Simon Cox has been a street evangelist in season and out of season for a lot of his Christian life after being “born again” at the age of 21 in India. He has also sold real estate, insurance, art, clothing, service industry needs, roofing and been a Winter Olympic Sponsorship salesman. He has prayed with 1000’s of people on the streets of the world to receive Jesus and personally seen many astounding miracles. He is married to Sandra for 32 years and has four adult children.
“God has given me great grace and for that I am eternally grateful. He saved me from a life that at age 21 was not sustainable. I just love Jesus and want to tell people.” – Simon Cox
Below: Simon answers some pressing questions about evangelism:
1. What advice would you give to those who are passionate about evangelism but have become disheartened by a lack of fruit?
If you have been disheartened by lack of fruit, don’t be. The Bible says the Word of God shall go forth and not return void. When you share the gospel something must happen if not immediately then over time.
I have found fasting to be a wonderful encouragement. Just a one day fast and get into the Word and prayer as you need to go to your coach for instruction.
Sometimes all of us get disheartened in things, imagine Paul in prison or Elijah running from Jezebel after a great victory at Carmel.
Being disheartened just goes with the territory. We must learn to get back on the bike after a fall and get peddling again and push through and get the break through, its a bit like arm wrestling eventually you break through. There are demonic forces aligned against you, so you should pray them out of the area when you go. Ask the Holy Spirit when you go out to, manifest His glory around you.
KEEP GOING AND YOU WILL GET THE BREAKTHROUGH.
Like any business you go through peeks and troughs, highs and lows. Its easy going when everything is great, when its not you need to get your head down and push through.
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2. What have you found to be the most effective steps for the cold calling street evangelism?
I have found the most effective steps for evangelism to be to pick your audience! There is no use trying to pick an apple that is not ripe. If someone just wants to have an argument or is not open just don’t worry about them. God spoke to John the Baptist and said “on who you see the Holy Spirit come upon, this is the Son Of God” So we must aim to reach those who God has been working on and there hearts are soft to the Gospel. A man can receive nothing except it be given to him from above.
We must find our calling to evangelism. Some are called to friendship evangelism, going into hospitals, helping people through your business or career, however with street evangelism I know my market and it is people between age 15 to about 25, I myself will seldom attempt to give anyone a tract outside that age group as my time and energy are limited and people outside that group have other beliefs mostly set in concrete and they have been witnessed to a lot and have mostly rejected the gospel and are a very hard market to me.
The one thing you must try to avoid as a street evangelist is rejection. To avoid this effect you must stay in the Word of God and prayer and then the rejection will come on Jesus on the Cross and not you, because for shore it will come.
Jesus said to his disciple’s greet no man on the way. When you are doing evangelism be careful about religious people attempting to interrogate you. You will learn to pick them and they will seek to influence you like the Pharisees and the Sadducee’s did to Jesus.
The gospel message is simple, “for God so loved the world he gave his only Son …..” We must keep it simple a lot of people will try to complicate it with various theories. Remember you are only speaking to people briefly although some you will make friends with and spend longer with. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
3. What are the mistakes that you see many people making in evangelism?
I don’t see many people making mistakes when doing evangelism and if they are then they will notice them after a while and correct them. A couple of things I have noticed as I said before are people seeking to win people outside their area of calling. Example: My calling is not to people like drug addicts, homeless, alcoholics, gang members. Although saying that I will engage them and pray for them and try to assist them in any way and over four decades I have seen many many healed, set free and go on to become pillars of society, its just it is a calling and many do it better then me, ie: The salvation army, those who operate food vans, counselors etc. I for myself at the age I am have to be careful of whom I choose to interact with and if I see anyone violent or not in control of their faculties I will not seek them out. You have to be very careful and I never give money to anyone.
My age bracket is kind of nice together young people. I have been a businessman and salesman almost my entire life as well so I suppose I kind of look for good clients. A bit like an investment banker seeks a solid company to invest in.
Some people have a wonderful ministry to that area of society and in fact in my younger days of evangelism God used me to minister there powerfully. KNOW YOUR AREA OF INFLUENCE, IE: YOUR MARKETPLACE.
4. Do you use Gospel tracts and if so, which materials do you find effective?
I have always used gospel tracts and they are a great ice breaker. I have had people come past me on the street and I have gone to give them a tract and they told me not to as I gave them one a while ago and they went home, read it, gave their lives to Jesus and are loving going to church. Also with all the different cultures in our society today you can get a variety of tracts to touch those groups. I always carry tracts to give to Muslims about Jesus and Chinese gospels.
I give out many different tracts but the red “Jesus loves you” ones are my favourites. I am not sure where to obtain them as somebody once gave me about five years supply. You can probably google them or buy tracts from your local Christian bookshop. I started my ministry in the bazaars of Old Delhi almost 40 years ago so used tracts all the time. Then I ministered in parts of India and Nepal. At one stage when I was ministering on the streets of Kathmandu I had a bag with tracts in 17 languages such was the variety of people moving to the city. I used Tibetan tracts when the Tibetans would come down to Kathmandu in Autumn and walk around their Buddhist stupors (large religious temples) they would be swinging their prayer wheels and I would hand out 100’s of tracts , slowly the prayer wheels would spin less and less as they read the gospel tracts.
