Ice Cream Evangelism

Larry WitzelEvangelism Practices


The last couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm here in the Pacific Northwest, and last Sunday was especially hot. My kids pulled out the slip-n-slide, and spent the afternoon staying cool with their neighborhood friends.

Then they heard that magical sound coming down the street: the distinctive chimes of the ice cream truck. Thinking about those kids all lined up, dancing in expectation of a tasty treat, it gets me wondering: how can we make our evangelistic efforts more like an ice cream truck? Here are some thoughts:

Evangelistic Lessons from the Ice Cream Truck

It goes where the people are. You can buy ice cream many places, of course. But the ice cream truck is special: it comes to you.

In your evangelism, are you going where the people are? Or do you expect them to come to you?

It has built a reputation through repetition. As soon as the electronic melodies start wafting through the neighborhood everybody knows: ice cream is coming. It’s an amazing thing to watch, children scattering to their homes at the first sound, calling out to their parents, “The ice cream truck! The ice cream truck!”

What is your community reputation built on? When you announce an upcoming event do people come? Do they invite their friends?

It targets a need at the right time. The sun is hot, and ice cream is cold. Ice cream trucks make the most of a limited season to attract all the people they can.

Does your evangelistic activity meet a need felt by people in your community? When is the best time for your campaign? When will the most people be interested or ready to get involved?

It clearly communicates the offer. When you walk up to the truck, you can see pictures of the different treats available, with prices clearly marked. Within a few seconds, you know what you can buy, and what it will cost.

When you’re promoting your evangelistic activity, are you clearly communicating the benefits? Do they know how what you’re offering is going to bless their lives?

It leaves people smiling. As the ice cream truck drives away, it leaves behind children with smiles—and ice cream—on their faces.

Smiles are contagious, and people want to be where others are joyful. At your evangelistic event, are your volunteers happy? Do they smile and laugh? Your guests will notice.

It leaves people wanting more. What’s the first thing a child says when they finish their ice cream? “Can I please have some more?”

When people leave your evangelistic event, do they leave hungry for more?

It keeps coming back. I’ve seen the ice cream truck come into our neighborhood several times in a row without selling a thing. But it keeps coming back.

In your evangelistic efforts, do you keep coming back? Or do you try something, then give up?

Jesus Doesn’t Melt

Of course, ice cream is very temporary, and not really good for you. It melts. It’s sticky. Eat too much, and it will leave you with a stomach ache.

What you are offering, however, is Living Water that is inexhaustible. It has permanence, and has radically transformed lives for thousands of years. Let’s take these lessons from the ice cream truck and watch God do amazing things in your church.