How the Layman Evangelist
approaches the perfect stranger will determine whether he has an
open door or not. The battle for the soul starts in the mind of man.
What the Christian witness says and how he says it in the first few
seconds of conversation opens the door to an opportunity to share
the Gospel or closes it.
As soon as the person begins to approach the
individual, Satan is already planting suggestions into the personís
mind. The wording is very important. When I approach a stranger to
share the Gospel with him I say instantly and without hesitation:
Hi! My name is Dale. I am out today taking a
survey on this book titled What Is Eternal Life? (While
holding the booklet out facing them). I wondered if I could take a
few minutes of your time and get your honest reaction to it?
You should memorize this introduction word for
word and practice it in front of the mirror until you have it down
You would not want to say,
Hi! My name is Dale. I am out today taking a
survey on What Is Eternal Life?. . .
This sentence has left out the phrase this
book titled. Stated this way it assumes that the person knows
what the book is all about. When you approach the person this way,
you imply to the person that he should already know what eternal
life is. If he supposedly already knows what eternal life is, and he
wants you to think that, then his answer will be "No thanks!"
Stating this book rather than offending the personís ego
creates curiosity about what the book says about eternal life.
Before he realizes what he has gotten himself into, out of curiosity
he responds, "Yes!"
In the second sentence, you would not want to say
I wondered if I could take a few minutes of
your time and share "What Is Eternal Life?" with you?
This puts the person below you. You are teaching
him. Most peopleís ego will not respond positively to this. They are
thinking, "What makes him think I have a need for him to share what
Eternal Life is with me? I am a religious person!" Saying "I
wondered if I could take ten minutes of your time and get your
reaction to it?" again appeals to the personís ego. You are
not just asking his or her permission to share the booklet with
them, but also the personís intelligent critical reaction positive
or negative to the message of the book. This puts the person above
you, not below you. They will be more than happy to give you their
reaction to your presentation.
If the person says yes, it is he who has given
you permission to take a few minutes of their time. His conscience
will not let him back out of it no matter how much he may dislike it
because it was his decision, not yours. Seldom ever has anyone
stopped me once they have committed themselves to hear the
This approach is important for several different
reasons: Jesus respects manís free will. This type of approach is
taking into consideration the free will of man. Therefore if the
person says yes, even though he may not like what he has gotten
himself into, he knows in his heart it was not forced upon him, that
he made a free will decision to give you a few minutes of his time,
so he will suffer through it. Even if the person gives
a negative response in the end, you will leave him with a good
witness because you considered his person and he knows it. This
approach will not leave a bad taste in the personís mouth.
The next thing that is important in your
initially approaching a total stranger is how you deliver your
opening statement. While teaching Evangelism in Bible College, I had
a student who had gone through my Basic Program of Evangelism and
was half way through my Advanced Program of Evangelism, but who had
not yet even gotten a person to let him give the presentation let
alone see a person receive Jesus. Because he was with me much of the
time on the field, I knew what his problem was. His problem was his
attitude. When he would approach someone about the Gospel, his
conversation would go something like this:
Student: A, Hi! A, a. I am taking a
survey, a, on a this booklet, a, What Is Eternal Life? You do
want to hear what it is about donít you?
Stranger: No thank You?
What is wrong with this approach? The person is
sitting there thinking to himself,
Oh brother! Someone out preaching religion out
of a guilt complex. He is obviously doing this out of religious duty
because he is being pushed into it, not out of inner conviction or
belief, otherwise he would not be so timid. "Forget it Jack. Go
The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 10:4,
"If the rulerís temper rises against you, do not
abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses."
You see the problem with the above
approach is that first, it leaves too much time for the person to
think about what to say and for Satan to add his own negative
encouragement through thought suggestion. Second, the person does
not sound like he really knows what he is talking about or believes
in what he is talking about. A bold positive straight forward
approach does. If you say it clearly, straight forward, not too
fast, but all at once, before the person has a chance to think, out
of courtesy he says, "Sure! Go for it." Jesus said in Matthew 10:16,
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of
wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves."
