My purpose is not to rehash Frank's words in this post. I chose to express my own thoughts as one of the 128 comments which the post has generated to date (see comments #15-18.)
What I think needs to be said about evangelism is simply this: just about any kind of intentional evangelism is better than no evangelism at all.
It would seem that many of those who are most critical of certain kinds of evangelistic methods are the ones who are least involved in personally evangelizing others. To criticize the simplistic methods others are attempting without personally doing anything at all to win others to Christ seems a bit hypocritical.
I fully agree with another commenter on Frank's post Dan Kimbal (#27 down) who stated it this way:
I was at a NT Wright event recently and he said something to the sort, that today we often reject the very forms of evangelism that brought us to faith because we now see them as simplistic. Which they might have been true. But he then said maybe these simple forms are what God uses, as he knew people who stay in the faith for their lifetimes as a result. And it is almost becoming an excuse not to evangelize or to have reasons for not seeing new disciples, blaming for simplistic forms – and ironically, the very ones which God used often to bring us to a decision point for Jesus. It is fascinating to hear that such a large majority of us came to faith in Jesus through an altar call (like I believe you told me you did) or someone sharing with us directly about faith who did “evangelize” us. But now we say that isn’t right, but at the same time being in a local church we just baptized 15 people last week and listening to their stories they were “evangelized” as in proclaiming the good news from someone. Either a family member, or someone who was a friend or someone at the church took the time to explain and go out of their way with them. And I am so happy someone did with me. But all these stories has someone taking the effort and time to do so. It didn’t happen via osmosis without words, explanation also taking place intentionally.
In our own ministry we teach many different contextualized ways we believe are effective in sharing the Gospel with not-yet-believers. We expose trainees to six methods/tools for using in small group evangelism, four ways to evangelize in large groups, and ten tools for personal evangelism.
What we encourage is to use these as an evangelism TOOL BOX. Use the tool that is needed for the situation at hand. You don't want to use a hammer for every job. Sometimes a screw driver is needed, or a wrench, or a combination of various different tools. But all tools are useful in the right context.
I can't tell you how many people have come to Christ over the past decade of teaching these "simplistic" methods. The very ones reached with these "outmoded" methods are today using them to reach their own friends, neighbors, and family. These new believers are then taught to do the same.
As the previous blog entry video slide show of the 60 years of Baptist missionary presence in Ecuador reminded me; it is not so much about what methods were used to bring the Good News to Ecuador. What matters is that people did proclaim and continue to share the Gospel. Some methods are certainly more effective than others, but just about anything attempted is better than nothing at all.