Blog Archives

Missional Training # 19 – Sharing the Gospel…with a little help from your friends

Sharing the Gospel or inviting someone to a church service, missional community, or a small group can often feel intimidating.  Christians all know that we’re called to make disciples of all nations, to be witnesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.   We know we’re called to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth.  We even want to be effective at this mission.  We want to see or family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers know the life and love they can have in Jesus. Yet, at times we don’t know where to begin.

We have all  seen or heard about a lot of high-pressure evangelist encounters that seemed more like an argument than a sharing of the hope we have in Jesus.  Maybe you’ve actually been the one pressuring someone else to come to become a Christian.   Or maybe you’ve sat there and heard a friend or coworker vent about someone who was “trying to push their faith” on them.   Perhaps, you were just minding your own business and some well-meaning Christians kept pushing tracts in your face, forcing conversation, and if you, a fellow Christian, felt uncomfortable.  We know we don’t want to reach out that way, but we are left unsure of how to go about it.

For most of us we have one big problem with evangelism.  We fear others.  We’re afraid of what people might think of us after we mention the name of Jesus or the word, Church.  We are afraid of what might happen when we step on a stranger’s door step.  We’re even a bit afraid that they might view us as that angry judgmental person.  Perhaps we have all these fears and negative emotions because we view evangelism in the wrong way.

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis suggest that evangelism is actually meant to be a team activity, that we’re meant to share and show the faith together, over time, through relationships.  We recognize here that not everyone shares the same gifts.  Chester and Timmis suggest that there are a few ways that everyone can be involved in witnessing: Building relationships, Sharing the Gospel, and Introducing to Community 

In their book, Total Church, they share this diagram to show how multiple Christians can be involved in witnessing to one person:

Building Relationships

As Christians we should always be interested in knowing new people and getting to know the unchurch people around us.  Especially in a church plant, it is essential that all of our member are regularly starting new relationships with people on the fringes of their life, and depening relationships with the unchurched people they know.  There are people who are extremely gifted at meeting new people and starting relationships with them.

Sharing the Gospel

When we live the Christian life in front of an unbeleiving world, people will take notive of the way we love, sacrafice, and serve and will ask us of our faith.  All Christians all called to be ready to answer when someone asks the reason of our hope.  When we have opportunity, and the Spirit moves us, we’re called to speak.  Yet, for some this come much easier.  Some people can turn everyday conversation into a exhortation to beleive in Jesus.

Introducing to Community

Most of us have people in our lives that are unchurched or dechurched.  The difficult thing is trying to figure out how to get them to church or to sit down and talk about Jesus in a productive way.  Yet, often times all we have to do is to introduce them to the wider community.  It’s hard to just start up a religious conversation and it seem natural.  Its even difficult to simply get someone to agree to go to church, yet its pretty easy to ask them to a barbeque or a movie.  Somepeople are naturals at connecting people.  Someone great in this area might host great parties or plan some great events or they might be simply good at inviting a unchurched friend and beleiving friends to the same place.  The more relationships built, the better, because the unchurched person sees the Gospel play out in the lives of Christians.  There is also, then, a greater chance that the unchurched person might really connect with one of the Christians, which can open the door to greater Gospel converstaions.

When evangelism becomes a community project, it becomes easy and fun.  Everyone has a part to play.  No matter your gift.  God can use you.  He’s save you for this very purpose.  Trust in his Spirit to lead you.

Questions:

  • Who do you know that is far from Jesus?  How can you start to build relationships with them?
  • If you’re not gifted at sharing the faith, who do you need to introduce them to?
  • What kinds of events or settings can you imagine your unchurch and your church friends mingling at?
  • What strand or strands of evangelism are you most comfortable and gifted with?  What other types of Christians do you need to partner with to help reach your friends?