Our struggle is not just against the person we
are sharing with, but against the Devil himself. It is the devil we
are trying to out wit, not the poor unsuspecting mind of the person
we are sharing with. Therefore we have to be bold and straight
forward and get that commitment of yes before the person has time to
think and before Satan has time to throw in his negative thoughts
into the personís mind and the person comes to realize what he is
getting himself into and says, "No!"
After coaching this Student, the next time we
went out on the field, he approached the person as stated above. The
end result was not only did the person listen to his presentation of
the Gospel, but he ended up praying with the person to receive Jesus
into his heart and this Student got to see a person come to know
Jesus personally for the first time through his influence. This
Student learned that how he approaches people initially is just as
important as the message he has to share.
DOOR TO DOOR
If you are doing door to door Evangelism in the homes of people you have made
previous appointments with, after entering the home visit with them for a few
minutes and then ask them if they will allow you to take them through the Community
Religious Survey (< pdf file for
printing). The Survey is designed to give you information
about the person you will be sharing the Gospel with to do the following:
First, to give you clear information about what the personís spiritual
hang-ups are to Jesus and the Gospel and the Church.
Second, what is hindering them from releasing their faith in the Gospel.
Third, what they believe Salvation is centered in so you can know how to
personalize your presentation of the Gospel to them in a way that will show them
first, what is wrong with their position and why Jesus and Jesus only is the
answer to their Salvation and needs.
When you have completed going through the first 9 questions of the
survey, if they have given a response of yes to question 9, say and do the
This completes the survey. Thank You very much for your honest reaction to
the questions. The purpose of the Survey is to help us better understand the
spiritual needs of our community so that we can know how to better serve and
meet the spiritual needs of our community. For this reason we highly value the
answers you have given to us in the Survey.
This is not part of the Survey, but in response to your answer of
"Yes!" to question 9, we do have a ten minute presentation which
explains how to know for certain that you will go to heaven and have eternal
life. May we take a few more minutes of your time and share it with you?
If they say yes, then take them through the tract What Is Eternal Life?
If, however, they say no to question 9, say the first paragraph above to them
and attempt to give them some literature on salvation like my pamphlet, Understanding
Your Salvation In Jesus or What the Bible Teaches About God, Man
& the Universe or Heaven & Hell An Absolute Reality
or The Bible Godís Word Absolutely by saying the following:
Again, thank you for your time. May we give you one of our books free for
If they say yes, then give them one or more of these books. If they say no
thank you, then say in response:
Thank you again for your time and response. Have a good day.
Never try to force the Gospel or books on them. Your respecting their wishes
will do more to bring them to Christ than any attempt to force the Gospel on
them against their will.
If you are going through a neighborhood with no previous planned appointment
over the phone, when they answer their door say the following:
Hi! My name is __________. We are in the Neighborhood taking a Community
Religious Survey (< pdf file for
printing) and we wondered if we could take a
few minutes of your time to get your honest reaction to some questions?
If they say "Yes!" take them through the survey. When you complete
question 9, follow the same procedures as outlined above.
If they saw "No!" to the survey altogether, thank them anyway and
AND WHO NOT TO APPROACH
OUT ON THE STREETS
A while ago I was with a co-worker on the field.
Normally, if a co-worker begins to do something which is not
Biblically ethical, I will politely interject to save the situation,
but in this particular situation, I was sharing a Salvation Tract
myself with someone else while he was sharing with this man. I was
able to over hear the conversation that went on and so I would like
to share it with you to show you what is wrong with it and to share
with you how he could have more properly handled it.
My co-worker was about a fourth of the way
through the Salvation Tract he was using when the teenagerís mother
walked up and said they needed to go. The co-worker, we will call
Philip, said to the lady, "I just need three more minutes and I will
be done!" The mother impatiently walked off. A few minutes later the
mother walked up a second time and said to her son, "We need to go
now!" Philip responded a second time, "I just need one more minute."
The mother begrudgingly, not wanting to be rude, stepped back and
gave Philip the minute. Philip rushed through the prayer, gave the
Salvation Tract to the teenager and they left.
How should Philip have handled this situation?
Normally speaking I discourage talking to children because if there
are children, then there are parents near by and parents are rightly
responsible and protective of any strangers talking to their
children. The parent does not know what your intentions are. Our
goal is to share the love of Jesus Christ without bringing a
reproach against the Gospel. Nothing positive can come out of this
kind of situation because of the parents control over the child.
