It was an experience of a lifetime. A commercial airline pilot invited Tammy and I to go through the new assimilator at the DFW Airport.
I piloted the plane into various airports, under varying weather conditions, through night and daylight situations. Never have I been so grateful for an experience. Never have I been so grateful it wasn’t a real plane!
The pilot warned me, “Don’t touch this button.” He showed me how it would send the plane into a nosedive. Pointing to other controls he said, “You may touch these.”
In piloting people in evangelism, there is a control you dare not touch. It’s called the gospel. That gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 and can be reduced to ten words: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.
That gospel is so close to God’s heart that He gives a severe warning to whoever tampers with it: “But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). In other words, “Let him suffer the discipline of God.”
Methods, however, do change. When EvanTell began in 1973, I did week long evangelistic crusades. After a couple of decades, we got a better response to our weekend Operation Friendships, which begin with a friendship dinner at a restaurant. Roughly half of the people in attendance were non-Christians.
When it comes to methods, do what works best for your cultural situation. One pastor told me that many non-Christians are attending a marriage seminar at his church. Another told me about a hot dog give-away sponsored by the youth of their church. Women have told me of evangelistic outreach through physical fitness classes. Bible studies at the office before work are proving to be effective. Dramas in town parks have attracted unbelievers.
When it comes to the message, no change allowed. When it comes to the methods—be creative, think, brainstorm, and use variety. Change is allowed and even encouraged.