Tips on Evangelistic Preaching

By Todd Gray

I am not an evangelist, but I am commanded by Scripture to do the work of one. Paul instructed Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). Every God-called preacher has an obligation and opportunity to figure out and carry out the work of an evangelist.

What do evangelists do? They share Christ with lost people. They equip others to share Jesus with the lost. And they preach the gospel to the lost. The ministry of an evangelist is all about taking the good news to unsaved people and equipping and encouraging others to do the same.

Years ago, I determined to learn more about evangelistic preaching to practice it more faithfully. While I would not classify myself as skilled in this area, I have learned some things that have proven helpful. Here are a few tips for preaching evangelistically:

1. Write evangelistic sermons
I love listening to gifted preachers preach through books of the Bible. Verse-by-verse exposition is a healthy diet for any church. The church I attend is currently without a pastor and I am praying that God will send us one who preaches through books of the Bible. There are times, however, in the course of a faithful preaching year, when preachers may need to pick a text and develop a message aimed at winning the lost to Christ.

2. Tell salvation stories
When we tell stories of real people who have repented of sin and believed the gospel, it allows those in the congregation to see themselves in those illustrations. The conversion of Rosaria Butterfield, Kat Von D or the prostitute from Calumet City (about whom the late independent Baptist pastor Jack Hyles once spoke)—all are testimonies of God’s power and grace to win the lost to Himself. Whether it is a child who was converted in her home or an adult who heard the gospel from a co-worker, it is exciting and inspiring to be reminded that God works through simple means to save hell-destined sinners.

3. Tell people how to be saved
When the Philippian jailer asked what he must do to be saved, Paul and Silas told him exactly what to do: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31b). It is not likely that a lost sinner will cry out from the audience while you are preaching and ask what they must do to be saved, though it could happen. More likely, however, a boy or girl or a man or woman in the congregation is asking that very question in their heart. Your preaching must answer the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’

4. Invite your listeners to trust Jesus immediately
Whether you ask people to come to the front of the worship gathering while a song is being sung, ask them to meet you in the back after the service or encourage them to call on the name of Jesus right where they are sitting, people must be invited to receive Jesus. Those who have received the water of life must be in the business of inviting others to come and drink freely for themselves (Rev. 22:17).

5. Ask saved people to pray for lost people
When the gospel is preached with clarity and conviction, the result is that lost people hear God speaking to them and saved people are reminded that they have friends and family who are close to them but far from God. Believers should be encouraged to pray for those who are lost.

6. Share Jesus with lost people during the week
After you have studied the Scripture, prepared your message and prayed for the grace to preach it, you can do nothing better than leave your study and go share Jesus with lost people. Personal evangelism will fuel your gospel preaching. I had the joy this week of sitting with a man near my age who is not yet a follower of Jesus and talking for an hour about the gospel, salvation, Jesus, sin and more. I left that conversation invigorated and encouraged about the power of the gospel and God’s plan to seek and save the lost.

7. Trust God for the results
We are not responsible for fruitfulness, but we are responsible for faithfulness. God calls us to do the work of an evangelist and through that work, He brings the fruit of people whose lives are transformed by the power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16).

God-called evangelists, as seen in Ephesians 4:11-12, could say much more about evangelistic preaching, but these tips have helped me. I hope they help you as well as we work together to help churches reach our communities, states, nations and the world for Christ.

This post originally appeared at BP Toolbox.

Published March 8, 2024

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Todd Gray

Todd Gray is executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.