Whatever positive intention you might try to have would be destroyed
by the parents attitude and authority over the child. So it is best
not to try and talk with children. What you should do instead is
attempt to share the Gospel with the parents. If they give their
permission, while sharing the Gospel with them, the children will
hear the Gospel also. Because the parent said yes, the child will
believe hearing this message is right. The end result will be that
the child hears the Gospel in a positive atmosphere which will in
turn encourage the child to also make this decision for Jesus. By
winning the parent to Jesus, you indirectly also win the child for
In the case of this situation with Philip, the
person was a teenager sitting by himself with no evidence of parents
being anywhere around. In this case, if the person is a teenager, I
see no problem in approaching them to share the Gospel with them, so
Philip wasnít doing anything wrong initially. Even if the parent
walked up and showed no annoyance, I would go ahead and finish the
presentation because the parent would benefit as well.
If, however, the parent walks up, like in this
situation, and shows annoyance and tells the child they need to go,
the best thing to do is to let the child go. Hand them the book,
thank them for their time and let them go. In doing this, even
though you may not have finished explaining what it means to be a
Christian and how to become one (the goal of evangelism), you have
left a good witness and taste in their mouths by showing politeness
and respect for the parentís authority and wishes over the child. To
resist the parentís authority and wishes over their child would show
that you have no respect for the parentís authority over their
child. The end result would be that the parent would scold the
child. This could result in the child rejecting what you had to
share all together.
Secondly, if the parent is also not a Christian,
you have left a bad witness to the parent. By resisting the parent
you are telling the parent that to be a Christian or for her child
to get involved in Christianity would mean that, that child would be
influenced to disregard the parents wishes and authority over the
child. The end result would be that you would not only lose your
possible influence over the child, but the parent would be all the
more closed to considering the Gospel themselves. If, however, you
show regard for the parentís authority over their child, this will
leave a good taste in their mouths that they will not forget. They
will probably also read the Gospel tract you left with them out of
curiosity because of the respect you showed for them as a parent.
As Christians we must remember that we cannot
save anyone. Only Jesus through the Holy Spirit can bring a person
to Himself. We are simply the messengers of the truth of the Gospel
to others. The Holy Spirit does not work in a vacuum. He works in
the hearts of men according to what they know. This is why we as
Christians need to go out and sow the seed of the Word of God in
menís hearts so the Holy Spirit has something to work with. At the
same time, we should never be frustrated if in presenting the Gospel
we are suddenly cut off. It is not our problem. God is faithful and
will reach that person again at another opportune time. When we
respond politely to a person saying no to our sharing with them or
in respecting the wishes of a parent, this is also something that
the Holy Spirit can use in influencing the child as well as the
parent in bringing them to Christ. It will keep them open to hear
the Gospel at another more opportune time because of the influence
of your kindness, love and respect toward the person or parentís
How we respond to the personís free will
prerogative is as much a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as
successfully giving the full presentation. You have left a good
taste in their mouths that will influence how positively they
respond to someone elseís attempt to present the Gospel to them when
they really have the time to hear the whole message.
When Philip resisted the mother a second time, he
gave her strong incentive in the future to turn down anyone
approaching her personally about the Gospel since he showed a total
disregard for her wishes and parental authority. She experienced
nothing that should encourage her to do otherwise. Philip also put a
false light on the message of Christianity. The end result is that
not only did he turn her off to considering the Gospel but he
grieved the Holy Spirit as well. It is not our responsibility to
make sure a person hears the Gospel whether they want to or not and
make sure they receive Jesus whether they want to or not, or make
sure that a parent fulfills their responsibility to make sure their
child hears the Gospel. Our responsibility is to share what it means
to be a Christian and how to become one in love to someone who has
willingly given us permission to do so. It is Jesusí responsibility
to bring the person to the place of being willing to hear what you
have to say and to positively respond to the message.
The Apostle Paul states that we are to preach the
truth in love (Eph 4:15). Love in this context means respecting the
freedom of choice of the individual as to whether he wants to hear
the Gospel or not, or respecting the authority and wishes of a
parent over their child.
