Robert Smith Jr., who serves as professor of Christian preaching and holds the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Alabama, shares his thoughts on evangelism following his appearance Jan. 23 at the Statewide Conference on Evangelism and Church Health (ECON) at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Little Rock.  

What do we mean by the word evangelism?  

D. T. Niles famously said that evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. This is a concise and descriptive definition of evangelism. 

How have you seen the role and methods of evangelism change? What are some challenges to traditional methods of evangelism? 

No longer is the door-to-door standard evangelism method extant. Evangelism is now executed through inviting neighbors to life groups, hunting events, fish fries and other recreational activities along with various electronic methods of virtually communicating with people.  

What adjustments do you believe are necessary for effective evangelism in the future? 

Evangelism must become more “frangelism.” We must move from the patio approach of inviting people to privatized events to the porch approach by inviting or entertaining people during the regular course of the week (lunch at the job and other outreach events) through which we form relationships with people before we invite them to Jesus. A prime example is Jesus talking to the woman at the well about water before inviting her to drink of the Living Water — Himself. 

What advice/practical help would you give to assist pastors and churches in evangelism?  

We must needs go through Samaria by going to Samaria. If the church is to be a Kodak moment of the future state of eternity, diversified in its appearance and expressions, it must move from simply inviting people to initiating contact with people. We must make perpetual efforts to go to Samaria and not wait until Samaria comes to us. This means it will not be enough for the church to continue to look like us. We don’t reach people effectively because oftentimes we don’t know them. We don’t know them because we won’t go to Samaria to identify with them.  

Smith was one of several special guests to share the Gospel during the Evangelism Conference held Jan. 23-24. For more coverage, check out the Arkansas Baptist News’ article, Evangelism Conference equips, encourages Arkansas Baptists 

For more about Smith, visit  

Share this article


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the
ABN eMagazine

Sign up to receive the ABN Digital News Magazine in your email inbox. New issues arrive every other Thursday.

Copyright © 2023 Arkansas Baptist News