What follows is based on (‘inspired by’, if you like) this post by Mack Stiles.
1. We must have a biblical understanding of evangelism
It is all too easy to assume that we know what a biblical approach to evangelism would look like, while persisting in the delusion that the bare declaration that ‘God loves you’, or an invitation to follow three of four simple ‘steps’ will do the trick. We must severely critique both what our tradition says evangelism is, and also what our culture says it would like it to be.
2. Don’t confuse evangelism with other things
Telling the story of your own ‘faith journey’ is not evangelism. Explaining the teleological argument for the existence of God is not evangelism. Providing clean water for an African village is not evangelism. Such things may be very good – essential, even – and they may certainly support evangelism or emerge as the fruit of it. But they should not be confused with evangelism itself.
3. Teach the gospel
The gospel enters the heart through the mind. It cannot be articulated by mute actions. Not can it be understood through intuition alone. Throughout Acts, Paul was constantly ‘explaining’, ‘arguing’, and ‘disputing’ with his hearers. And in his letters he frequently refers to his work as a teaching ministry. Evangelists today must teach who God is, why and how we are by nature alienated from him, what Christ has achieved, and how men and women are to respond.
4. Teach, in order to persuade
Again, consider Paul’s ministry as recorded in Acts: he did not speak merely to instruct, but to persuade. And to do this we must listen to people, and seek to answer their objections. We must model gentle persistence, because eternal souls are at stake. We must strive for thorough conversion, a complete turnaround of the life. We must guard against false conversions, ‘which are the assisted suicide of the church’.
5. Embed personal evangelism in a culture of evangelism
One-to-one evangelism is good and necessary. But it flourishes best when the people of God are gospel-centred and gospel-focussed; when all are working together for the gospel; when the church lives and breathes a gospel climate.
6. Don’t rely on evangelistic programmes
If used at all, evangelist programmes should be used strategically and occasionally. To rely on them to do the work that the church should be doing on a daily and weekly basis is to substitute a sugar-laden diet for wholesome, balanced nutrition.
7. Make evangelism and a vibrant church life go hand in hand
Evangelism is not an ‘added extra’ to church life. It is a remarkable fact that the New Testament has very little to say about evangelism. But it has a great deal to say about church life. The clear implication is this: a healthy church not only must, but will display the gospel. We display it in our songs, in our sacraments, in our praying, and in our preaching. In other words, we display and proclaim the gospel simply by being the church. Such evangelism does not happen without intention or effort, but it does happen without artifice or manipulation.
8. Ensure that evangelism is underpinned by love and unity
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” A little later, he prayed for his disciples’ unity, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Love and unity together constitute evidence that we are truly Christ’s disciples, and are a powerful witness to a watching world.
9. Strengthen evangelism by nurturing godly actions and attitudes
See evangelism as a spiritual discipline. It does not just ‘happen’. We must be intentional about it. We need to be gospel-focused, gospel-driven people.
10. Model it
Evangelism is better ‘caught’ than ‘taught’. When church leaders model what it means to be ambassadors for the gospel their congregations will be much more likely to follow.