TO DEAL WITH
I have shared the Gospel for thirty-four years
and I can honestly tell you that in that time only a handful of
times have I been hindered from sharing the Gospel through outside
opposition. The bible is plain that we will be opposed in sharing
the Gospel with men and as our society moves further and further
away from God, that opposition will become stronger and stronger.
What I want to share with you here is how to deal
with and respond to this opposition when it comes. What I am going
to share is from personal experience and as a result of much prayer,
what I believe has been the Lordís instruction to me on the matter.
Jesus said, "For whoever wishes to save his soul
shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul for My sake shall find
it." A year after I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, my earthly
father told me not to share the Gospel with my brothers in the home.
I lived in his home. I told my father I could not make this promise,
that if I did I would not be disobeying him but God. Two weeks later
my younger brother asked me to talk with him about Jesus. I did. he
prayed and received Christ. A week later my father asked me to make
a choice between Christianity and the comforts of home. I moved out.
If you want to bring men and women to Jesus, you must be willing to
accept the consequences of doing so. Satan does not take lightly our
pulling his subjects out of his kingdom and transferring them to
Jesusí kingdom. He will do what he can to hurt you when you lead
people to Jesus. I could not obey my Fatherís request to not share
Jesus with my relatives, but I did have to submit to the
consequences if I continued to do so.
I have found much fruitfulness in sharing the
Gospel with people in indoor malls. They usually are sitting on
benches or leaning against rails while waiting for their wives. They
welcome any distraction. As a result I have led many men to Christ
this way. I have only been opposed three times in 34 years by
security while witnessing in indoor malls. What do You do when this
happens? You are on private property, you handle it the same way you
would handle knocking on someoneís door. You respect their wishes
and leave if asked to do so. Wait a few months and try again.
Security changes guards very quickly. I have done this and had no
problem continuing sharing the Gospel.
What do you do if your boss tells you that you
cannot share the Gospel with other employees? Assuming it is not
because you are doing it on company time or in hindrance to your
work, you tell him you cannot do that, that to do that would be to
disobey the Lord, that you are not ashamed of Jesus or His gospel;
then be willing to accept the consequences. I have lost many jobs
over this issue. Jesus said, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My
words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will
also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with
the holy angels." (Mark 8:38). Your allegiance is to Jesus first,
your job second. Jesus is Your source, not your job. Lose the job or
you will lose your soul. Read Matthew 16:24-27.
If you are opposed in public places such as parks
or outdoor malls, be willing to accept the consequences of the
opposition. If removed, go back later. Public Property is fair game.
Jesus said: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in
the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents and innocent as
doves" (Matt 10:16). What is Jesusí point? Unless the Lord, like in
some of the cases of Paul in Acts, leads you to do otherwise, our
objective is not to fight or argue with the opposition or to make a
point but to share the love of Jesus Christ with men. You will have
to deal with each situation individually as the Holy Spirit leads
you. Once when opposed at an indoor mall, I simply turned and said
to the security guard, "Sir, did you know that Jesus loves you and
has wonderful plan for your life. . ." and proceeded to share the
Gospel with him. The end result was that it disarmed and frustrated
him and he left. Jesus said to love your enemies and do good to
those who persecute you (Luke 6:20-38, Rom 12:17-21).
What do I do when someone responds negatively to the presentation of
Respond in the following way, "Thank you anyway. May I leave a copy
of this with you (Salvation Tract) to read on your own?"
Ninety-eight percent of the time the person will say "Yes." You
never want to try and force yourself on anyone. How you respond to a
"No!" is just as much a witness of your faith as to what you say
about your faith. Even though the person may say no, because you
thanked him anyway and showed respect for the freedom of choice God
gave Him, you will leave him with a good taste in his mouth. He will
know that you respected his free will and this will do more to
motivate him to hear the Gospel the next time someone approaches
him. Also, because you considered his person and free will he will
be more motivated to read the booklet you left him because it will
have been his choice, not forced upon him. He will want to know what
kind of beliefs you have that teaches you to respect and treat
politely his wishes concerning your even trying to witness the
Gospel to him.
What do I do when someone is argumentative about religion?
You never want to argue with someone. First of all, you cannot
reason with rebellion. People who are argumentative are not looking
for answers. They are looking for excuses. They are simply trying to
feed their egos and put you down. What you need to do is discern
between what are legitimate hang-ups to the Gospel and just smoke
screens to get you off track. This kind of discernment only comes
about through repeated experience of sharing the Gospel on the
field. If you discern that the statement the person is making is a
genuine intellectual hang-up to their being able to release their
faith in the Gospel, then certainly you want to take the time to
answer their questions, but in love of course.
The way to tell whether a person is simply
arguing with you and not really making inquiry of why we believe
what we believe is how he initially responds to your answers. If the
person argues with you no matter what you say, he is not looking for
an answer but is just making excuses for rejecting the Gospel, not
whether he believes it is true or not. If the personís inquiry is
genuine, when you give him a legitimate answer, he will give a
response of "Oh! I did not know that. Do you have any more
information on this you could give me?" This is a person who has
genuine things in his heart that are blocking him from releasing his
faith. This is what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
when he comments about Strongholds of the mind. If a person has
genuine hang-ups about the Gospel, he will not be able to release
his faith until he finds the answers to his questions. But if the
person just keeps arguing with you despite the facts, that person
does not have genuine hang-ups about the Gospel, he has a willful
moral problem. He does not want to believe no matter what the facts
This is one of the reasons I am sold on using a
tool like the Salvation Tract, What Is Eternal Life?
It gives you the ability to stay focused on Jesus and their need of
Jesus and not get side tracked to other non-relevant issues that
might be brought up to try and distract from the message of the
Gospel. For example: I might have (and have had) the following
conversation with someone:
Pastor Kruse (PK): Second,
receiving Jesus as Lord means to repent of your sins. Paul wrote...
Potential Convert (PC): What about
those who never hear the Gospel? Are you saying they are all going
PK: Sir, I would really like to get
your reaction to this little booklet. Let me finish the presentation
and then I will be more than happy to take as much time as you like
to answer any questions you have.
When I have given this response to a smoke
screen, I have never had anyone say, "No! I want the answer now!"
They always say "Okay" and when I get to the two different kinds of
people, Self-Controlled and Christ-Controlled, when I ask them which
person represents their life, I do not get an argument of "I do not
believe in this stuff." I get without exception in this kind of
case, the person on the left, the self-controlled life. In some of
these cases I have seen the person say when asked which person he
wants to represent his life, "The one on the right,"
(Christ-Controlled). We pray the sinners prayer together and the
original questions that came up never come back up. In fact, I can
recall very few situations where the questions did come back up at
the end regardless of whether they responded positively to the
Gospel or not. This is because it was not the issue in the first
place. It was just a conscious or unconscious attempt to avoid the
message at hand. It was not a matter of belief or an intellectual
hang-up, but rather a Lordship problem. They are using what they
think are legitimate questions to resist the Lordship of Jesus over
their lives, not because they are hang-ups to their faith.
You must remember, we are not called to convince
people that the message of the Gospel is true. Jesus has simply
called us to share the message of the Gospel. When someone does ask
a legitimate question, then yes certainly you want to do whatever
you can to help them release their faith, but you never want to get
caught into the trap of arguing. Our goal in Evangelism is to
explain to a person what it means to be a Christian and how to
become one and then leave how they respond to that message
between them and God. Our goal is not to argue with them why
we believe what we believe.
It is okay to reason out your faith with others
if you choose to do so, but only after you have accomplished your
goal in Evangelism which is to explain to the person what it means
to be a Christian and how to become one. If you have accomplished
that, you have planted a seed in their hearts that the Holy Spirit
can now use successfully to bring the person to Jesus. This is
because the Word of God is
Godís Word is not just further knowledge that sits in oneís memory,
but is Spiritually-Alive and able with the power of the Holy Spirit
to bring a person to Salvation.
If after sharing the Gospel with the person, you
want to debate with them and convince them of your superior
intelligence, fine; but only after you have successfully shared with
them what it means to be a Christian and how to receive its saving
message and are sure they understand how. Once you have accomplished
though I am not encouraging you to argue, go
ahead and reason with them as far as you feel you are being led to
through the Holy Spirit. It is more important that you leave them
with a good taste in their mouth about you and the Gospel than that
you win an argument.
Bibliography & Notes
Section 5 Chapters