Some of you have tried to share your faith. You wen’t to some training or a how-to seminar or campus ministry. You gave it a go, but it never seemed natural to you and so you came to realize that you just weren’t any good at it. I’m not an evangelist and never will be. 

 That was the experience of Mark Mittleberg. He was a young Christian, very excited to share his faith and so he signed up for a certain churches summer evangelism program. He was trained a certain, very direct means of evangelism, similar to what sales people call cold-calling. Approaching strangers and going door-to-door in the neighborhoods around the church. Mark found this to be very difficult work, and in the end he concluded that if this is what evangelism was, he was not cut out for it - he simply was not an evangelist. 

 Today Mark serves as evangelism director for one of the largest and most influential churches in North America and has written books on evangelism. He has led hundreds of people to Christ. 


What happened? Mark learned that one of the secrets to being a highly potent Christian is to be comfortable in yourself and who God created you to be and then to use your unique personality and communication style to share the faith naturally in a way that plays to your strengths as an evangelist while working with others who can cover your weaknesses. 


The idea that God has made us each different is very basic to the new testament. In Romans 12:3-8, Paul writes:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

The idea behind this passage is that God did not make us cookie-cutter carbon copies of one another, but that he gave us a unique personality and communication style for the purpose of serving one another. Therefore we do ourselves a disservice and do damage to the mission of the church when we take a one-size-fits all approach to ministry. We understand this sometimes in the church, but then we often train people for evangelism as if there is one way to do it. A lot of evangelism training is like Saul outfitting David. If you don’t know the story, there was a giant mountain of a man named Goliath who was challenging Israel, God’s people. And so this young shepherd David says, how dare he challenge the Lord, I’ll fight him! And so Saul, the king, brought David in a gave him all his own armor to go out a fight. But the armor didn’t fit him and David knew that his hope wasn’t in the armor but in his God, and so he left the armor by the side of the river and went to face the challenge in clothes more suited to him with God at his side.  Some of us have given up on evangelism because we’ve only tried it wearing armor not suited to us - methods handed to us from others, but that don’t really fit us. 


So today I want to encourage you with this. You are able to share your faith, you can be an evangelist, but I want to help you find your voice. 

Direct Style 

Some of you are Peter’s. We’ll call this the direct style. Like Peter in the Bible, you’re bold, confident, bold, assertive, to the point. Peter rarely backed down, especially after the resurrection. If you go to Acts 2 you can get a pretty clear picture of Peter’s evangelism style. Acts 2 is the day of Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit first filled the church. Jerusalem was filled with people and when the Holy Spirit gathered a huge crowd, who was it but Peter who lifted up his voice above them all and started proclaiming to the gospel of Jesus. Peter held back no punches - he very directly addressed the crowd and told them that they had crucified and killed Jesus. Peter so directly confronted their sin that people actually called out, “what shall we do to be saved.” and again Peter did not shy away from telling them, very clearly, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you for the forgiveness of your sins.” This is a guy to get in your face. These people like doing randoms, they make great preachers. This is the style that we often most closely associate with evangelists. Billy Graham has a direct style - a simple message of faith that he has delivered over and over again. Mark Driscoll is a pastor with this style - and his church sees a lot of salvations every year. Ray Comfort is also a very direct evangelist. This is the Power to Change, may I ask you a question style. I’m not this style, so I have had to learn to be more direct when I share my faith and in university I even intentionally put myself in situations in which I was stretched in this area and am glad I did, but this is not me. I’ve actually been encouraged to be more direct as part of this church - I find the Chinese are very direct. If you visit our Chinese side, they’ll just ask - are you a Christian or not, ok then you go to the seekers class. We Canadians are way less direct - where are you on you spiritual journey? That sort of question would drive you Direct Style people insane. 



  • Be sure to seek God’s wisdom so you will be appropriately sensitive and tactful. 
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to restrain your desire to come on strong.
  • Avoid judging or laying guilt trips on others who approach evangelism with a different style.


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Ask friends for feedback on whether you have the right balance of boldness and gentleness. Keep in mind Paul’s phrase in Ephesians 4, “speaking the truth in love.” Both truth and love are essential.
  • Prepare yourself for situation where you will stand alone. The nonbeliever you confront with the truth will sometimes feel uncomfortable. Even non-confrontational Christians who are with you will sometimes feel that discomfort. That’s ok. Under God’s guidance, challenge people to trust and follow Christ and He will use it.
  • It is critical that you listen and value what others say before telling them what you think they need to hear. 
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the person you hope to reach.


Intellectual Style 

Some of you are Paul’s. Like Paul in Acts 17, when you share your faith you are more analytical, you use apologetics and reason. You anticipate questions people may have. You love reading things that give you insight as to how people think.  Others who have this style might be pastor Tim Keller, apologists like Josh McDowell or Ravi Zaccharius. This is my primary style. I was doing the exercise with my wife and the thing says - Often when listening to teachers or TV commentators, I mentally (or even verbally) argue with their positions and logic. I’m like, yep I do that all the time. I often gripe to Jean about logical fallacies I see or hear. That’s me. 



  • Avoid getting stuck on academic points, arguments, and hair-splitting points of evidence. These are mainly to clear the path to the gospel message.
  • Remember that attitude is as important as information. 1 Peter 3:15 says to have “gentleness and respect.”
  • Avoid becoming argumentative.


