How to Plan for Success in Evangelism
Many of us have heard the phrase, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It has endured for so many years for one reason: it is true in so many different contexts.
Planning is essential to success. This is true in the worlds of business, sports, the military, and a variety of other areas. The same is true for the spiritual world. In fact, scripture emphasizes the need to plan: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want” (21:5). And this applies to evangelism, too.
Many of us want to share the gospel with more people, but few plan for it. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery declared, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
How should we plan for evangelism? Here are a few ideas.
Plan to meet with God each morning
One of the hallmarks of Jesus’s ministry on earth was the time He spent alone with the Father.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
As we strive to become more like Jesus, we should follow His example by meeting with God at the beginning of our day. It helps us keep the Lord a top priority in our lives, including telling others about Him. It helps prepare our hearts to be sensitive to the needs of others and seeing them through God’s eyes. It sets the pace and tone for the rest of our day and protects us from life’s distractions.
Plan for your daily appointments
As you meet with God in the morning, check your calendar. Pray for every appointment you have. Think through where you in your conversational journey with each person. Is this a new acquaintance? If so, pray for wisdom in how to navigate the conversation so that you can learn their interests, felt needs, and where they are spiritually. If it is someone you already know, have you yet brought up the topic of Jesus and what He means to you? If not, pray for opportunities in the conversation to do so and the boldness to take advantage of those for the gospel.
Plan for the unplanned
How to you plan for those unplanned opportunities God provides? Pray in advance to the One who knows all things in advance. Pray for opportunities that are not on your calendar and skill in how to recognize them and navigate them for the gospel. Also, be sure to plan for “margin” in your schedule so that you have time to devote to them. Don’t pack your calendar so full of things on your agenda that you have no room for the things on God’s agenda, including the “divine interruptions.”
Plan for opposition
Satan opposes our outreach efforts. He distracts us from the things of God, tempts us to pursue our way rather than God’s, and constantly bombards us with accusations that we are not worthy to share the gospel. We need to plan accordingly for that through prayer, specifically applying the armor of God in Ephesians 6 to all areas of our life.
Plan to set goals
Set goals for yourself and ask people to help you be accountable. Perhaps your goal is to speak to a new acquaintance about the Lord this week. Maybe it is to share Christ with someone once a day. Pray through potential goals for yourself and set them. This will help keep evangelism top of mind. And remember if you miss a goal, don’t give up or beat yourself up. Keep on planning and keep on sharing!
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