Here's the outline for the first of two seminars I ran on evangelism based in 1 Peter. They were for a local church's weekend away...
Evangelism Session 1
Think of an evangelist. What are they like?
Think of a person (or some people) who were significant in leading you to Christ? What are they like?
What's the difference?
Where did we get that image of "the evangelist" from?
Definition 1: Evangelism is ordinary people gripped by the gospel
There are such folk as "evangelists" (Eph 4:11)
But their role is to equip the whole church to fulfil its evangelistic ministry (Eph 4:12)
Every Christian can reasonably expect to see friends/family brought to Christ in their lifetime.
1 Peter is written to ordinary people: aliens and strangers, scattered in the world and suffering.
But they are gripped by God (1:2) -
Choice in the Father's eyes
Set apart by the Spirit
United to Christ, their Lord and Saviour
They LOVE Jesus (1:8)
If you don't love Jesus, please don't do evangelism
Jesus speaks of zealous but loveless evangelism in Matt 23:15 - it multiplies sons of hell!
Remember Christ crucified - warm your heart by the fires of the gospel - 1 Pet 3:18
Because we speak about what we love. Matthew 12:34 “From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Remember how 1 Pet 3:15 begins: "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." That's the foundation
I can talk all day about cricket. I've never read a book on how to talk about cricket. We speak of what we love.
Definition 2: Evangelism means living distinctly in word and deed.
When I imagine an evangelist I think of someone who blends in, who is cool, who is popular.
But 1 Peter screams out no. We follow a crucified man.
His mission to planet earth got Him killed and our own part in this mission will also feel like crucifixion (eg 2:21ff)
2:11-12 - In the short term we will be hated, in the long term this unpopular distinctiveness will have eternal impact.
Peter knows where this distinct living will bite for the Christian:
From 2:13 - living distinctively under hostile authorities
From 2:18 - living distinctively in the work place
From 3:1 - living distinctively in marriages (even with unbelievers)
From 4:1 - living distinctively among non-Christian friends and family
In each circumstance this distinctive living will be like the cross (2:21ff)
It means extending ourselves in love to a hostile world for their salvation - it's what got Jesus killed.
But it's also what saves.
You are not called to be like Billy Graham.
You are not called to be Mr/Mrs/Miss Popular.
You are called to something much harder but much more ordinary - be like Jesus in the simple circumstances of your life.
You are called to live and speak distinctively for Jesus in a world that hates Him.
We think of an evangelist as someone who is the life and soul of the party and a Christian! What an advertisement for Jesus!
Don't try to be that person. Be the person who, when the party is over and life turns hard, your friend can talk to about the big issues.
Was there a difference between your picture of “an evangelist” and those who actually brought you to Christ? What was it?
What is the link between love for Jesus and speaking for Him? What can we do to strengthen that link?
Are you a person that friends, family and colleagues can come to with big issues in life? Are there things you need to change so that you will be?