Words have meaning. Distinctions are important. We get so confused over several things – what is the Gospel? (check out Gospel in my categories) and others including evangelism.
Jared C. Wilson posts a piece on evangelism notness from Bobby Jamieson at 9Marks.
What Evangelism Isn’t
From Reaching the Lost: Evangelism, the Bible study guide from 9Marks.
Evangelism is not:
Personal testimony. Talking about what God has done in your life may encourage Christians and intrigue non-Christians. And there’s certainly a place for this in evangelism. But simply sharing about what God has done in your life isn’t necessarily evangelism. Evangelism is telling others about what Jesus Christ has done to save every sinner who will ever turn from their sin and trust in Jesus.
Social action. When we care for the poor, defend the defenseless, and work for a more just society we may commend the gospel, but we haven’t shared it. Evangelism is telling others the gospel. Contrary to the opinion of some, that can’t be done without words!
Apologetics. Defending the faith against unbelievers’ objections can lead to evangelism, but apologetics is not evangelism. Apologetics is a useful tool, but if we’re not careful it can actually distract us from evangelism, which is telling the good news about Jesus Christ.
The results of evangelism. We can share the gospel. We can’t make anyone believe it. Thinking that we haven’t evangelized unless people have been converted is a serious error that can cripple Christians with a sense of failure and guilt. But if we recognize that our job is merely to tell others the good news about Christ and call them to repent and believe, we are liberated to simply preach the gospel and pray for God to change hearts.