Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Evangelism Advice: Just Do It, Forget "Cool"

The Hardest Part

When I've talked to Christian friends about personal evangelism, and have asked the question, 'What is the most difficult part of talking to non-Christians about the gospel?' I've consistently heard the response, 'Beginning the conversation.' This has been my experience as well: it is akin to 'stage-fright.' I have specific things that I want to say about who Jesus is and what He has done; in fact, I have, at times, thought out a whole perfect conversation in my head. But in the actual workplace or public square, the ideal situation never occurs.

What we would like is for an evangelistic encounter to occur organically: for an ordinary conversation with a non-Christian to develop in such a way that the non-Christian himself raises the issue of Christian belief, or in such a way that he-- at least-- does not feel like talk about Jesus is a complete non sequitur. Now, if a Christian is up-front with his belief, then such 'organic conversations' will occasionally occur. If your non-Christian friend does have a religious question and you are one of the few people he knows who takes religion seriously, then he may naturally bring up a topic related to Christian belief. Far more often, however, you will find that no such golden opportunity presents itself, and then you must be prepared to proclaim the Word 'out of season' (cf. 2 Tim 4:2).

A Recent Example

This coming Lord's Day, I plan to continue teaching through Revelation 1-3 in Sunday school at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. So, this week I have been looking for an opportunity to follow through with my commitment to utilize my text (Rev 1:4-8) in sharing the gospel. (Last week, I had the opportunity to street-preach Rev 1:1-3.) No opportunity seemed naturally apparent, so finally, as I was talking with a co-worker in the faculty workroom at my job, I just said, "Hey, I'm teaching Sunday school on this text at my church this weekend; check it out," then, I showed him the text and talked with him about how it was a summary of some of the most key teachings in the Bible. And this kind of abrupt introduction of the gospel is how many of my evangelistic encounters go: if I'm talking to somebody, I might just ask, "Hey, has anyone ever explained the gospel to you?" If they say, "Yes," then I try to ask them some questions about it; if they say, "No," then I ask if they mind if I tell them about the gospel. This evangelistic method (if it can even be called a "method") isn't too smooth, but I've found that giving up on the idea of being cool has allowed me to speak about the good news of Jesus to many more people: unless someone has had a particularly negative experience with a professing Christian in the past, they're usually not just going to 'shoot you down' if you say you want to talk to them about something important.

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