In order to be effective in reaching the lost, we have to think of evangelism in two parts. One is called pre-evangelism, and the other is called evangelism. Let me explain.
Pre-evangelism are those things we do to show people how much we sincerely care about them. It’s trite, but it’s true. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. The kinds of things we can do that demonstrate to people how much we care consists of everything from giving a person a ride to work because their car has broken down or extending a loaf of bread to the needy. It can be something done on an individual level, or it can be done on a group level. It all depends on the situation. Usually someone who has been more hardened to the gospel requires more pre-evangelism than someone else because he needs to know we sincerely care about him.
Pre-evangelism is a way to put into action 1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
The second part is evangelism. Evangelism biblically defined is sharing the gospel with the intent of seeing the person trust Christ. In other words, it includes both information and invitation.
The information is the gospel; Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). That is the message they need to hear.
Then there’s the invitation, which should be for them to trust Christ as their personal Savior. John 6:47 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
Believe means to trust, depend, or rely on. God is asking us to come to Him as sinners, recognize Christ died for us and rose again, and trust in Him alone as our only way to heaven. Once we trust Christ, we are forever His.
Pre-evangelism is essential to evangelism. It lays a basis for them to hear the message. Evangelism is essential to pre-evangelism. Until we actually share the gospel and invite them to trust Christ, we have not evangelized them. We’ve only done the pre-evangelism part. Both are needed.
In thinking of evangelizing non-Christians, think in these two parts: pre-evangelism and evangelism. Recognize before the Lord how important each one is and how one is essential to the other. If you have evangelism without pre-evangelism, people might sense that you’re just trying to get a “notch on your belt” in terms of bringing them to Christ, but you don’t really care about them. If you do pre-evangelism without evangelism, you’ve not shared with them the most important message they need to hear, and the only one that will bring them to Christ. Ask God to make you fervent and faithful in doing both.