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Levels of Evangelism

What follows is a five year “work in progress.”  I began looking for a continuum of sorts that would help believers identify where they stand in the ministry of evangelism, and where they could go, if they were willing to be equipped and step out in faith.

Some of the content undoubtedly got into my head through my reading and listening to good teachers.  I would gladly attribute if I could remember who said what, but I can’t – so I’ll just release any claim to originality.

5 Levels of Evangelism

Level 1: “Seeking” 

Simply put, it’s living the Christian life.  The L1 believer is a good neighbor, worker, and friend.  They invite people to church when they find out a person doesn’t go, but their efforts rarely reach beyond.  Potentially, 100% of Christians fit in this category.

Level 2: “Showing”

L2 believers commit themselves to lifestyle/friendship evangelism.  They intentionally form relationships and live out neighborly kindness that can lead to conversations about spiritual things.  They are prepared to tell how God has made a difference in their lives, a.k.a. “sharing a testimony.”  About 75% of Christians can operate comfortably at this level.

Level 3: “Serving”

The L3 believer shows the love of Christ in practical ways.  They actively participate in servant outreach and evangelism.  They wash cars, hand out free Cokes, pick up trash, build wheelchair ramps. They can share their testimony and the gist of the scriptural truth about salvation.  Roughly  50% of believers could live at this level.

Level 4: “Sharing”

L4 believers are the spiritually gifted evangelists.  They can share the Gospel from Scripture with confidence.  They’re sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in witnessing.   About 25% of Christians could fit this level.

Level 5: “Shaping”

L5 believers are the disciple-makers.  They are gifted at sharing the Gospel and equipping believers to reach others.  Probably only about 10% of Christians could maintain this level.

A couple of notes…

  • The levels only indicate position on the continuum, not quality.  I believe it’s important to expand our understanding of what evangelism is and affirm those believers at every level, while at the same time casting a vision for advancing.
  • The percentages are best case scenarios, not the numbers the Body of Christ is currently hitting.  I believe if we did hit those numbers, hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people would be brought near to God.
  • I acknowledge some overlap between categories.  Some number of believers could straddle a couple of levels comfortably, and I would speculate that would be most likely to occur as one moves up the levels.
  • With training and good models, the vast majority of believers could advance to higher levels.

So, am I on to something here, or have I totally stripped a gear?  I look forward to your thoughts.

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  1. April 18, 2008 at 6:24 am

    I think you are on…I’ve been encouraging people to enter into the arena of evangelism for sometime….using various best practices…Irresistible Evangelism is a great resource as is Just Walk Across The Room… the authors do a great job helping / equipping people to begin their e: journey…

    steve bowen

  2. spadinofamily
    April 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I have some more Tim Keller stuff on my BLOG. Stop over and check it out.

    Loved the cell phone analogy and I forwarded it on to my daughters. My daughter e-mailed me back and said “What if Dad actually used it” since my cell phone is never charged up :).

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/

  3. April 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    What does washing someone’s car, or other good deeds, have to do with evangelism?

  4. fiercegrace
    April 19, 2008 at 10:01 am

    It has to do with “Servant Evangelism” – acts of loving service done as a way to open people’s hearts and minds. Probably best described by Steve Sjogren in the books “Conspiracy of Kindness,” “Irresistible Evangelism,” and “Outflow.”

    Here’s a quote from the website: Servant Evangelism wins the heart before it confronts the mind. A small act of kindness nudges a person closer to God, often in a profound way as it bypasses ones mental defenses. The average Christ-follower is willing to hand a stranger a can of cold Coke on a hot day. The typical reaction can be “Oh, thank you!” “This is so nice!” “I can’t believe this is for free!” And, “Why are you doing this?” Kindness builds the bridge for the person to receive a touch of love from God. It’s simple, practical, effective, inexpensive and fun!

    http://servantevangelism.com/main.cfm

  5. April 19, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    We’re commanded to do kind things for people, but I don’t think it has anything to do with evangelism.

    People are dead in their sins (Eph 2:1), children of the devil (John 8:44), and enemies with God (Colossians 1:21). Doing kind things for them is great, but it’s not going to make them less dead. Preaching the Gospel is the only thing that can bring them back to life (Romans 10:14). The Gospel is the only message that saves.

    I’ve found that most people are open to discussing the Bible and eternity, and we don’t need to buy them off.

  6. fiercegrace
    April 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts, Bill. I would wholeheartedly agree with your second paragraph, the Gospel is the message that saves.

    But Servant Evangelism is not “buying” anyone off. It’s showing the love of Jesus to others in practical ways that open their hearts and ears to hear the saving message of the Gospel. Doing kind things is a matter of fulfilling the Great Commandment along with the Great Commission. Good deeds and the Good News work together.

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