This past Sunday Dan Jarvis, lead pastor of Weymouth Community Church, preached a sermon from John 4 about evangelism. As he was preaching through the passage a few evangelism principles stood out to me. These principles come straight from how Jesus shared the Gospel with the Samaritan lady at the well. If you are not familiar with what is going on in John 4, I would encourage you to read it before you read the principles I am about to share. So, let’s get to it! Here are three evangelism principles we can learn and apply from Jesus in John 4.
Intentionally go where no one else will go. In John 4:3 the Bible tells us that Jesus was leaving Judea and was heading to Galilee. Between these two places was Samaria. The Jews and Samaritans did not like each other and most Jews would totally avoid Samaria if they were headed to Galilee. But not Jesus! Jesus intentionally went straight through Samaria. Jesus knew there were people in that area that needed Him and He was not about to avoid them just because most Jewish people do. When it comes to evangelism, we often do not think about going to the places that need it most. We stay away from the inner city, the projects, other races of people, and even unreached tribes in other countries. Jesus intentionally went where others did not. We should do the same. It’s easy to evangelize people like us or people we are “comfortable with,” but there are cultures, places, and people who need it just as much. Will you intentionally go where others do not for the sake of the Gospel?
Break cultural norms. There was this cultural norm that Jewish people do not talk to Samaritan people. Jesus was not about to abide by that stupidity. He already broke one cultural norm by going into Samaria, now He was going to break another by talking to a Samaritan woman. If we want to evangelize like Jesus, at times we might have to break cultural norms. These cultural norms can be within the church. You might come from a church that is very “high standard” and would not be to happy with you bringing a drunk or a drug user to church with you. But you might have to break that stupid (yes, not allowing those kind of people in church is stupid!) cultural norm by bring that person to church. Or maybe people in your church, or the Christians around you, are not ok with going into certain places to evangelize. Jesus did not let that stop Him, don’t let it stop you!
Use something relevant to connect and share the Gospel. In verses 10-15 of John 4, Jesus uses water to explain the gift of salvation (the “living water”) to this lady. Why did He use water? He was at a well! Wherever you are, use something the person will understand when you share the Gospel. Stay away from the Christian words only Christians understand. Don’t use illustrations and examples that only you understand. Use something they will understand and present the Gospel through means they will understand. Be creative when you share the good news of Jesus!