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  • Writer's pictureBradley Sliedrecht

Walking in Their Steps: The Biblical Model of Evangelism




Introduction

At its core, Evangelism is about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. But how do we approach this sacred task in a landscape that often feels more divided than ever? The Bible doesn't just leave us with a command to evangelize; it offers us rich, diverse examples of how to do so effectively. From Jesus' compassionate conversations to Paul's intellectual discourse, the biblical model of evangelism provides a roadmap for navigating the complex terrain of human hearts and minds.


Learning from Jesus: The Master Evangelist

Regarding evangelism, Jesus didn't just teach us the principles; He lived them. One of the most profound examples is His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26). Here, Jesus demonstrates several key aspects of effective evangelism:


Meet People Where They Are

Jesus met the Samaritan woman in the ordinary circumstances of her daily life. He didn't wait for her to come to a synagogue; He went to her, sitting by a well in the heat of the day. This teaches us the importance of stepping into people's lives and worlds when we share the Gospel.


Cross Cultural and Social Barriers

The cultural and social barriers between Jews and Samaritans were significant, yet Jesus crossed them without hesitation. His example challenges us to break out of our comfort zones and reach out to those whom society—and sometimes even the church—marginalizes.


Engage in Meaningful Conversation

Jesus didn't start with a sermon. He began with a simple request for water, leading to a deep conversation about life, thirst, and salvation. This reminds us that evangelism is often most effective when it's personal and relational.


Following Paul's Example: Adaptability in Evangelism

The Apostle Paul's approach to evangelism varied significantly depending on his audience. His sermon at Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34) is a masterclass in cultural engagement and adaptability. Here's what we can learn from Paul:


Understand Your Audience

Paul's deep understanding of Athenian culture and beliefs allowed him to connect the Gospel to its existing frameworks. He even quoted their poets to make his message more relatable. This teaches us the value of understanding the people we're trying to reach.


Find Common Ground

Before presenting the Gospel, Paul acknowledged the Athenians' religiousness and used it as a bridge to introduce them to "the God who made the world." Finding common ground can open doors for meaningful dialogue about faith.


Keep the Core Message Clear

Despite his contextual approach, Paul never compromised the core message of the Gospel: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This serves as a reminder that while our methods may vary, the message of the Gospel remains the same.


Conclusion

The biblical model of evangelism is neither one-size-fits-all nor rigid. It's dynamic, adaptable, and deeply personal. As we seek to share the Gospel in our contexts, may we draw inspiration from the examples of Jesus and Paul. Let's meet people where they are, cross barriers with love, engage in meaningful conversations, understand our audience, find common ground, and keep the core message of the Gospel clear.


Let's reflect: Which aspect of Jesus' or Paul's approach to evangelism can you incorporate into your efforts to share the Gospel this week?

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