PERSONAL EVANGELISM

by Linda Hull

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." Proverbs 11:30

Copyright 2002 by Linda G. Hull, all rights reserved

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter 1...What Motivates A Soul Winner?

Chapter 2...Spiritual Preparation

Chapter 3...Terminology

Chapter 4...Methods of Evangelism: Using A Tract

Chapter 5...Methods of Evangelism: Calling

Chapter 6...Methods of Evangelism: Personal Visit

Chapter 7...Follow Up

Chapter 8...Servant Leaders: Personal Evangelism in the Church

Topical Studies

Linda's Words of Encouragement

Back to Words of Encouragement


Introduction

Have you ever wanted to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ but felt inadequate and uncomfortable?

To be effective in sharing the Gospel, there are some essential steps to learn:

  1. How to move into sharing the Gospel during a normal, everyday conversation.
  2. How to find out where the individual is spiritually: whether lost or saved.
  3. How to present the gospel.
  4. How to bring the individual to a life commitment.
  5. How to help the new convert relate to other believers.

This study will help you to bridge the gap between everyday polite conversation and moving into spiritual discussion. Learn the motivation behind soul winning as well as the techniques available to insure that your presentation is a success!

*All Scripture verses are taken from the King James Bible.


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Chapter 1: WHAT MOTIVATES A SOUL WINNER?

"Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." James 5:20

A soul winner is a laborer who shares the Gospel message of salvation to a lost person--someone who has not made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ. The message of salvation is not a popular one. Even Jesus Himself was put to the cross because His message was so despised. Others have also suffered and died for the cause of Christ, but the message of hope persists even today!

"They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy): they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." Hebrews 11: 37-38

What is it that constrains us to share the news of the wonderful gift of salvation that we have received? Why should we want to risk embarrassment, misunderstanding, ridicule, persecution, or maybe even death? Love! Lots of love! There are many who need to hear the message. Jesus paints a word picture in John 4:35-36, illustrating the many people who are ready to receive the Gospel message of salvation.

"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Life up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

I never truly understood why Jesus would say a field was white to harvest until I moved to the South. There, I was awed by the beauty of the cotton fields, white and ready for harvest, just as He had said! They stretched for miles. If I were to count each little, white cotton bole, that would not even number the multitudes who need to hear the message of salvation.

Those who are willing to tell the message of salvation are few. Many will excuse themselves from the task. Yet, if we read the Word, we will find every excuse nullified. The lost will not hear the message unless someone tells them. (Romans 10:13-17).

"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." Luke 10:2

Each believer is called to be a witness--a testifier of Jesus Christ. We have an obligation. Let's remember where we would be without God's grace, and the faithful witness of a believer. Think back to when you made your decision to accept Jesus. Do you remember who told you? Picture that person in your mind. Do you think it might have been difficult for that person to share with you? What was going through your mind as you listened? What if that person had decided not to share the Good News with you? Where would you be today? In Deuteronomy 6:7-9, we read of God's command to teach His truths diligently to our children and to teach them everywhere we go. With few exceptions, the Bible speaks of evangelism taking place on a regular basis in everyday lives, a concept known as "lifestyle evangelism."

The free gift of salvation brings hope, joy, peace, eternal life, freedom from guilt, shame, etc. We love our Savior, Jesus Christ, because He first loved us. He set us free from our bondage to sin! If you received a million dollars, and you knew someone who was really struggling--no job, no heat, kids crying from hunger, wouldn't you share your million dollars? Your compassion and love for your friend constrains you to share. So it is with us as believers. If we love Jesus, we will keep His commands and obey (John 14:15) the call of evangelism. If we love Jesus, we will be ready to sacrifice our time, our resources, and our very lives if He calls us to do so.

God equips us to do anything He has called us to. (1 Peter 4:10-11) Each believer has a personal testimony of what God has done. He has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us. The Holy Spirit teaches us and brings all things to our remembrance including appropriate Scriptures. (John 14:26) We are ordained by Jesus to go and share the message of salvation.

