Evangelism is the sharing of the “Good News” of God and His love, grace, and forgiveness for sinful mankind. This love and forgiveness of sin is made available by God’s grace and is secured through simple faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who gave His life on the Cross to purchase our salvation.
The Bible teaches us that we are to share the Gospel. Courses have been taught on how to evangelize people. Gospel pamphlets have been published for distribution during house-to-house neighborhood canvassing or while standing on city street corners. And, books have been written on various topics related to evangelism: the biblical basis for and theology of evangelism, our motivation for sharing the Gospel, and different methods for communicating the Gospel to those who need Christ as Savior, to name just three.
My favorite book on the subject has always been The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman (1963). This is not only a classic on the subject of evangelism, it is a tremendous book on the subjects of discipleship and small groups.
I have just finished reading a recently published book about evangelism that is quickly becoming a favorite text on the subject. It is entitled Any-3: Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime. Lead Muslims to Christ Now! Any-3 was written by Mike Shipman, a Church Planting Movement training specialist, and is published by WIGTake. While Mike specifically addresses the evangelization of people who adhere to Islam, the teaching that Mike shares can be applied to our witness to people of any faith or no faith at all.
Mike says that …
“Any-3 implements the simple, natural way Jesus witnessed to the woman at the well in John 4. In so doing, it recaptures foundational elements of the first-century evangelism that Jesus modeled for His disciples. It worked then, and it works now.”
“Any-3 combines bridging, gospel presentation and drawing the net into one seamless approach.”
“Any-3 allows you to share the gospel in a natural and relational manner. It is persuasive, but never combative.”
Mike goes on to say that because Any-3 “feels spontaneous and free,” it helps believers “live an evangelizing lifestyle, rather than try in vain to do lifestyle evangelism.”
The Any-3 approach to evangelism employs a five-step approach to sharing the Gospel of Christ. The steps and transitions between them are:
Step One: Get Connected
When speaking with someone, ask “connecting questions,” some relationship-building questions, such as: “How are you?” “Where are you from?” “Do you live in this neighborhood?”
Then ask the transition question: “Are you Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian?’ This question moves us to the second step.
Step Two: Get to God
In this step we engage the person in a discussion of God by asking one question and making one observation. “Most religions are alike aren’t they?” and “We are all trying to please God so that we can go to heaven one day, and we are all trying to pay off our sin debt. We all sin, don’t we. Even good people sin. Sinning is easy, but paying off our sin debt to God is much more difficult, isn’t it?”
Our transition question that will lead to the third step is: “In your religion, what are you doing to get your sins forgiven?”
Step Three: Get to Lostness
Let the individual share some of the things that they are doing, according to their religion in an effort to please God and pay off their sin debt. The ask them three questions: “Are your sin debts paid off yet?” “When do you think your sin debts will be paid off?” “On Judgment Day, do you know that your sin debt will be paid off?”
At this time, the believer will begin a transition to the Gospel by saying, “What I believe is different; I know that my sins are forgiven. It is not because I am a good person, although I do try. I know that my sins are forgiven, because God himself has made a way for our sins to be forgiven.”
Step Four: Get to the Gospel
In Step Four we share the Gospel message, the message of God’s love for sinful man and the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, for the purchase of our salvation and the forgiveness of sin.
After the Gospel has been shared, we say, “According to the Bible, if we surrender our life to Jesus as Lord and believe that He has paid for our sines through His sacrifice and that God has raised him from the dead, our sins will be forgiven.”
This statement transitions our conversation to Step Five.
Step Five: Get to a Decision
After progressing through the first four steps of the Any-3 and sharing the Gospel of Christ, we want to the bring the person to a decision about Christ. It is not enough to just share the Good News of Christ with people, we must invite them to accept the Christ of the message.
We ask them, with respect to the message of the sacrifice of Christ for our sins: “That makes sense doesn’t it?” and “Do you believe what I have told you: that Jesus died for our sins and was raised again?”
After sharing the essence of the five steps of the Any-3 approach to evangelism, Mike Shipman goes on to elaborate on each step, share ways to adapt the presentation depending on the religion of the person being spoken to, and what to do and say when a person either accpets Christ as Savior, rejects Him, or desires to continue the conversation at a later time. Mike also share insights into the evangelistic ministry of Jesus taken from His encounter with the Woman at the Well.
I enjoyed reading and have benefitted greatly from the reading of Any-3: Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime by Mike Shipman. It has encouraged me to be much more alert to the Holy Spirit’s leading and prompting to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around me.
In fact, several weeks ago I had taken one of my sons to the barber shop to get his hair cut. While he was in the chair getting his hair trimmed, I sat in the waiting area and was reading Any-3. A man walked into the shop, sat in a chair across the room from me, and watched me as I read.
The man then asked me, “What book are you reading?” As I looked up, somewhat surprised that he would disturb me while I was concentrating on my book, I said, “It’s a book about evangelism.”
The Holy Spirit then spoke to me and asked, “You’re reading about the sharing of the Gospel in a natural and informal way. What are you going to do now that I have opened a door for you?”
The gentleman and I then entered into a discussion about evangelism. I was able to “guide” the conversation through the five steps, and was able to determine and rejoice with the man that he was a follower of Christ.