I find a brightly coloured tract works well, they seem to attract people’s attention. TRACTS ARE A GREAT TOOL FOR EVANGELISM.
5. What are some of the struggles you face in reaching the lost?
I have not found many struggles to reach the lost, we have the greatest treasure in the world. As Andrew said to Jesus “all men seek you”.
You must though be careful about who you witness to and remain within the law. Some areas you are not allowed to witness in, ie: malls etc. Don’t go there, whats the point you will get in trouble. Also don’t hassle people or cause a nuisance of yourself.
Be careful and when or if you see trouble just walk away don’t seek to argue just GO! over the years I have been attacked, arrested, interrogated , had numerous death threats and attempts on my life but God has delivered me because I know how to run and at other times stand firm. Its always a good idea if someone is a bit aggressive and standing in front of you to raise your hands in front of you , palms out and try to calm them down. Never leave your hands by your side. This sends them a signal that you are in control.
Avoid anyone drunk, on drugs, or that has a mental illness for your own safety. I know by experience or if you just feel bad about someone do not seek to give them a tract. It is different if there is a lot of you witnessing but if you are by yourself you are more vulnerable so you need to be a bit more careful as Jesus said, “be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves”. Snakes hear trouble coming and seek to get away. I never witness at night time. It’s probably okay if you are in group though.
I guess you always think you can do more than you are doing and street evangelism is not a glamour ministry and it is always tricky when some one you know who does not know you as an evangelist walks past you on the street and kind of does not know which way to look. Although the other week I won a friend of ours to the Lord who walked past me, stopped and wanted to know “why I was standing on a busy suburban street handing out pieces of paper.”
6. Is there any way that our readers can join with you in the work that you do?
Your readers could definitely partner with me and I would love their precious prayer support or if they wanted come out with me. If anyone wants to contact me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also leave a comment below this article.
My book “Heaven is forever” is available through Amazon and Kindle if you would like to read it. It contains 40 visions and dreams the Lord has give me. In it I share when God took to me to heaven and when I did two 40 day fasts and what I saw plus the second coming of Christ and numerous other amazing visions and dreams that will bless you and increase your faith.
God has given me great grace and for that I am eternally grateful. He saved me from a life that at age 21 was not sustainable. I just love Jesus and want to tell people.
7. How can people help to educate, equip and inspire their local church to be passionate and effective in evangelism?
Most churches have some form of outreach and many do street evangelism. A lot have an outward vision, I have always found it to be a lot healthier than an inward vision. A lot support missionaries which is great. Although I now tend to think with the way society is going its great to go to India or Africa, praise God but we have battles for our young and the hearts of our nation raging right outside our doors .
30 to 40 years ago a lot of people I witnessed to believed Jesus was alive but had never accepted him into their hearts as Lord and Saviour, this has drastically changed and I have to more and more tell people he is alive. I win a lot of atheists to the Lord, I tell them God doesn’t believe in Atheism. If you don’t sow you will never get a harvest.
8. What type of places do you recommend people going to people want to start street evangelism?
Good places for people to start to do evangelism is basically where there is a lot of people walking past, you need high volume. People are a lot more open to stop and talk when there is a lot of other people passing or around them. I generally stand at the moment between a railway station and an entertainment area in Brisbane’s Fortitude valley. I get waves of people passing. It’s great and the pavement is not to wide and there is a diverse amount of people. Or I stand on a pavement in the CBD with a lot of foot traffic. As an old salesman said to me once when I started selling life Insurance “see the people and then see the people”. Giving out tracts is a numbers game, you start off a bit scared and a little embarrassed. So at this stage you just hand them out to anyone who will take them. Then you get a surprise one day when someone stops and wants to talk to you about Jesus. At this stage just talk to them, it will give you confidence.
When I first started I got a huge fright when somebody first stopped and wanted to talk about Jesus. Then after a while someone comes along and wants to accept Jesus into their hearts, at this stage you are not sure what to do so you just pray with them and they get all excited and want to come to church with you and your confidence grows and grows. I was at this stage in Kathmandu where I was working for YWAM amongst world travelers on “freak street” I remember when the most” out there” hippie and his girlfriend became Christians!!!!!! Through my ministry and their lives changed radically. Also its good to ask people if they want you to pray for anything in their lives. Once I prayed for drug addict in a hospital in Nepal and he gave up heroin, hashish and tobacco and came to live at the YWAM base. We are a bit like the boy with the loaves and fishes , I bet he got a fright when he saw all those people fed. We are not all called to be Apostles, or prophets or pastors or great gifted teaches or huge evangelists, but anyone can get a few tracts, head off downtown and be used by God mightily. If God used the jaw of an ass with Samson to deliver the Israelites then He can use your or my jaw.
