This is a short, punchy book about evangelism. The author is vicar of a conservative, evangelical Anglican church. You can quickly tell he isn’t someone holed up in a study who never talks to unbelievers. It is practical, realistic and motivating. At just 10 chapters long, it is also an easy read.
Williams aims to tackle the fear that stops us evangelising. He argues that half our battle is getting ourselves ready so that we know what to say. We need to be more intentional — hence the title. His big point is that we should always ‘take people to Jesus’ rather than, say, argue about a point of archaeology or a moral issue currently in the news.
Underlying this point lies a Reformed view of conversion, recognising that God uses his Word to convert people, rather than clever arguments built on reason.
Once you’ve answered a questioner by taking them to Jesus, Williams argues that you should then ‘take the initiative’ by following up with your own questions. This is in the hope that we can, thirdly, ‘take people to the cross’ (explain the gospel more fully). This is all fleshed out practically with lots of examples.
The strength of the book is definitely its practicality. It offers an intentional way to approach conversations. If your mind tends to go blank when the conversation turns to Christ, this book would be helpful. Williams suggests always carrying a Bible around in your bag, ready to use in witnessing. He even suggests Bible passages to point people to when they ask specific questions.
The book’s strength is perhaps what contributes to a slight weakness. At points it feels a bit simplistic. For example, I was unconvinced by the way Williams worked out his answer to why God exists. Taking it straight to Jesus, in that instance, seems to ignore the apostle Paul’s approach in Acts 14 and 17, as well as Romans 1-3, where he first teaches a doctrine of creation as the context in which to understand the gospel.
But, in spite of that caveat, this little book on the nuts and bolts of evangelism would be a great help to those whose immediate reaction is to panic when a conversation veers towards Christ. Williams’ own enthusiasm to share Christ will do you good.