27 Sep, 2016 Would you be an ‘evangelist’ at a show?


It’s not something I’d put my hand up for either – but it’s where I found myself this past weekend!

The ‘trap’

While I don’t mind talking about religion with anyone – ‘street evangelism’ isn’t something I’ve aspired to. But when I found myself (1) in Melbourne during the Melbourne show, (2) with an evangelist who has helped the ‘good news stand’ at the Melbourne show a few times, while also (3) staying at the house of someone who also helps out at that stall… the writing was on the wall!

But I have to admit that this was also something that I wanted to do. You see – I’ve avoided this kind of ‘evangelism’ for a while now. I’ve limited my outreach to conversations with people I meet in daily life and travel. Stretching yourself now and again is good – and surely communicating in a different context like this would simply be about people skills!

But that doesn’t mean there werent other thoughts going on my head! I mean – would I struggle to start conversations with strangers? Would I end up talking to people who judge me as being judgemental? Would I face angry people? And what if the people I’m in that stall with end up being ‘strange or pushy evangelists’ – leaving me feeling embarrassed by what they say and do?


The result

Well – it was a great experience because (1) it was simply about people skills, (2) the people I was standing there with had them, and (3) the people we engaged with wanted to talk, and there was a lot of laughter amongst it all!

For all the other ‘non-evangelists’ out there let me tell you how it ‘rolled'”: Once ‘stuck’ in that situation, with a couple of simple conversation-starting ideas that the team there used, conversations were easy to start. And once started – well – it was no different to any other conversation I’ve been in. During the day I enjoyed conversations with people ranging from various couples to families to elderly and youth, gays, gay-marriage activists, mslims and a very ‘high church’ Catholic who wanted to convert me to become a follower of the Pope – and I enjoyed them all.

(However, the night before this I did revise a couple of different ‘methods’ of concisely sharing the gospel – because I knew the opportunities would come. This paid off – and I shared the gospel 3 or 4 different ways during the day, which was also a good experience).


What encouraged me?

The time I’ve given to strengthening my own conversational skill-set really paid off! I’m a different person conversationally to even just ten years ago! I was conversationally-challenged in my earlier years – and feared this kind of environment for a reason. I thank God for the learning and change in me!

Questions can diffuse tension – and turn conversations.  I was even able to engage with ‘strange’/intense people (which there were some of) in this settings – and still have an enjoyable non-threatening two-way and meaningful conversation!


What can we learn from this?

1. No method of ‘evangelism’ is ever outdated. It’s bad people-skills that are outdated!

2. Many Westerners are more open to spiritual conversations than most church people would think!

3. Intentionality given to learning a few conversational skills really can pay off!


Its food for thought.


Check out the outreach-equipping videos I created – which are free online at  https://alltogether.co.nz/equipping-videos-members/

  • Note that #6-8 are about conversational skills,
  • However ALL are worth learning from. They will give you a ‘tool belt’ for your spiritual conversations!


DAVE MANN. Dave is an Author and gifted communicator with a passion for the Gospel. This passion started when he came to faith at age 11. After Secondary School he went straight to Bible College, followed by 7 years in outreach ministry in New Zealand, then nearly 9 as a pastor in Singapore, before returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Dave is a visionary and fearless about pioneering initiatives aimed at helping the Church in New Zealand in the area of its mission. Author of various books and Tracts including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last”, “The Elephant in the Room” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
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