Evangelism Interview with Eddie Roman: Defining Success in Evangelism

Me: People have many different ideas about how we measure evangelism. How do we know if we’ve had a successful encounter? What makes success in evangelism?

Eddie: I think the only time we fail at evangelism is when we fail to evangelize. Just talking with someone, whether it’s preaching or a one-on-one conversation, when we explain the gospel to them; when we explain that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead; when we go through the Law and talk about sin and judgement; we have succeeded at evangelism. We should talk about all the things a person needs to know about the gospel and why the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ matters to them. When we explain those things, we are successful, because we have preached the gospel to an unbeliever. Preaching the gospel is what we were commanded to do, it is what we all should be doing. I measure success just in the fact that a person preaches the gospel to someone.

A lot of people measure success based on how the person responds or whether or not the person becomes a Christian, but that’s not Biblical. God is the one that saves people and God is the one who ultimately knows a person’s heart. In Mark 4 you read the parable of the sower and the seed. Realistically we can’t know whether or not a person is saved, or is thinking about God, or even cares about the gospel we’ve explained to them. After we’ve preached the gospel, some receive it with joy yet the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches takes it away. Because of that, I don’t measure success by a person’s reaction because I really don’t know their heart, even when I look at their response. I think the Bible commands us to preach the gospel and when we do that, we’re successful in obeying the Lord.

The Bible commands us to preach the gospel and when we do that, we’re successful!

Me: Great! Understanding success as getting the message out and explaining the gospel to them is a clear and simple measure.

My experience in evangelism has grown from that initial step of handing someone a tract, to having a few conversations, to focusing more on the depth of conversation. What can you tell me about how to grow. What things should you look for to mature in evangelism and disciple-making?

Eddie: One of the main issues that comes up in evangelism is the issue of faithfulness. It’s very easy and even fun to start evangelizing. It’s exciting, you get past your fears. It can be fun going out in a similar way that a mission’s trip is fun. You’re in a new and unknown environment and you’re talking to new people and working together as a team. The same type of feelings can occur when you start evangelizing for the first time. After the initial excitement and newness wears off, then it becomes more of a ministry. Maybe it’s something you do once a week on a certain day with a certain group of people. Just like any other ministry, your life can very easily get in the way. Things will come up, you’ll be busy and things will happen within your family where you’ll be tempted to stop evangelizing on a regular basis. Persecution can happen in the course of reaching out to evangelize, sometimes in the form of losing a friend or maybe a family member getting mad at you. These things can break our hearts. It can change our desire, where we may not want to get into those conflicts or experience that pain anymore. It can be very tempting to give up when you face struggles. I’ve met so many people over the years that still have a big pack of tracts in a drawer or under their bed but haven’t given any out in years because they just stopped. It’s common for people to be “on fire” at the beginning, then for whatever reason, life kicks in and they just stop.

I think the best way for an evangelist to grow is to just continue to press on.

I think the best way for an evangelist to grow is to just continue to press on. The experiences you will have of talking to different people, of having to practice different apologetics, and even being stumped by someone will help you grow. You are forced to go back to your Bible to be ready for the next time. That’s what make an evangelist grow. Many of the best evangelists I know are the ones who have been doing it for many years. Through that experience they grow. They are preaching the exact same message as when they began because the gospel is pretty simple. The experience of talking with people is what makes the difference in the long term.

Me: Many people fear being stumped. I’ve seen very experienced, professional speakers get stumped. It happens to everybody, so we can’t get discouraged. It should spur us on to go research it, figure it out, and be prepared for the next time.

Part 1: Profile
Part 2: Defining Success in Evangelism
Part 3: Evangelism Ministry at Church
Part 4: Closing Thoughts and Encouragement

Author: Jon Neifert and Eddie Roman
Posted on September 16 2022