Read more about outreach in missional communities here

Images found here

Advertisements

Great thoughts on sharing your faith. I would add that foundational to all of this is to share life regularly with those around you.

gospel dots

I read these on Tim Chester’s blog today and thought it was too good to keep to myself:

  1. Let people around you know you are a Christian (in a natural, unforced way)
  2. Ask friends about their faith – and just listen!
  3. Listen to your friends’ problems – maybe offer to pray for them
  4. Share your problems with others – testify to how your faith helps you
  5. Give them a book to read
  6. Share your story
  7. Answer objections and questions
  8. Invite them to a church event
  9. Offer to read the Bible with them
  10. Take them to an explore course

The kicker comes in his explanation. These are arranged from 1-10 as a progression. We too often start with numbers 8-10, but we need to start with 1-4 with most people. In fact, he says, we may need to loop through 1-4 multiple times before getting to the later steps. Not only…

View original post 161 more words

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 3

In Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

In Part 2, we talked about how the Christian life and a personal faith story adds validity to sharing the Gospel Story.  Today I want to share why it’s important to always be ready to share these stories.

We all have people in our lives that we know are far from Christ and we feel like we’re called to share the gospel with them.  For my mother, this person was her hairdresser.  She prayed for her daily and always wanted to share the faith with her, but she never saw a natural way to bring it up.   

Every time my mother came home from getting her fair done, she’d stand at the door smiling, waiting to see if anyone noticed her new hairdo.  We almost grew to expect it and we’d keep an eye out for her return so that we would remember to say something about her hair style.

One spring day she went to her hair dresser again.  When she go home, all of us were looked up, ready to check out her new hairstyle, and we noticed that she wasn’t smiling, but she looked like the dog died. 

After some prodding, my mother shared that her hair dresser had asked why my mother was getter her hair cut.  My mom responded that it that she was getting ready for Easter later on that week.  Then the hair stylist asked, “That’s one thing I’ve never understood about Christians.  Why is Easter so important to you guys?” 

My mom panicked.  She simply said, “Oh, that’s when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead”….and that was all she said.

Now was my mother’s answer wrong? No!  Not at all!  It was spot on. Yet she could have given a better answer.  She didn’t make the most of the opportunity God had granted her.  In fact, her answer probably didn’t make much sense to the hair dresser.  Yet if she was prepared ahead of time, she could have shared the grand story of why Easter is important through: Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.    If she had memorized those four themes, she wouldn’t have panicked and would have given a much greater answer that explained the significance of Christ’s death. 

This encounter wither her hair dresser was years ago.  My mother has been looking for another chance to talk to her about Christ ever since.  Don’t miss your opportunity.  Be prepared to Share God’s Story and to share how it has changed your Story.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 2

Yesterday, in Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

You’ve been saved by believing the Good News of that Story.  You need to be ready to share it as well because God will allow you opportunities to be his witnesses.   Yet what makes that story ring true? They need to see it working in your life.   

Before Peter tells us to be ready to share the Gospel Story, he says in 1 Peter2:12,

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

For people to believe the message of Jesus, they often have to first see it working in our lives.  So, we should try to live our lives as if we truly do believe that God owns everything, that he has given us everything we need in Jesus, and that he will give us life eternal with Him.  When we don’t do this perfectly because we are still sinners, we can’t cover it up and act “holier than thou.”  Rather we need to be honest about our struggles and be ready to live lives of confession, repentance, and forgiveness openly so that others see that the Christian life is attainable and not just for the morally superior.   They also then see the Grace of God in action. 

 

How To Share Your Story

Besides being willing to live the Christian Life,  we also need to be prepared to Share how God’s Story has affected us.  The best way of doing this is by following this outline:

  1. How Was I before Christ?
  2. How Christ came into my life?
  3. How He changed me and my life?

I’m Lutheran, so in my church body we baptize as infants and teach our children the faith from infancy.  Many of us can’t remember a time that we didn’t believe.  So instead of talking about when we became Christians, the pivotal point in our story is when our faith became our own and not just what our parents taught us, or when our faith was tested and how it brought us through difficult times.   So our stories might look a little different.  It might go something like this. 

  1. I was raised in the faith
  2. When I made my faith my own/ how I grew in it
  3. How it changed me

or

  1. I was a Christian
  2. I faced a horribly difficult situation
  3. How my faith gave me hope and strength

 

My Story

Personally, I’m a mix of both story methods. 

