In a previous post titled “What is Evangelism?”, the following definition of what it means ‘to evangelize’ was presented:
“To evangelize is to present Christ Jesus to sinful people in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to put their trust in God through Him.”
The article proposed that this definition defined four important aspects of personal evangelism:
1. It defines the mission of the evangelist – “to present Christ”.
2. It defines the primary audience for the gospel message – “sinful people”.
3. It defines the problem the gospel message addresses – “our sin”.
4. It defines the power behind both the gospel message and the response to that message – the Holy Spirit, thus establishing the sovereignty of God in the salvation of men.
Armed with the above definition, and with a burden for a lost loved one, friend, or even a perfect stranger, you are ready to go. How does it start?
First of all, pray – before, during, and after. Pray specifically that God will open hearts to receive the message. And secondly, no matter how you get the conversation off the ground, do so with gentleness and respect. Remember that it is God who saves and that your mission is simply to share Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t ‘force’ a conversation. You could actually enter an ongoing conversation, or you might have an opportunity to initiate the discussion. What follows is an example of the conversation process.
1. Just start talking about a current news item in which somebody did something we all would consider a bad thing to do. Just pick something that’s a hot topic. Once you start talking about it and are agreed that so-and-so did a bad thing, ask…..
2. Why did so-and-so do that? That WILL get an answer. The answer will guide you to the next question. Whatever the answer is it will be what your conversation partner thinks motivated so-and-so to do a bad thing. Whatever the specific answer is, it will automatically lead to the next question. Example might be: “I think he/she must be a bad person.” then ask:
3. WHY/HOW is it that so-and-so is bad? You can get a variety of reasons to lead you to the NEXT question.
The object of the questions is to be able to get to a point of agreement that the real problem is something ‘inside’ so-and-so. Outside influences don’t cause bad behavior. There’s something inside a person that is at issue. In James we are told that we sin when we are drawn away by our own lust/passions. Keep that in the back of your mind.
Once you agree about an internal problem ask:
4. What do you think the internal problem is?,. You can even add ….’and how did you think it got there?’ Regardless of the answer you can inject God into the discussion with something that doesn’t accuse, but rather points out that there’s a book called the Bible that talks about this guy called Adam. You are sharing a story from a ‘source’ document, not preaching. And it keeps going.
Once you agree it very well could be this thing called sin (the bad news of the gospel) you ask another question:
5. What do you think can be done to solve the problem of sin? You know the answer and prayerfully anticipate the opportunity to provide another answer from the same ‘source’ book.
And the conversation continues step by step until you have shared God’s answer from the ‘source’ book. At some point it might be time to consider a response to the message. Then you can say something like “Based on what you have heard so far, do you think you are ready to respond (the gospel must be responded to), or ARE you still on the way?” You very could hear that someone is ready to respond, or you could hear a person say, “I’m still on the way, I guess………”, which keeps the door to conversation open.
Do you see what’s going on in the ‘conversation’? You don’t preach, you PRESENT Christ. You don’t push for anything, you just talk about God’s plan of salvation from a ‘source’ book – the Bible. Asking questions shows you care what someone thinks. And really care. If you don’t weep for that lost soul, pray to God for ‘a weep’. He will give it to you.
My friends, be blessed as you share your Savior!