Bruce Nygaard who works with the Navigators on UCT Campus shared with us for 3 weeks on lifestyle Evangelism. He shared a number of biblical motivations for our enthusiasm and encouragement to continue to plant words of truth in our friends, neighbours and families lives. His focus was to persuade us from scripture to actively see ourselves all as evangelists in the times and places God has put us in. Through the Holy Spirit, he awakened in us a sense of Gods plans and purposes to use us in our everyday spheres of relationships and influences.

Here are some of the practical tips drawn out from the series.

Evangelism takes different forms. It is incredibly important to pay attention to the form that is working best in our present day and bearing lasting fruit. Bruce stressed some of the dangers of seeing evangelism as merely an event, and us thinking that suffering disgrace for the gospel is having your Church invitation refused.

Bruce reminded us that the two forms of evangelism are Reaping and Sowing. Reaping is what most of our Churches are good at. Spotting an opportunity to create a gathering where we can bring people to hear the gospel. While Bruce mentioned this as an effective tool for evangelism, he mentioned that it becomes defective if not combined with a radical plan of sowing. Sowing would be all the necessary word ministry in a persons life before the point that reaping (conversion) is able to take place.

It may even be dishonest to expect someone to entrust their entire life to someone they don’t know. Asking someone to entrust their life to King Jesus more often than not requires patience and persistence. People today are becoming more and more unfamiliar with the God of the Bible.

This is where relational evangelism is so key in the entire process. Its our responsibility to steward and build relationships in trust and closeness with the people God made and loves. Through the Spirits wisdom and guidance, it reaches the tipping point where we ourselves introduce them to the Jesus of the Bible. Bruce reminded us that in some cases it had been years of reading the Bible with someone before they crossed the line of faith. The ultimate goal of every relationship is to read through a gospel with them and to use the Bible as the tool for creating faith.

Introducing people to Jesus rather than our Church

It is crucially important to keep the priority in the relationship to introducing people to Jesus rather than to our specific Church. Already by making friends with you, they are being introduced to the Church. We are not making converts to our specific Church, but to the body of Christ. Non Christians can sniff motive a mile away and if our objective is to prop up our church attendance, we are on a slippery slope of having zero effectiveness in evangelism.

Don’t pounce on people like a cat

Bruce shared some great stories of how not to do things. I believe we need to understand the psychology of how people work. We don’t like salesman pouncing on us with events and promises. We need to respect people’s space in the sowing process. Bruce suggested that we empathise with peoples difficulties with the claims of Christianity. He encouraged us not to feel the need to answer every question immediately, but to create mystery and suspense with our unbelieving friends. One way of doing this would be to reply to a question by saying: “That’s a good question. We should chat about it again sometime, but I need to be somewhere now. Maybe another time.”


Natural relationship development

Bruce stressed the need to allow natural relationships to shoot, bud and flourish, like every other human relationship. When you go on a date with someone. Your intention is not to propose immediately, but to earn another date. And then to earn a second and a third. We should be seeking to earn the right for people to listen to us and hear our gospel. Because it is the power of God to save all who will believe.