The Art of Evangelism

January 26, 2006 by

Guy Kawasaki, a former evangelist for Apple computers, talks about the art of evangelism. In a nutshell, what used to be a religious term has been borrowed by business.

In a quirky step farther, let’s take evangelism back to the church and reapply Kawasaki’s art of evangelism on churches. Obviously we’re a couple steps removed from the original concept of evangelism so not everything fits, but it’s an interesting exercise.

  1. Create a cause. Thankfully for the church, we already have a cause. No need to sweat this one.
  2. Love the cause. Kawasaki says ‘evangelist’ isn’t a job title, it’s a way of life. Sound familiar? He also says, “No matter how great the person, if he doesn’t love the cause, he cannot be a good evangelist for it,” which might be a useful point in the debate over Christian/non-Christian marketers.
  3. Look for agnostics, ignore atheists. Basically it’s more productive to go for those who are more likely to buy in. That makes sense for business, and is a worthy reminder for the church, but we’re also called to go after those least likely to buy in, whether it’s productive or not.
  4. Localize the pain. Christianese and revolutionary language aren’t helpful–how is faith practical? Our faith may also be revolutionary, but that may not be the best way in.
  5. Let people test drive the cause. It’s hard to imagine test-driving a faith and in some ways it’s very contrary to the way Christians think, but letting someone tag along and “try out” church without making a commitment can be huge. Does your church leave room for people to test drive Christianity.
  6. Learn to give a demo. This is one where many Christians, myself included, flounder. Can I explain my faith in a way that makes people excited? Can my church explain it in a way that gets people interested?
  7. Provide a safe first step. Goes back to the idea of a demo. Is the “safe” first step an alter call in front of a thousand people? Are there too many expectations on a new Christian?
  8. Ignore pedigrees. The church so easily panders to those with power. But Jesus wanted the masses.
  9. Never tell a lie. This should be a no-brainer for the church, but sadly many of us are hypocrites, and that never helps the cause.
  10. Remember your friends. New convert begats new convert. That’s how the church started.
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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7 Responses to “The Art of Evangelism”

  • beza1e1
    January 27, 2006

    Trivia: Did you know Kawasaki attended the Billy Graham evangelism school? ;)

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  • Dan
    January 27, 2006

    It’s funny that many Christians have an issue with the term “marketing” while the the businessworld is busy co-opting the word “evangelism.”

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  • Jim McGee
    January 27, 2006

    I like the idea of churches providing a “safe first step” as long as they seek to balance it with a “dangerous later leap.”
    Yes, we have to make church more accessible. But the reason much of the culture considers church irrelevant is because it is ONLY safe. To be faithful to the cause, we must call for and demonstrate the sacrificial commitment, which can be very attractive AND off-putting.
    Can we enable people to try out church safely while also exposing them to the danger of living fully for Christ? That would be artistic evangelism.

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  • Dan
    January 28, 2006

    I came up with some scriptural support for each point and posted it on my blog. Try these on for size:
    1. Create a cause. (The Gospel’s not about church “growth.” It’s about saving people. Proverbs 24:11.)
    2. Love the cause.(See Paul, who gave it all up. Philippians 3:8)
    3. Look for agnostics, ignore atheists. (Pearls before swine?)
    4. Localize the pain. (“All things to all men” means offering the one thing to one man that means the most. to that man. I Corinthians 9:22)
    5. Let people test drive the cause. (“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8)
    6. Learn to give a demo.(Our “demo” is our life. John 13:35.
    7. Provide a safe first step.(Go therefore and “make disciples,” a step by step process.)
    8. Ignore pedigrees. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.” Gal. 3:28)
    9. Never tell a lie. (I Tim. 2:7)
    10. Remember your friends. (“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world,” Paul said to his old friends who had settled in Rome. Romans 1:8)
    These were off the top of my head. There probably are better passages.

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  • Kristie
    January 31, 2006

    The irony is that some Christians get as (or more) excited about their Macs than their faith. I like my Mac, but my husband and I always remind ourselves not to become “macevangelists.”

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  • Todd
    April 7, 2006

    I know this comment comes really late, but I hadn’t seen this post until I stopped by for a visit. I’ve been posting in a series that interacts with Guy Kawasaki’s principles. I’m only on part 4, taking my time I guess. If anyone is interested, it can be found here: with the title, “Rediscovering the lost art of evangelism episode 4.” Prior episodes are in the archives.
    Sorry for the shameless blog promotion, but I liked this idea–and enjoyed Kevin’s post and the comments that followed. Good stuff to think about.

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Evangelism & Outreach