Have you ever played with one of those "20 Question" machines? The little all knowing orbs that ask you to think of something and then ask you twenty questions promising to tell you the name of the object you are thinking of?
The whole idea behind it is to ask yes or no questions which, by process of elimination, quickly narrow the search fields until only one or two options remain. It's pretty effective, kind of cute, very methodical and uncommonly universal...pretty much the opposite of how evangelism works.
When it comes to evangelism everyone wants to know quick and easy ways to do it (and rightfully so). Living in the American culture where the landscape is crowded with linear thinking and communication it's easy to think of evangelism as a system that can be employed rather than a lifestyle that has to be lived. In the arena of kingdom building A and B rarely lead to C, and when I say "God" it can easily be immediately translated as "King of the Flying Monkeys."
The point I'm trying to make is, if you are looking for a faith sharing strategy that is as simple as: "Ask question 1. If answer is B. Proceed to question 3. If answer is C, consult a pastor," you are looking for the wrong thing. I could make a practical list of how to enter a conversation, execute it, and then exit it, but the chances of the situation actually unfolding according to plan are about as slim as Katy Perry's return to gospel music.
Evangelism and disciple making is not a neat idea invented by the church to boost tithers, it's a command from our Savior (Matt 28:32). So the idea of questioning how to evangelize is a very important, very crucial question. But I think we are asking the question in the wrong way. I could be the greatest and most skilled speaker in the history of the world, but if I have nothing to say, then what good are my strategies. God has deposited (1 Tim 6:20) in you the greatest news of all time. It burned in the prophets like a fire shut up in their bones (Jer 20:9). When they spoke it wasn't out of a system of communication, but rather they spoke because the news that burned so vividly inside of them demanded a proclamation.Paul wasn't able to persuade the deists at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-34)because he was simply a gifted communicator, Paul's words found a home because he had something to say. God used a fumbling messenger (Ex 4:10) in Moses to proclaim a civil rights speech that Martin Luther King could be proud of, and Moses' words had weight, because he had something to say (Ex 4:12). So here is my proposal and my counter: Instead of asking "How do I evangelize," we should be asking "What do I have to say in evangelism." So I have here 5 practical things, or 5 truths to communicate when it comes to evangelism. If these truths resonate at the top of your heart, you won't be looking for a structure to practice them in, you will be looking for a heart to implant them in (Deut 6:6).
1. There is a God. (Isaiah 49:9-10)
Note the upper case "G." The title of "God" is a popular place for people to put their trust, but we never want to assume their god is the same God as the Biblical one. On Mars Hill Paul entered into a general dialogue on "God," but it was only a matter of time before he stuck to what he did best: proclaiming the word that burned inside him-"What you therefore worship as 'unknown', this I proclaim to you." (Acts 17:23-24)
2. You are a theologian. (Acts 17:22)
Again, a clarification: theologian means one who studies the nature of God and religious truths. We all study some sort of god, whether we believe him to be the God of the Bible or not. If you claim there is no God, you are making an assumption based on your own study (about God) that there can certainly be no supernatural. In that case you still accept a god, because you still worship (see #3). No matter if it's Buddah, Allah, Depok Chopra, Oprah or an infinite amount of questions, you still establish your conclusions on a theological level. In Romans 1 Paul frames all of our responses on a theological level. We either accept God's truth, or we exchange it for another (false) truth.
3. We have a worship disorder. (Rom 1:21-23)
Because we are theologians, we worship. No way around it. It can be at a stadium on a Saturday or Sunday, it can be at your computer at 1:00 in the morning, it can be through the doors of a department store, or it can be at the feet of Christ. We were built to worship. We all have a void in our life (created by sin) and we try to fill that void with worship. In Romans 1, they worshiped man and creation. In Philippians 3:19, they worshiped their stomach. Today we worship 20 year old's in football helmets, celebrities with fake body parts, and drinks with human names like Jack, Jim and Jose. All improper forms of worship result in a life in Hell.
4. Christ died to cure our worship disorder. (Gal 5:1)
The reason Jesus died was to break our bonds of slavery to sin (and the worship that goes with it) so that he could supplant himself into our hearts as the sole object of worship. Again, looking back at Isaiah 49, He is God, there is none like him. Jesus opens our eyes to realize our disorder (Acts 28:18) so that we in turn worship Christ the way we are intended (Rom 12:1, 1 Cor 14:25). When one enters into a saving relationship with Christ, they receive his righteousness, his mercy, his grace, and God's forgiveness.
5. Because of 1-4, we respond in a delightful life of worship. (Ps 37:4)
Living inside of God's salvation the best life possible. We delight in just about everything because we see it as a gift from God. Delighting in God means you find your happiness in his glory (Phil 4:4, Ps 40:8). I'm being serious here, and so should you. God is better (as in more enjoyable) than sex. He is a greater treasure (in every aspect of the word) than riches. He is more regal (like the glowy-fantastic-I-want-to-name-drop-him kind of way) than they world's greatest celebrities.
The coolest truth about these truths is: this God, is our God. Let that be enough. Go and tell the world. Have something to say, and say it.