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." John 15:16

Each of us has a circle of friends and family, otherwise known as a "prospect" or potential receiver of salvation through Jesus Christ. You are the bridge between your prospect and Jesus Christ. Your personal testimony, lifestyle, and words influence others for or against Jesus. In today's society, we have technology capable of taking the gospel message all over the world by radio and television via satellite hookups. However, God still wants you and I to be available to share one on one. Many times, we may not have thought about why we are going or what we hope will be accomplished. Several possibilities present themselves:

A Pastor once wrote: "Commitment is costly and demanding, requiring careful focus and discretion. It is not what we are, but what we are willing to become." A commitment to being available to sharing God's Word is needed in order to reach people.

Is there anything you are totally committed to--something you would give your life for? I read that after one of his concerts, the great violinist Fritz Kreisler was approached backstage by someone who cried out, "Mr. Kreisler, I'd give my life to play as you do."

"Good," he replied, "that is exactly what it cost me!"

How committed are you to spending your life sharing the message of salvation with the unsaved?

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Chapter 2: SPIRITUAL PREPARATION

"That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you..." 1 Corinthians 1:5-6

One of the most important aspects of personal evangelism is the "spiritual readiness" of the witness. Many times our personalities lend themselves well to sharing the Gospel message of salvation without any real training. Our spiritual condition is often overlooked. In fact, the superficial illusion we create is so good that most people would never guess who we are on the inside. It is hypocritical to expect others to walk away from the old lifestyle and begin a new life in Christ through repentance and obedience, when we ourselves are fudging it. Our Lord wants to use us as vessels that are purged from sin.

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 2 Timothy 2:19-21

To be truly effective, one must go in the power of the Holy Spirit and in His timing. If I were in the CIA, I would think of the Holy Spirit as my "handler". I do nothing without consulting Him first! Sharing the Gospel message puts us on Satan's firing line. He doesn't want souls to be set free to hear the message of salvation, and to be rescued from his kingdom.

"Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:3-6

Some Pitfalls to Watch Out For!

Without spiritual preparation, We can easily fall into temptation and sin, making us ineffective. It is so important to walk closely with our Lord, living a consecrated, obedient life. We must always be watchful, never allowing Satan a chance to get an opening into our lives.

Sin can easily cause the witness to be discredited. We must not be caught in the trap of saying one thing, but living another. Sin is always the catalyst that ruins our witness. Many have succumbed to their fleshly weaknesses and desires, caught off-guard and never expecting sin to happen to them.

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:24-26

Pride can become a big problem. If we begin to praise ourselves for our prowess as a witness, then we have sinned. We must not steal the glory from our Lord. If we do, then we become self-serving, and are no longer serving our Lord. It is unlikely we will be effective witnesses when we are desiring personal glory and another point on our "souls won chart". This attitude can cause great damage to someone who is hurting or to someone who is hostile. An insensitive, pushy, and uncaring attitude only reinforces all their worst fears about Christians and Christianity.

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" Philippians 2:3-5

Fear is another pitfall to the spiritually unprepared. Fear of what others may think or of making a mistake causes us to lose our boldness. The longer we continue to believe we will not be effective and do not try, the worse it becomes. Fear is overcome by faith. A little preparation time doesn't hurt either! As long as we will not witness, we are in disobedience to God's Word. (Matthew 28:19-20)

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:18-20

How Can We Prepare Ourselves?

A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is a necessity. Without Christ, we have no purpose or reason to be witnessing! We must understand the Gospel message, and be able to explain it to others, using a method of presentation that we are comfortable with. It should be centered in God's Word.

When we are confronted by God's holiness, our sin becomes magnified. We must confess our sin and ask His forgiveness. Humility and brokenness will be the result of repentance, if we are truly seeking to obey Jesus Christ. We will deliberately seek reconciliation and restitution towards others, and seek to have a "clear conscious." We will no longer harbor anger, bitterness, hate, etc. God's Word will rule our lives. We will be interested in praying and enjoying God's presence in our lives. In short, we must be blameless, having confessed all known sin, and reconciled with others before we go as witnesses.

