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So let me warn you now this post is a little bit of a rant.  I have recently been introduced to the term, “Pre-Evangelism.”   I’ll be honest, I’m a little stumped.  At first glance this word may seem innocent enough but when I heard it, and more specifically how it was used, it didn’t jive with me.

I was speaking with someone on Evangelism itself and I shared now matter what it looks like, or even how often, the point is that we are all called to share our faith (Matthew 28:19, Acts 1:8, 2 Timothy 4:1-5).  My biggest issue when it comes to Evangelism isn’t that someone only does it rarely or only with their inner circle even though I believe there are more opportunities than just those instances.  My biggest issue is when people try to justify that they don’t ever need to bring it up…at all…ever.  It was in this context that “Pre-Evangelism” was sprung on me.  The idea that some Christians aren’t called or even required to share their faith under any circumstances.  Their calling is simply to pave the way without sharing the Gospel at all.  The idea it was equated to was cultivating soil before someone plants the seed.  My objection to that is the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23 where different types of soil are mentioned.  As I read that parable (or anywhere else in Scripture) where we are asked to do anything to the soil other than plant the seed.  We can’t control what the seed will do, but we are called to faithfully plant those seeds.  In fact, the parable itself implies that only 1/4 of the seed planted will will grow and be fruitful.  But even those 1/4 return 100, 60, or 30 times themselves (Matt 13:23).

Anyway, that’s my rant.  I am totally open to other opinions and ideas on this subject as it is relatively new to me.  My negative reaction simply comes from that fact that I can’t find anywhere in scripture that supports the notion of “Pre-Evangelism.”  To those of you who are for this idea, I’m truly curious to know something.  If you are going to be intentional about “Pre-Evangelism,” what is holding you back from simply sharing the Gospel and going “all the way” to Evangelism (Romans 1:16)?

11 thoughts on “"Pre-Evangelism?"

  1. “If you are going to be intentional about “Pre-Evangelism,” what is holding you back from simply sharing the Gospel and going “all the way” to Evangelism (Romans 1:16)?”
    AMEN! I’d offer some incite on the subject, but I don’t understand it either. I look forward to reading any responses that does explain it because I’m in the same boat as you.

  2. I agree with your point that we are called to plant seeds…absolutely. I think the problem for many people who would use the “pre-evangelism” argument, is that perhaps they have been thrown off by a sometimes too cut and dried explanation of what sharing your faith really is and what it looks like in the real world.

    For many, I think they believe that if they aren’t walking up to every complete stranger, everyday of their lives preaching the Gospel, they aren’t sharing their faith. And that type of evangelism, let’s be honest, scares most people to death (including the ones on the receiving end of the Message).

    The more the church works to teach people, first to live their faith in a fully integrated way in their own lives, and second that true evangelism is an outflow of the passion we have for God because of His work in our lives, the more we will find that we are sharing our faith…and it probably won’t be through street evangelism for most of us…but it will be life-changing for those who hear it, because it was first life-changing for us.

    Just random thoughts…hope y’all are well!

    • Heather, great insights. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One thing I’d like to share with you (and I literally have just been introduced to this idea in the past 2 months) is actually best posed as a question:
      Can we truly live our faith in a fully integrated way in our own lives without sharing our faith in some way, shape or form? The idea is if evangelism comes after we get to the place of living our faith a fully integrated way – well, can we ever actually get to that place?
      Would love to hear more from you! Thanks for contributing your thoughts!

      • I think when a person is fully integrated, it means that their passion for God is so all-consuming it flows out of every part of their lives. So, they will share the Gospel, because being a Christian is no longer just “what” they are, but it is “who” they are…and more importantly “Whose” they are…

        It is all about relationship with God. I will not at all say that any one step makes you fully integrated. I am not fully integrated if I am still looking to a check list to make sure I’m a good Christian: read my Bible, check…prayed, check…went to church this week, check…shared my faith, check…

        We are called to not just share our faith, but to make disciples…which means that it is about developing relationships with people…sharing the Gospel with them and being around to help them grow in their faith. I cannot help someone grow in their faith, if I am not growing in my own.

        It is possible to share the Gospel message through evangelism, because we feel we are supposed to do that…and yet never have the JOY of a deep and abiding relationship with God through Christ. I think churches are full of people who know how to do all the right things and look very, very good on the surface and yet they are not fully-integrated in their faith.

        I think the most important thing for us is to make sure that we are not standing in a position of superiority or judgement of other believers who are not sharing their faith or not sharing it as we think they should. Christ said they would know we are Christians by how we love each other…and love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…it is patient, it is kind, it is not boastul…

        A person can just as easily be a true believer and not share the Gospel as we can have churches full of people who lie, cheat, hate…the list goes on…we are broken people in a fallen world and the only Good in us is Christ…and He tends to take us all through a process of becoming more like Him.

        So, the “pre-evangelism” people are in a place where they are not sharing the Gospel boldly…maybe they need encouragement and ideas for ways to do that…they need someone who will be patient with them and walk beside them in their journey. Maybe they need to encounter God in a real way themselves, so they can offer Him to others.

