There are far more qualified voices on this subject, but nevertheless, here are 10 pointers to ponder as you anticipate preaching evangelistically.
1. God can work despite your weaknesses as a communicator, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your best – this is true in an individual message, and in a lifetime of ministry. So look for ways to improve and grow in what you do as a preacher of the gospel.
2. The Gospel is good news, so proclaim it – somehow it is easier to talk about it, than to actually proclaim it. We have great news to share, so let’s take the opportunity to get it presented.
3. The Gospel is a proclamation of what God has done in Christ, not what people should do in response to your message – “Repent and believe” is not good news, it is a way of phrasing an appropriate response to the news. The good news declares what God has done in sending his Son to earth, to us, to the cross, and what that means for people today.
4. You are representing a person, not just a set of truths – Somehow people can become quite aggressive when they declare sets of truth, but they don’t when they speak of someone they love. Please ponder the love of God for you before you proclaim the message of his love for others.
5. You communicate by more than your words – There is also your attitude, your expression, your demeanour, your tone, your body language and your personal warmth. Please align all of these with your message.
6. Make people want it to be true before you try to convince them that it is true – There is absolutely a place for declaring the truth and seeking to be convincing about it, but remember that simply proving your point will never usher souls into the kingdom. We flatter ourselves if we think the world is waiting for us to be clever and convincing enough before they will respond.
7. Don’t let the truth of the truth be foggy – We live in a relativistic age that assumes you don’t even really believe what you are declaring, so be sure to undermine the fairy tale/personal crutch idea and invite them to engage with truth, history, etc.
8. Be biblical in what you say, whether or not you cite your source – Some like to point to Acts 17 and suggest Paul never quoted the Bible in his message to the philosophers in Acts. This is simplistic and misleading. Paul’s message was saturated in biblical truth, he just didn’t give the references all the way through. Please be biblical. God is a great communicator. (There is definitely a place for preaching a passage – evangelistic exposition can be incredibly powerful, but when you aren’t “preaching a passage” please be thoroughly biblical anyway.)
9. Pray for wisdom to blend patience with boldness – It is easy to assume this is the only opportunity and present awkwardly. It is easy to assume this isn’t the key opportunity and present weakly. Somehow we need wisdom to find the right blend. Cumulative evangelistic ministry is very powerful, but for some people this may be a unique moment. We need both boldness and patience.
10. Always remember that it is the Holy Spirit who changes lives – Not your technique, nor your message, nor your learning, nor your cool persona, nor your stunning powerpoint, nor your well-worked structure. It is a work of God to save a hell-bound sinner and draw them into his family. Pray passionately. Proclaim persuasively. Depend completely.
I can already think of more to add. What would you add?
(Previously in this series we have had 10 pointers for younger preachers, older preachers, trained preachers, untrained preachers, preaching Easter, team preaching and special occasion preaching.)
7 thoughts on “10 Pointers for Evangelistic Preaching”
Great points, especially #3.
What a great Pointer list, simple, clear, and useful, exactly the way a good evangelist should preach. Thank you for the pointers!
#6 is the point that I take away as the most important. Let the gospel speak for itself.
#3 it is the way, not “a way” to responding. I would agree that can look different. And Holy Spirit brings conversion.
Peter, I would love to read what you think of “altar calls” today. How should preachers get people today to the “next step” in responding. What does it look like? You always have great writing angles on these things. Appreciative.
I would add then in evangelistic preaching, “how does the preacher give an invitation to make a discussion to cross the line of faith?”
Thanks Alan – it is worth probing the history of the altar call and “decisionism” in church history. Altar calls can be done sensitively, or objectionably. One key thing, in any sermon ending, is to ask where people are looking. Are they looking to Christ, or looking at themselves? Altar calls can go both ways.
Thanks, Peter. Not just a really helpful list, but one that inspires me to want opportunities for evangelistic preaching — not something I’ve felt is for me previously. points 3, 4 and 6 and particularly insightful.
Thanks Mike, this is so encouraging to read!
Thank you peter. You offer for us is good technical teaching. please continue in more angle about GOOD NEWS. I think I see in all aspects of Christian lives we miss and fear how to preach the gospel for others. I learn from your lesson wall. God bless you abundantly. From Adiss Abeba, Ethiopia.