What Is This Remarkable Transformation Called? REVIVAL

Does a personal revival seem unattainable? Maybe. It is a matter of the will; in other words, a willingness to be changed. It is a matter of discipline practiced over time that forms the habits of prayer, Bible reading, and confession of sin. After we have endured, our lives evidence God's grace, mercy, and faithfulness. It is a testimony of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is God's power changing us so we will be effective servants. (Ephesians 4:23-32)

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."

An important part of the witnessing experience is sharing personal testimony. Begin by writing down your testimony, then practice telling it. Don't get in the habit of reciting it. Your testimony needs to consist of a statement that describes life before receiving eternal life, and a statement that describes life after receiving eternal life. This can be a valuable tool in helping someone see their own spiritual condition and need.

Prayer is an important part of our preparation. Not only is it a regular part of our day, but prayer is needed before going out to witness. We can do nothing without the leading of the Holy Spirit and His power. (Acts 1:8) Make a list of prospects--everyone you know who does not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Pray for each individual daily. Your prayer might consist of:

Pray for an opportunity to share the truth with them.

Pray that they will be open to hearing and will see their need.

Pray that Satan will not hinder them from hearing and believing.

Pray for wisdom to be able to answer any questions.

Prayer prepares the heart of the receiver of God's message, and it prepares us to be ready for any circumstance or situation. It helps to sensitize us to the leading of the Holy Spirit and to the needs of others.

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SPIRITUAL PREPARATION SCRIPTURES

"We are to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." Ephesians 4:1

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-16

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1-2

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalms 119:11

"Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another…" James 5:16a

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

"Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." 1 Peter 3:16

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hand, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:7-8

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Chapter 3: Terminology

"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" Luke 24:45

Following are "buzz words" used to define specific concepts within the Christian community of believers. Many of us come from diverse denominational backgrounds, so it is necessary to understand the meanings and usage of these words. Also, the person you are witnessing to may not have an understanding of our Christian terms so it is wise to be able to explain these terms when necessary. Remember that it is best to avoid using Christian cliches.

Salvation: The process by which an individual obtains forgiveness of sin, a place in heaven, deliverance from the penalty of sin, and a new life through faith in God's Son, Jesus Christ. An individual comes face to face with sin, and is willing to forsake that sin in order to live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. The individual personally invites Jesus to take charge of his or her life, accepting that Jesus' death on the cross met all God's requirements for forgiveness of sin.

Romans 1:16, 10:9, 13

2 Timothy 3:15

Romans 6:23

Titus 2:11-14

Faith: The transfer of personal trust from self to Jesus Christ alone. Actions prove belief. Only Jesus Christ is worthy of our trust and confidence. Individual realizes that good works cannot replace faith. Faith is not "head knowledge", for even demons believe in Jesus.

Romans 10:9-11, 17

Hebrews 11

James 2:19

Grace: God's unmerited favor toward mankind. God chooses not to give us what we really deserve.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Romans 11:6, 5:18-21, 9:16-18

Titus 3:5

Sin: Failure to live up to God's standard of perfection. Sin can be word, thought, deed, attitude, something we should have done but didn't, something we did but should not have--anything that breaks God's laws and commands. God hates sin. Sin breaks fellowship with God.

Romans 3:10, 23

Romans 7:18-21

James 2:10, 4:17

Matthew 5:48

Titus 1:16

Forgiveness: God absolves us from the penalty of sin, (which is eternal separation from God) takes away our shame and guilt, and remembers our sin no more. We experience a restored relationship with God.

Romans 5:8-9, 8:1

Hebrews 10:16-17

Confession: Agreeing with God, and admitting before God that a violation of His laws and commands has taken place.

1 John 1:9

Repentance: Forsaking or giving up sin in favor of obeying God's laws and commands.

Luke 13:3

Matthew 4:17, 9:13b

Assurance: Certainty of God's forgiveness and a place in heaven based on God's Word.

John 6:47

Romans 4:6-8

Titus 1:2

Lost: Without God's forgiveness of sin. Resulting in eternal spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

Romans 5:9-10, 8:5-8

Commitment: Continuing faithfulness, realizing that commitment is costly and demanding.

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Chapter 4: Methods of Evangelism…Using a Tract

"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it [behooved] Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations…" Luke 24:46-47a

For those who may not be trained or are new to the concept of witnessing as a way of life, it is normal to feel inadequate and ill prepared. Sometimes we may not be in an ideal witnessing situation where we have the time to speak effectively. However, sharing your faith using a tract is very effective and easy! There are countless ways of using tracts as a ministry tool.

Tracts are versatile. You can leave one at your restaurant table with your tip. It can be handed to someone to be read at a later time, or even shared over coffee. Consider handing out a tract to children on Halloween. Leave a tract in waiting rooms or restroom lounges. I remember a friend who used to visit the Laundromat on a regular basis, just so he could find someone to share the Gospel with! There is usually someone who is waiting for their laundry to dry or wash, so what a great opportunity to start up a conversation and maybe have an opportunity to discuss a tract!

It is best to keep a supply of tracts handy in your car or in your purse. Make sure they don't become tattered! You might want to stamp the name and address of your church on the back. Read through it and familiarize yourself with its contents so that when an opportunity arrives, you will be ready to discuss it.

People like to talk about themselves! If you develop good listening skills, you will endear yourself to your prospect. Obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as to whether you should share or not. Talking about their church background is a good start. Show the tract, and offer to discuss it. Mention how its message has changed your life. However, if at any time the individual indicates an unwillingness to continue, don't press it. Offer to give them the tract to read at another time.

Tracts can also be used during a personal visit. If you are unsure of your ability to share the Gospel message, you can use a tract. It will provide the necessary Scriptures and explanations to help you as you speak. If you get nervous, tracts can lend confidence!

After reading the tract, ask the individual if they would like to pray with you. Some tracts have a sample prayer at the back. Once your prospect has prayed and asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior, write in their spiritual birth date on the back of the tract. Then arrange to meet for Church Services. Encourage your prospect to review the tract later and every time they have a doubt.

If your prospect doesn't want to pray, that's okay. Be sure to maintain a pleasant expression and manner. Avoid threatening behavior. Ask if there are any questions, or if there are portions of the tract that were not understood. Be sensitive and avoid embarrassing your prospect. Leave the tract so it can be read privately. Move to non-threatening conversation if allowed. If not, make a graceful exit. Remember to pray for this person on a regular basis, for you may get another opportunity to explain the Gospel message further.

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Chapter 5: Methods of Evangelism…Calling

"Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

Why Use the Telephone For Visitation?

  1. Telephone visits can help cultivate the prospect for a meaningful home visit later.
  2. It is an effective way to make multiple "visits"; as many as 5 or 6 a night.
  3. Everyone can make a telephone call.
  4. A telephone ministry is not hindered by transportation problems, baby-sitting problems, physical disabilities, bad weather, or unfamiliar streets.
  5. A telephone conversation will help you determine the needs of your prospect, and allow you to gather needed information for a later visit.
  6. Telephone visits should only be made to members of the same sex. Ladies should not telephone men, and vice versa.

Purpose of Your Telephone Call

  1. To get acquainted with your prospect, building a bridge of friendship.
  2. To invite your prospect to attend church services.
  3. To acquaint your prospect with the programs of the church and the Bible study class.
  4. To offer any needed assistance you and the church can provide.
  5. To prepare the way for someone to make meaningful visits in their home at a later time.
  6. To ultimately bring them to know Jesus Christ and the abundant life, Christian discipleship, and to foster active membership in a local church.

When To Make the Call

  1. Select a time that is convenient for you and your prospect. Saturday mornings, weeknights or weekday mornings are usually good times.
  2. Try to find a time when most families are not engaged in other activities such as eating, sleeping, or working.
  3. Note that statistics indicate that 10-20% of the time, the line will be busy. About 30-40% of the time, the prospect will not be available, depending on the day and time of the call.
  4. Stay-at-home moms are most likely available between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Allow for nap times for small children and infants.
  5. Do not ask for work telephone numbers. Working people are usually available on weekends or after 7:30 PM during the week.
  6. Calls should be made no earlier than 9:00 AM and no later than 9:00 PM.

Before You Dial

  1. Pray that God will guide in this effort, and add His blessing. Pray for His timing.
  2. Pray specifically for no interruptions, for wisdom to know how to begin the conversation, and for boldness to share the Gospel message and to explore their spiritual condition.
  3. Be as familiar with the facts about the family as possible. However, you can call without specific information.
  4. If the family name is not familiar and easy to pronounce, then pronounce it out loud a few times. It is IMPORTANT to try to pronounce the name properly during the conversation.
  5. Have a pencil and paper on hand to make notes.

The Telephone Conversation

  1. Be kind and Christ-like in all cases. We are not out to irritate, but to win friends for Jesus Christ and His Church.
  2. Be ready to speak when the party answers the telephone. Ask for the party by name.
  3. Speak clearly and distinctly into the telephone so the person can understand you with ease.
  4. Give your whole attention to the conversation.
  5. Seek to share Christ's love by your tone of voice and attitude. It helps to smile as you speak.
  6. Listen with empathy.
  7. If the person you wish to speak with is not at home, ask what time might be convenient to call back.
  8. Wait at least six rings before you hang up. Do not leave a message for the person to call you back. Make a note for yourself to call back at the appointed time.
  9. Keep good notes about your call. It helps when making future calls to know what was discussed during the last call, and also pertinent details about the family and any specific needs.
  10. Write down any prayer requests. You may pray over the telephone for a definite spiritual need, sickness, sorrow, or other trouble.
  11. Be casual and informal during the conversation. The attitude and disposition of the prospect will help determine the length of the call. Be brief, but take as long as is appropriate in order to accomplish the purpose. Don't rush the conversation, and don't let it drag on.
  12. Do not get involved in a debate. You are not out to prove anything.
  13. Conclude the conversation with graciousness. Leave the door open for telephone visits.

SAMPLE CONVERSATION STARTERS TO A COMPLETE STRANGER:

"Hello, may I speak to Mrs. (Mr.) _________? I am (your name) from (name of your church)."

Then>>>

"I just wanted to get acquainted with you by telephone if it is not an inconvenient time for you…"

"I have been wanting to meet you, and welcome you to our church."

"We were glad to have you join our worship service Sunday."

During the course of the conversation, you might want to discuss:

Location of your church, your Bible study group, etc.

Mention the programs of your church

Mention times for services, children's church, any special activities or events

Find out if they currently attend a church

Share your personal testimony, time permitting

Confirm any information for your prospect record

Be aware that some of the people you call will be indifferent, with no appreciation of your call. Others will express genuine interest and enthusiasm for the contact. Do not permit any unkind or critical remarks by unconcerned people to discourage you. REMEMBER, people will not become concerned about themselves until we show concern for them!

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Chapter 6: Methods of Evangelism…Personal Visit

"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God Speed." 2 John 1:10

Before you start out on your visit, try to determine the goals that need to be accomplished. Evaluate what you know and what you need to know. You may want to discuss these with your visiting partners. Below are some of the types of "visits" you may have with your prospect. Sometimes the type of visit will be determined during your introductory conversation with the individual. You may discover the person has a need in one or more of these areas that needs to be met before you can proceed further.

Awareness Visit: To determine the spiritual condition of the prospect, namely their conversion experience and church background.
Evangelistic Visit: To witness to one's faith in Jesus Christ and as possible or wise, to invite prospect to confess their own faith.
Support Visit: To encourage prospects who are struggling with a decision.
*Ministry Visit: Covers wide range of human need including sickness, grief, loneliness, disgrace, poverty, sin, etc.
*Redemptive Visit: To reclaim or restore believers who have become negligent, habitually absent, angered, or indifferent.
*Counseling Visit: A practical Christian ministry to those caught up in spiritual, moral, physical, social, or emotional problems.

(Note: Serious and severe problems need referral to a professional or a referral to the Pastor. Also a man never counsels a woman without his wife or another woman team member present.)

Fellowship Visit: To develop or strengthen interpersonal relationships.
Reciprocal Visit: Often fills the prospect's need for information and support.
Learning Visit: Bible Study teachers frequently need to visit students to explore opportunities to make their teaching more practical and to find out specific needs.
Wayside Visit: Unplanned opportunities to witness to persons God has prepared.

Note: * visits may require an experienced visitor.

Practical Preparation for a Personal Visit

Remember when you are going into someone's home, that you are representing Jesus Christ and are His messenger of the Good News. You may have already made contact by telephone or have met during a church service or other activity. Most of the time, if the prospect has visited your church, they will expect a visit or personal contact of some sort.

A good first impression helps to insure further visits. The visiting team meets at a designated time and location. You and your team members need to be comfortable with one another and with the process of evangelism. The makeup of your team is important so please do not go alone. Always go with one or two other people, preferably two men and one woman, or two women and one man. This protects you from awkward situations where a woman is home alone with men visiting or a man is home alone with women visiting. The neighbors may get the wrong impression! Remember, we are to avoid the appearance of evil.

"Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Decide ahead of time which of you will be the main speaker. This person will be guiding the direction of the conversation. The others will take on the role of silent partner. A silent partner is an important part of the visiting team. If there are any distractions, the silent partner handles them so the speaker can continue uninterrupted. That means bouncing the baby so Mom can listen, playing with the children, turning off the television, or praying silently while looking interested in the conversation. Silent Partners should not interrupt the main speaker unless given a signal to do so.

As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we should maintain a neat and clean appearance. Bad breath can be a definite deterrent to any conversation so be sure to carry breath mints and use mouthwash before your visit. Do not chew gum. If your shoes are muddy, ask if you may remove them upon arrival. You don't want to start off offending your prospects by ruining their carpet! Dress conservatively and wear casual clothing. Do not wear clothing that will cause distraction or that you have to adjust or constantly rearrange. You want to maintain the attention of the prospect on the message, not the messenger. Your prospect might have allergies, so avoid wearing scented products. If you have a bad cold, or are ill, reschedule your visit.

Even if you are familiar with the neighborhood, it's a good idea to take a map and flashlight with you. Call ahead of time for directions if necessary. If you must drive more than 20 minutes, call ahead to schedule an appointment. Make sure you carry tracts and any church brochures that might be helpful to someone new to the area or new to your church. The brochures should tell the times for all services and activities. Be prepared to answer questions about the programs and beliefs of your church. Carry a small New Testament or Bible in your pocket or purse. Do not carry a large Bible, for this can be intimidating to the prospect.

Upon arrival, please do not park in the driveway. You may inadvertently block someone in who needs to leave, causing an interruption in the presentation. If you must park in the driveway, make sure you check at the door to gain permission. Have the woman on the team stand in the front at the door where she can be seen first. Statistics show that women are less intimidating. She should make brief introductions, using first names only, and state the name of the church you are representing. Remind your prospect that you have previously talked, or that they visited your church.

When you are invited in, remember to be friendly and introduce yourself to everyone in the room. Be gracious, polite, and well-mannered. If the hostess is caught off guard by your visit, and offers apologies for the "mess", do not show your horror over really bad conditions, and do not say, "Oh! You should see mine!" Instead, offer compliments on an object in the home that will distract everyone's attention from the "mess". Be sincere in your compliments. If possible, suggest that the television be turned off so it won't be a distraction. Begin the conversation on general topics that aren't church related. Move gradually to discussing their church background. Ask their opinion of your church. Ask if they have any questions, and be prepared to answer them. Be honest, if you don't know something, say so, but offer to find out. If they are willing, you can move into a spiritual discussion. Be sensitive of the time, and don't overstay your welcome. End your visit on a friendly basis regardless of how the visit went. Leave a church brochure and a tract they can pass on to others. Visits should conclude by 10 PM.