        The one thing we all need is the Grace and Love and Power of God operating in each of us to see any Good come from our lives. We need to learn to “be” first and then the “doing”…the “going” will, in fact, follow.

      • Heather – thanks so much for sharing even more. I love your response. Thanks for clarifying for me!

  3. Not to add insult to injury, but about 80% of the Christians I know are Pre-Evangelistic… I think!. It seem to me that it is the “Paw Kettle” approach to ministry… “I’ll get around to it one of these days!” What part of the “GO” are we confused about? Is Pre-Evangelism like trying to live out our faith without ever inviting someone to accept Christ, or more like standing on a dock holding a floatation device while watching our friends drown? Keep us posted Jason when you discover the meaning of this new found terminology/strategy!

    • Just as a heads up- the Bible in the Greek would not indicate that the “Go” is a command. In fact we see that the Greek translation is all present active participles reflecting around the command “Teaching.”

  4. My two cents:
    As workers of the “field” we as Christ’s ambassadors are required to do more than just plant seed (i.e., sow seed). Working in the field requires plowing, planting, and harvesting. Pre-Evangelism is required and I believe the best example might be found in Philippians 4:6. We are to be patient as we cultivate the soil. I have heard it said that we are to be “prayer plowers” or “love shovelers” first. Without plowing the soil first the seed that we sow will land on the hard surface and not produce a crop. Player plowing can consist of prayer walking a neighborhood or intentionally praying for a city and love sharing could be doing a random act of kindness. This process of plowing can take some time so we as Christians are to remain patient.
    We are not to stop at just plowing the field. Planting is the next step. Mark 4 gives us a clear idea of how we as Christians plant seed in the field. Sowing seed is done by Christians brining up God/Jesus and sharing the Gospel.
    What is not required by the illustration in Mark 4 is watering the seed or the sun required to grow the plant. Watering and the sun shine are specifically done by the Holy Spirit (see Mark 4:26-29).
    Luke 10 gives us a clear example of how to harvest the seed. It appears that the “person of peace” is someone who can be harvested! The person of peace will also help you harvest around them! I believe that many Christians today only plow and plant. The hardest step is the harvesting of the seed and looking for that person of peace! Luke 10 states “‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’” This process of harvesting is the most difficult, because we are like lambs among wolves and we are looking for a lamb that has gone astray… (Luke 19:10). This process of harvesting is required for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. My take is that the harvest is the actual “baptizing” and “teaching them to obey.” (i.e. Bringing them back into the fold).

  5. I totally hear your rant! For someone to say that all they do is pave the way for the gospel and then do planting of the need I believe that they would be limiting themselves. However I do have a question that i have about the parable of the sower. If I were a farmer and ere planting seeds what kind of soil am I going to plant in. I can attest to the fact that a farmer spends a good deal of time preparing the soil for the seed. My Grandfather was a farmer and to this day one of my best friends family still owns a fairly large small farm in Virginia. And they both spend a good amount of time preparing. They till the soil, remove rocks, remove weeds, create mounds and do many other things to make sure that the seed that is planted has a better chance to grow.

    I believe that us a christians should be making the same efforts in our planting as well. I have a good friends who is planting a church in Pheonix Az. Phoenix is a huge city that has tons of people that have soil just like the soil in Phoenix, rock hard. So my friends that is out there spends a good deal of time working that soil before he plants the seed of the gospel.

    A few years back I took a mission trip to Kingston Canada, and found there people who did not want to talk about God and when you brought it up the would turn around and walk away. In this area of Canada you have to work the soil before you can plant the seed.

    So i do believe that there is some need for “pre evanglism” but i think that term is stupid. I think that people hearts need to be cultived for the gospel. and God is going to take care of that just like he takes care of the planting and the watering.

    Oh and one more thought. I do think that in different situation one might cultivate, someone else might plant, and someone else might water. But that does not mean that everyone does not have a responsibility to share the Gospel. And who does not love to see first hand the fruits of their labor and be active an all three steps!!!

    Hope this Make since!

    God Bless!
    Tim Lavinder

  6. Some good insights. Why just walk around the subject?

    In our church, the youth are into Bible quizzing. They study the Bible, instead of just studying ‘about the Bible’.

    I think that ‘pre-evangelism’ is mostly a device used due to fear of failure. ‘Well if I share the gospel with them, I’m not really good at it, and they might reject it. I’ll just get them receptive to it and then someone really good at sharing will come along to tell the gospel story.’

    Paul tells us:

    1 Cor 2: 1 When I came to you, brothers,
    I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom
    as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

    2 For I resolved to know nothing
    while I was with you
    except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

    3 I came to you in weakness and fear,
    and with much trembling.

    4 My message and my preaching
    were not with wise and persuasive words,
    but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

    5 so that your faith
    might not rest on men’s wisdom,
    but on God’s power.

    So if you’re a bit timid about sharing your faith because you don’t know the right words, you’re probably just who God is ready to use.

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