Often we assume that conversion, someone moving across the line of faith, is the goal of evangelism. But so many other steps had to happen to get someone to that point! There is a bigger, more holistic process within which evangelism is a part.
This tool is adapted from James Engel and Wilbert Norton’s book, What’s Gone Wrong with the Harvest?
There is a great divide between evangelism and discipleship - we see them as completely separate and unrelated. In reality they are both part of the same process! The goal of this bigger process is complete transformation of a person into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Evangelism is a word to describe all the steps to get someone to the line of faith - but we don’t stop there! Does the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:16-20) tell us to go into the world and make converts?...NO! We are to make disciples! And the discipleship process never really ends - we all have more to learn, areas to grow in, and character to shape. So you see, evangelism is just pre-conversion discipleship!
This scale is just a simplified representation of all the steps in the evangelism/discipleship process. The scale ranges from someone like Elijah (stage 8) who was whisked away into heaven, all the way to the church in Athens (stage 1) who didn’t even know about Jesus. There are values assigned originally by Engel, which just shows that 0 (the line of faith) is not the beginning of the process!
Of course, no one can judge where someone is on the scale; only God knows because He can see a man’s heart. However, this can be helpful in evangelism or discipleship when thinking about how to bring someone farther along on the process. The mission of God (and our commission with Him) is to make disciples, or simply move people toward the bottom of the scale (and even further!).