There are times when you should not go into a home. If the family is having dinner or has company, ask if you can come back at another time. People are often embarrassed to discuss spiritual matters in front of others, including spouses. If your team is unable to go inside, you may speak briefly at the door to arrange a time to call to reschedule.

If there is no one at home, be sure to write a short note on a church brochure or tract, to tuck into the door to let your prospect know you visited. People like to feel that they are important and that someone cares about them.

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Chapter 7: Followup

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Jude 1:21-23

Now that a personal visit or call has been made to a prospect, we must determine if our goal was met, and determine what must be done next. Sometimes an initial contact will be sufficient encouragement that a prospect will begin to attend our local church. We want to be able to offer further encouragement to those who need it without becoming an annoyance. We can be an encouragement to others by being more interested in them than ourself. Put yourself in the new believer's place. See their needs and tell them of your concern, your interest, and your willingness to be their friend.

If a decision was made for Christ during your visit, arrange to return the next week. During this critical time, it is important to affirm the new believer's decision. Satan will begin to plant thoughts of doubt, disbelief, and anguish. Be the new believer's cheering section! Look for ways to demonstrate Christ's love. This is a good time to drop a short note of encouragement before the next visit. Be sure to include a Scripture verse to meditate upon.

At the next visit, you will introduce the new believer to discipleship materials. It is your responsibility to help the new believer to understand the teachings of the Bible on the assurance of salvation. Use prepared materials from your church if available. Review the materials before you present them to the new believer. Here are some verses to discuss during your next visit:

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:11-13

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47

"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10-11

The new believer needs to begin the growth process through daily Bible reading and prayer. As newborn spiritual babies, 1 Peter 2:2 tells us, they will need constant encouragement and exhortation! Invite the new believer to participate at your local church. It is important for new believers to publicly share their new relationship with Jesus Christ. Once contact with the local church has been established, it is the church's responsibility to take over. The church and its programs should provide opportunities for spiritual growth, fellowship, and worship. Please don't stop contact with the new believer, but continue to minister as opportunity arises.

If no decision was made during your visit, realize that more cultivation is needed. Send a note of encouragement thanking your prospect for the opportunity to visit. In a couple of weeks, make a telephone call. In the meantime, pray faithfully. There will surely be further opportunities for ministry!

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Chapter 8: Servant Leaders: Personal Evangelism In the Church

"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." 2 Timothy 4:5

Who Is A Servant Leader?

Discipler - Teacher - Leader - Evangelist - Organizer - Public Relations Expert - Caregiver - Nursery Worker

What is Your Task?

Set the right example by modeling Jesus Christ to others. Be ready to resolve disagreements and disunity. Realize motivation for service is not from ego or for personal recognition. We have died to self, and therefore, have nothing to prove. Enable others to share in the joys of service. Recognize that many are called to service within the local church. Put aside a judgmental and inflexible attitude. Cooperate with and coordinate the gifts and talents of all to facilitate effective ministry.

What is the Church's Role?

The church leaders establish the standards and define the goals for all ministry. Evangelism must be the first priority of the local church. To facilitate ministry, the local church must show a concern for people by accepting responsibility for the unsaved, being committed to reaching them, and believing they can be reached. Emphasizing Bible Study and worker training reflects the church's understanding of the needs of the ministry. People must be trained in order to share the Gospel message in an effective manner. Servant leaders must be careful to place people in positions they are suited and trained for. Incompetence can ruin a ministry. Offer praise and encouragement to those who do a job well. Their efforts are an offering of praise and honor to our Lord!

The church and its servant leaders are accountable to the Lord and to the people they serve. Remember that people need to feel secure, be in a stable environment, have opportunities for self-expression, and feel personal significance. This comes through the local church and its servant leaders.

Bringing an individual to a commitment to Jesus Christ is no easy task. Many make decisions at the time the Gospel message is presented, but the test of faith is in everyday actions and attitudes. Commitment is ongoing not sporadic. Each of us has ups and down, dry times, and fruitful times. Take comfort from these verses:

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…" 1 Peter 3:15

"for ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Hebrews 10:36

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