as people who scream at the top of their lungs on some street corner frantically warning those who pass by of hellfire, beating their Bible and needlessly irritating unbelievers. Many believers sincerely reject evangelism because they do not feel comfortable with such a style and such rejection represents a great loss for the church. There are as many styles of evangelism as there are evangelists. For a world as varied as ours with different cultures, personalities, social positions and levels of education, God has also prepared an army of evangelists with different styles. We do not have to transform ourselves into something that God has not made us to be in order to become evangelists. However, we do need power, anointing, prayer, holiness and dependence on God. We can receive all of these things however, just by being ourselves.

The confronting style of Peter

Some people are naturally confronting and “in your face”. While such a style may make some people uncomfortable, others need this directness in order to respond properly to the message. Peter, the impulsive and outspoken disciple of Christ falls directly in this style of communication. God powerfully used Peter in the spreading of the gospel in the early days of the church and will continue to use people who naturally communicate in this confrontational and unapologetic style. In the first chapters of the book of Acts, we can see how God specifically tailored Peter’s style of sharing the gospel to the initial circumstances surrounding the preaching of the gospel in Jerusalem.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36-38)

The intellectual style of Paul

Some people naturally communicate on the intellectual level. Here again not all people respond favourably to such as style yet obviously it has its place since God worked powerfully through Paul in the great gentile cultural centres of his day. If Peter had preached in the circumstances and cultural context in which Paul ministered, we can reasonably predict that he would not have even a fraction of the success. Of course, we must depend on the enabling of the Holy Spirit but we must also recognize that the power of the Spirit will not always operate outside of people’s natural communication styles.

For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: (Acts 17:23)

Some people needed a more persuasive and academic presentation of the gospel and simply will not tolerate any kind of confrontation. God through his Holy Spirit reveals his tremendous grace and mercy by providing ministers of the gospel who he has specially tailored to the preference of his hearers. The church must use the wisdom from above to discern the proper style that each circumstance requires.

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.“ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. (Acts 17:2-4)

The blind man’s testimonial style

The use of personal testimonies is yet another communication style that the Lord of the Harvest has prepared in his arsenal. It would be good if each believer would write down his or her testimony of conversion experiences so that he or she can present it with clarity and objectivity. This evangelistic style is so powerful because almost no theological knowledge or ability is necessary and most people cannot argue against or dispute concrete experience. The blind man who had his sight restored may not have been able to effectively debate his detractors but in the end, all he had to do was point to the results of his experience and was able to effectively silence their opposition to his message. How do you argue against the miracle of a transformed life?

So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:24, 25)

The sharing style of faith of the delivered demoniac

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mark 5:18-19)

The majority of us do not feel qualified to approach a stranger with a gospel presentation, but we are able to target relatives with prayer and fasting and afterword show them how the love of God has change our life.

The interpersonal style of Matthew

Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. (Luke 5:29)

Matthew was a tax collector and as such had many friends. He certainly was a very prosperous man. Matthew did not intellectually confront or challenge his friends; he merely developed friendships among them. He invited them to go to his house. He wanted to influence them and all the Lord required of him was to simply draw people to Jesus.

The invitational style of the Samaritan woman

The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (John 4:28-30)

Many people are neither confrontational nor intellectual, neither do they possess a dramatic testimony to share and they are not particularly popular, they can however invite people to come to church meetings.

The serving style of Dorcas

Dorcas probably never preached a sermon like Paul or Peter and perhaps never had a dramatic testimony to share however, through her deeds of goodwill; she attracted many people to Christ.

At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. (Acts 9:36)

God is willing to act powerfully through your life and words no matter which communication style that pertains to your life. He has tailored your personality and life experiences to attract others to Christ supernaturally. You can start today, really! Go for it! If you initiate contact with someone, He will show himself strong on behalf of your cause as you make your cause his cause.