Sep 22, 2014

Reach

Gospel Appointments, Part 1

Intentional Relational Evangelism


Paul Worcester, director of Christian Challenge at Chico State Univ., shares about his favorite campus evangelism tool. Read this three-part series to find out how God is using them in our ministry and to get tips on how you can use them on your campus.

If I had to choose just one evangelistic tool to use for the rest of my life I would immediately choose gospel appointments. They are by far the most liberating evangelistic tool I have ever discovered. Last school year, our college ministry of less than 100 students saw 63 students decide to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord! The majority of these commitments took place during a gospel appointment. For years I have been looking for an evangelism tool that mixes the best practices of relational evangelism and initiative evangelism.

The best kind of evangelism is the evangelism that you do.

I often struggle to incorporate initiative evangelism tactics such as tracts or surveys into my everyday lifestyle because I am very busy. I also do not regularly see visible fruit from my efforts. I struggle with some relational methods because rarely do the two or three people who I choose to deeply befriend end up wanting anything to do with following Jesus. I still practice both methods and regularly train others to use them. I believe what Steve Sjogren once said “the best kind of evangelism is the evangelism that you do.” I am so glad I learned about this third option. I call it “intentional relational evangelism.” Gospel appointments are highly relational because you are spending time getting to know the person and building trust. Gospel appointments are also intentional because a large part of the process is clearly explaining the good news and giving them a chance to respond to Christ. Benefits of Using Gospel Appointments

  1. They are simple to set up. Read Part 2 for the “how to.”
  2. They are an ideal setting to get to know someone. You can build trust and show them that you sincerely care. I can’t tell you how many times we have been thanked for taking the time to have a personal meeting with students. They are honored that someone would take interest in them.
  3. They are perfect for you to discover their story and share your story.
  4. They minimize distractions that often come when sharing Jesus in other settings.
  5. They emphasize the importance of what you are talking about.
  6. There is plenty of time to share a full gospel presentation and answer any questions that they might have.
  7. They are a great setting for setting up follow-up meetings. We simply ask “Would you like to do this again and discuss the next step in your growth as a follower of Christ?”
  8. If they do not accept Jesus right away this is an ideal setting for initiating a relational evangelism friendship. (We have seen several students who were not ready to accept Jesus at our first meeting but over time through building friendships and intentional conversations they eventually received Christ!)
  9. Anyone can be trained to do this! They don’t need to be an extrovert or gifted in evangelism.
  10. They are effective! There is something about sharing the gospel clearly with people in a one-on-one setting that God uses. We have been using these since 2009 now and have seen over 200 students pray to receive Christ! Most ministries that I have trained in this method immediately see 2-3 people come to Christ the first week of adopting this new tool. If you share the gospel you will lead people to Christ!

For now, what are your thoughts? Do you currently do anything like this? Are there any challenges or issues you see with this method of sharing the gospel? What questions do you have?


about the author

Paul Worcester


Paul and his wife Christy planted Christian Challenge at California State University, Chico from scratch. Since then hundreds of students have indicated decisions to become followers of Jesus, with many growing as disciples and learning to multiply their faith. Paul is the author of “Tips for Starting a College Ministry.” He has a a passion for equipping and encouraging fellow collegiate leaders to make disciples on campus through his writing, speaking, consulting and social media. Paul and Christy have two children. Paul loves to surf and play other sports when possible.