9. Apart from God and the Bible, what have been the biggest influences on your evangelism (i.e: which ministries, teachings, books)
There are various groups and organizations that do evangelism and it is a good way to get stared. It happened to me that way, I was in a church in Delhi and they were full on evangelical so I just kind of tagged along then I joined YWAM which is like putting a rocket under you, they are great and I would highly recommend a DTS with them. I got saved through YWAM when I was 21 and had been living in Asia and India for a while. They used to run Dilaram House, kind of half way houses and I lived in a few. Seek out like minded people in your church and plan a strategy to save the lost. In a small town its a bit harder because everybody knows you so you have to be a bit more hospitality or friendship evangelism or go from house to house offering to put people on a prayer list who need a touch from God.
I have ministered in a small town where I lived for a while and raised my family, but God broke out in a healing revival amongst the clients of the business I established there and to this day I have not seen a larger and more powerful outbreak of the healing power of God in my ministry, it was astounding. One child of six months old received new Kidneys, another lady was healed of a broken back, a lady healed of a brain tumor, a guy healed and able to rotate his wrist after it was fused after a motorcycle accident to name a few.
So long as we stay open God will bring opportunity to share the gospel across our path.
10. Do you have any other Evangelism tips or advice?
Jesus said “GO ” so if you have a burden for the lost, just go and God will direct your path and tune you up. I have done all types of evangelism, open air preaching through cities, healing services, friendship evangelism, open house evangelism ( when I ran a Christian community of three houses in an inner city area”.)
When people stop or you ask them to stop on the street if possible shake their hands and ask them their name. Shaking hands is a powerful ice breaker.
Prayer and fasting is a powerful faith builder.
If you seek to be an Evangelist first God will call you, you will feel a pull in your heart to the lost, then he will consecrate you, ie: he will prepare you and you will go through this stage, them he will commission you and give you your orders and a specific anointing of the Holy Ghost. This is a distinct ministry.
I pray for people on the street, prophecy over them and cast out demons and pray for healings. God has not let me down and I have seen thousands touched by his hand. I often think of that word in the Bible those people stood before Jesus and said” lord did we not prophecy, cast out demons and do mighty works for you etc and he said “depart from me I never knew you” We as Christians always think these guys were doing all this but they were evil. I have a different slant to it, I personally believe that they appeared before God on the day of judgment and they said all these things but in actual fact they were lying and had not done them. They were called of God to do them but refused the call. I mean you have to be walking in God to cast out demons and perform miracles. That’s my theory anyway.
William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army said that he would rather have his soldiers spend 5 seconds dangling over the fires of hell than five years in a Bible School. We as evangelists tirelessly preach Christ crucified because we love people and want the best for them as Paul said ” the love of Christ constrains Us” so we preach Christ in cities and nations of the earth in season and out of season seeking to save them that are appointed for salvation. we endure hardship as good soldiers .
I give out tracts and then if someone takes one (ie: like a fish taking the bait) I hold out my hand , they take it and I say “what’s your name” They tell me their name and I say, ie: Peter, God has called you and I am going to pray for you. They say Ok. Then I say to them , say this “Heavenly father I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus come into my heart “and they all do it. Then I say to them “Peter in the name of Jesus I remit any sin you have committed and I loosen you from the kingdom of darkness and bind you to the kingdom of God. Now receive the power of the Holy Ghost . Peter the bible says many are called , but few chosen. You are chosen of God, do you know why? they say “no” and I say” because you have a good heart and God loves people that love people”. Peter (I give them a Gospel” God is now going to speak to you as you read this message from God to you. When you go home, close your door and talk to Jesus and you will feel his presence fill the room. Go to a good church, this is so important (ask them where they live and direct them to one, although a lot have a relative or friend that goes to one, or some are even going to church but have not made commitment) I tell them a good church is one that after the service people will seek to engage you in conversation and care for you. I also give them a business card of a friend of mine who runs an online bible study which is interactive and his telephone number.
Sometimes I have visions for them or prophecies and I say these words powerfully and mean it. I hold out the word of life and they either take it or not.
Some people say “yes, but are they born again”, that’s not up to me, only the Holy Ghost truly knows the human heart and whether people really mean it and have faith, that’s His domain. I personally cannot get anyone born again. I can hold out the sceptre, but it is up to them to take it. When they say “father I receive Jesus Christ as my lord and saviour, I then also get them to say “Jesus come into my heart”
You must command people to say this, don’t dither . Jesus just said to his followers, “Follow me” and he said it with such authority that they did. Take that authority from the hand of God by faith and you will see hundreds touched by God, maybe thousands.
The gospel is not bought it has to be sold.
As the bible says “be bold and you will make a fortune, be timid and you will come to nothing” people feel confident when you are bold.
The keys for evangelism are these, “Seek the Lord, seek the Lord and then seek the Lord. Then see the people, see the people and then see the people”
“God uses the foolish things of this world to bring to naught things that are”.
“Only the blood of Jesus can clean a man from sin and make him whiter than snow.”
“The kingdom of God is taken by violence and violent men take it by force”.