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Set aside time to study. This style, more than others, relies on preparation. Take serious action on what it says in 1 Peter 3:15.
  • Avoid doing all your preparation in an academic vacuum. Get out and talk to others. Try out your arguments on real people, and make refinements as necessary.
  • Develop your relational side. Talk to people about everyday events, and what is happening in their life and your.
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the person you hope to reach.


Testimonial Style:

Some of you are like the man whom Jesus healed of blindness in John 9. “They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”  “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.”


Notice the man refused to enter in to theological debate with them, just kept saying, “I once was blind but now I see.” He had a story to tell. People with this style are often clear communicators because they know their story, they can be good listeners, vulnerable about your personal life, ups and downs, overwhelmed by the account of how God reached them, and always looking for links between their experience and that of other people. This was my other primary style - and since I did this study I started listening to myself in conversations and realized just how much I do this. Lacy Sturm from Flyleaf at Rock the River last year had a way of connecting people to her story. Nick Vujacic.



  • Be sure to relate your experience to the life of your friend. You need to first listen to them to be able to connect your story to their situation.
  • Do not stop with merely telling your story. Challenge them to consider how what you have learned may apply to their life.
  • Don’t downplay the value of your story because it seems too ordinary. Ordinary stories relate best to ordinary people!


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Practice so you’ll be able to tell your story without hesitation.
  • Keep Christ and the gospel message as the centerpiece of your story. This is an account of how he changed your life.
  • Keep your story fresh by adding new and current illustrations from your ongoing walk with Christ.
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the person you hope to reach.


Interpersonal Style 

Some of you are Matthew’s. Matthew was a tax-collector minding his own business when Jesus approached him and said, “Follow me.”  What did following Jesus look like to Matthew? After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with 

(Luke 5:27–29 ESV) These are the friendship evangelists. They are relationally warm, conversational, compassionate, friendship-oriented, focuses on people and their needs. This is what we talked about last year when we spoke about using our homes and our family rooms as centres of evangelism. This is having people over for bbq and hockey matches and building relationships with them to lead them to Christ. This is the strategy of the My Hope with Billy Graham initiative where you build friendships and bring people into your home to hear the gospel. So this fall is your turn to shine. 



  • Beware of valuing friendship over truth. Telling people they are sinners in need of a savior will test relationships.
  • Do not get so involved in the process of building friendships that you forget the ultimate goal: bringing people to know Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of needs your friends might have - do what you can and leave the rest to God.


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Be patient. This style tends to work more gradually than others. Look and pray for opportunities to turn conversations toward spiritual matters.
  • Continually create and plan opportunities to interact with friends and new people through social events, sports, etc. This will put you in a place where your style can flourish.
  • Practice telling the gospel message so you will be prepared when the opportunity arises.
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the person you hope to reach.


Invitational Style 

Some of you are like the woman at the well in John 4. The woman at the well in John 4.“Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.” (John 4:27–30 ESV). You are always thinking about who you can bring with you to a place where they can hear the gospel. Hospitable, persuasive, enjoys meeting new people, enthusiastic, spiritually opportunistic, outgoing. You are a networker. You know who to connect with whom. Allison Mo - you might be this style. 



  • Don’t let others do all the talking for you. Your friends and acquaintances need to hear how Christ influenced your life. In addition, they have questions you could answer concerning the implications of the gospel.
  • Carefully and prayerfully consider which events or church services you take people to. Look for ones that are clear with truth, but sensitive to the needs of spiritual seekers.
  • Do not get discouraged if people refuse your invitation. Their refusal could be an opportunity for a spiritual conversation. Also, their “no” today could become a “yes” tomorrow.


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • When inviting people, try to get written details about the event into their hands (either preprinted or handwritten). Whenever appropriate, offer to pick them up and do something together before or after the event.
  • At events, mentally put yourself in the place of the other person. Ask yourself whether the event would relate to your concerns or mindset. Reinforce the positive aspects to the person you invited.
  • Offer constructive feedback to the event sponsors consisting of specific and realistic ways you think they could improve the event and make it more compelling to the people you bring. 
  • Invite friends to other, not specifically “outreach-y” type of events to develop your friendship. When they invite you to something that is important to them, try to go with them if your conscience allows.


Serving Style

Some of you may be Tabitha’s (also called Dorcas) in “Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.” (Acts 9:36–43 ESV) Tabitha was known for her good works and surrounded by people who she impacted for the gospel - now hopefully you don’t have to die before they actually hear the word of God preached! Traits, Patient, Others-centered, Sees needs and finds joy in meeting them, Shows love through actions more than words, Attaches value to even menial tasks. This is my wife, Jean. We work together well. 



  • Remember that although “words are no substitute for actions,” “actions are no substitute for words” either! In Romans 10:14 Paul says that we must verbally tell people about Christ. You can do this in many ways as you point to Him as the central motivation for your service.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of your service. It is your style that will reach the hardest to reach people. Acts of loving service are hard to resist and difficult to argue with.
  • Be discerning as to how much you can do realistically without depriving yourself or your family of needed care and attention.


Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Find creative ways to communicate the spiritual motivation behind the service you offer. If could be through a word, a card, or an invitation.
  • Seek God daily for opportunities to serve others for eternal purposes. He will open your eyes to areas you might have missed. Be ready to follow His leadings, even if they seem a bit out of the ordinary.
  • Be careful not to impose your service on others. Pray for wisdom so you will know where to invest your efforts in ways that will be strategic for the kingdom of God. 
  • Recruit nonbelievers to work along side of you while you are serving others. This can open up opportunities to speak with them about your central motivation for serving - the Lord.
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the person you hope to reach.