What is evangelism? Evangelism is verbally telling the gospel to unbelievers with a twofold aim: 1. To proclaim the excellencies of God in Christ and thereby honor our Lord and Savior. 2. To build up the church by persuading sinners to repent and trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
What matters for evangelism to be “good” evangelism? The heart matters and the mouth matters. Regarding the heart, the evangelist is to love God and sinners, and therefore have the above listed aims. Regarding the mouth, the evangelist’s content is to be true and his clarity is to be crystal.
Open your mouth to unbelievers for God’s glory and their salvation, watch over your content and clarity carefully.
It is according to this standard that all evangelistic approaches are to be assessed. Broadly speaking, evangelists fall into one of three camps regarding their overall approach.
First, there are those who do not evangelize. You may call them the “Furticks”. They may not evangelize intentionally, or they may think they are evangelizing but are not in fact doing so (being nice to someone is not evangelizing, preaching the gospel without words is a feat belonging to a modern art museum, soup kitchens feed far less than the souls of men, etc.).
Second, there are those who limit their evangelism to the context of relationships/friendships. You may call them “Pour Overs”. These folks will seek to evangelize family, friends, and coworkers. The drawback to this methodology is its limited scope. Most of us are really not all that likable, and so most of mankind will be left out of hearing the only message of salvation. Multitudes burning to a crisp in hellfire after final judgement will probably have the one solace of having not been intruded upon, or had anything shoved down their throats, while walking this well-scented planet, right?
Furthermore, establishing this approach as superior from the pages of Scripture requires all the luck one can get from squeezing a short Irishman. Show me a place in the Bible where Christians are told to only evangelize their family, friends, and coworkers, and to only tell the gospel to new people after they have entered one of those three categories. Start your search for an applicable passage in Acts 30, specifically verse 3b and following.
Third, there are those who evangelize family, friends, and coworkers, and total strangers. They are evangelistic “Coyotes”. It is this approach to evangelism that you will see on display in the book of Acts. To see this in the pages of Scripture, and then do it with your time and energy, requires the possession of a greater fear of God than man. It requires a man have zero trucks about how the culture at-large defines being nice or appropriate. The possession of these things comes from God alone as grace alone, and so are to be prayed for from a position of humble need.
To state the obvious, if you are intentionally seeking out strangers as part of your audience in evangelism, then you can either speak to one man or to multiple men, however many can fit within earshot of you. Contact evangelism, where you speak to one person, maybe two people, at a time, lends itself to a conversational flavor. It allows for a back and forth. Street preaching, declaring the gospel to a variety of sized crowds, is not conversational at all, as it is preaching. It is inherently monological.
It is my contention that street preaching, in all its monological, declarative, high-volumed glory, is to be the preferred practice at abortion clinics. Those working/volunteering at such clinics, and the women coming to murder their babies, are in a uniquely hardened human state, required for such barbarism. This hardening does not lend itself to productive conversation that is elevated beyond comments properly left in the outhouse. In fact, this hardening renders most of the murderers unwilling to engage in a conversation of any sort. The only thing that can vivify such hopelessly hardened hearts is the spoken gospel attended by the power of the Spirit. Preaching as a form allows the evangelist to clearly declare the gospel in 60 seconds or 60 minutes. Preaching as a form allows the evangelist to continue to present the gospel to abortion workers and women who are not on the sidewalk outside the clinic. No form of evangelism other than street preaching results in the gospel of Jesus Christ gracing the ear drums of men and women in the very belly of the death camps that are scattered throughout our land.
There is a power strong enough to cause an abortionist to repent and believe in Jesus Christ mid-murder. There is a power strong enough to cause every abortion clinic escort and receptionist to walk away from participation in genocide and walk to participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is a power strong enough to expel every would-be murderous mother from the belly of the killer whale and into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. And street preaching uniquely enables the evangelist to present this gospel to everyone involved at the slaughter house.