1) I grew up in the faith, but I was never taught why I should believe.  I walked away from God and became a selfish individual.  Everything I did was for my own benefit.  I was in every relationship I had for only as long as I got something out of it.  I was willing to lie, steal, or to hurt anyone to forward my own agenda of become successful. 

2) Yet I ran into difficult times which forced me to reexamine the faith.  After much study I found out how real God was, and how reliable his word was.  I was floored by the love that He showed us by sending his Son to pay for all the bad things I had done.  I soon realized my life shouldn’t be about me, but really everything was about Him.

3) Now I try to live every day of my life for God instead of myself.  I don’t do this perfectly, but I continue to try to serve God with my life because of everything he did for me through Jesus.

How would you tell your own story of Faith?  Feel free to share it in the comment section.

Tomorrow I’ll share why it’s so important to always be ready to share these stories.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 1

As Christians we’ve been transformed trough the message, or story, of what God has done for us through Jesus (Romans 10:13-17). The story has been passed on to us, and we’re also called to then pass on that story to others that they too might believe.  The apostle writes in 1st Peter 3:15

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Peter doesn’t call on all Christians to be evangelists, or street preachers, or those annoying people who harass you until they get you to accept a bible tract.  Rather, what he says is to be ready to share the Gospel.  If you’re living the Christian life, some how some way people will notice.  In their time of need, or plainly out of curiosity, they will ask you for the reason for your hope.  So you must be prepared to share it.  To do this, you’ll need to know the basics of the biblical story. 

How To Tell God’s Story

The easiest way is to remember these four elements.

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

If you have these four elements, you can tell people of the entire redemptive act of Jesus. 

(Creation) God created this world perfect.  It was everything we yearn for.  The world was good.  We had peace with God, with each other, with the animals, & with nature.  It was heaven on earth. 

(Fall) Yet God had an enemy who convinced humanity that they didn’t need God and that they could run the world better.  So humanity was led into rebellion (that is sin) against God.  Because of that rebellion, the world isn’t how it should be.  There are natural disasters, wars, famine, hatred, suffering, and death.  Yet God couldn’t bear for this to go on forever.

(Redemption)  He sent his one and only son, Jesus, into the war zone of this world to offer a truce.  He paid the price of our rebellion on the cross so that we could be pardoned and forgiven.  He has made it possible for a relationship with God again.

(Restoration) Yet God didn’t leave it there.  One day, he will come back and restore all of the creation to what it was meant to be.  There will be no more wars, sorrow, weeping or pain.  It will be heaven on earth once more.  Everything will be made right. 

This narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption & Restoration is something every Christian needs to know how to share.  Try to speak or to write the gospel story following Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.  Feel free to leave your attempt in the comment section below. 

Tomorrow, I’ll share what makes people trust the  Biblical Story

Mission through Meals

I’m currently reading through: A Meal With Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community and Mission Around the Table.  It’s a great way to understand how to take a regular rhythm of life and living it with Gospel-intentionality. 

Pastor James Hein's Blog

Crossing my mind. Mind on the cross.

Family Friendly Faith

May God use these pages to bless, encourage and strengthen you.

Sweet Rains

"He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

Faith In Motion

Thoughts on life in light of the Gospel

Provocations & Pantings

Trusting God :: Treasuring Christ :: Triumphing the Gospel

TRANSFORMINGstory

Positively Living Life & Sharing Faith

docshawn

love. serve. lead

multiply

Following Jesus' Command to Make Disciples

JORDAN ELDER

helping others move forward toward Christ, community, and mission

Nate Navarro

love God. love people. don't go alone.

#KingdomCome

Help wanted: Desperate sinners transformed by Jesus to start a revolution. Inquire within.

The Tentmaker Blog

Using paid employment for Kingdom ministry

khamneithang

instigating a life, one story at a time...

Joewulf

Learning to believe and journey toward Jesus

SoulThirst Church

Saturating the world with the astounding love and truth of the Savior King

KPB Stevens

Fiction, Nonfiction, and More

Plasso

Spontaneous acts of controlled synesthesia

Missional Church Planting

a misson alive blog

%d bloggers like this: