Here’s the fifth of eight principles from the Sharing Jesus Book:
Principle 5: Effective evangelistic conversations connect the unchanging gospel with the specific issues people face.
One of the simplest and most helpful ways to move a conversation to the gospel is to simply ask someone to tell you his or her story. Everyone has a story, right? This allows you to get to know the person better. Remember, we aren’t only sharing Jesus; we are also sharing our lives with people. We don’t just make “contacts,” we seek to make friends! As you hear the person’s story you can learn issues that matter to them and then apply the gospel story to their story. The more you learn the gospel, and the more you talk with people, the more you learn to intersect the gospel with people in every day conversations.
The gospel in its essence is the good news that Jesus has died and risen! The gospel as an epic explains the grand metanarrative of the Bible. In fact, each person’s life represents a metanarrative. I could ask you about your musical interests and we could talk for a while. That’s your musical story. We could talk sports, family, work, and so on. All these individual storylines of your life help to tell your whole story. It’s pretty natural for me to talk to a guy about his story and then show how God’s great story intersects with ours. You can learn that as well. If you want to talk about Jesus to a friend or family member whose story you already know, you could ask about a specific aspect of their story, from movie interests to entertainment choices, from favorite foods to favorite places.
When I meet someone at a coffee shop and ask about his story, I’m not just fishing for a “hook” to witness; I really enjoy getting to know people. But as an ambassador commissioned by Jesus and filled with love both for my Lord and my friend, I naturally want to connect the two. I have nothing better to talk about and nothing greater to tell others than the good news in Jesus!
Invariably, I tell some part of my story of meeting Christ, my testimony of salvation. Your story is amazing. You don’t have to be a former drug addict or a gangster to have a powerful testimony: the Christ you’ve experienced matters far more than the particulars of your experience with Christ. If you’ve never shared your story of coming to Christ with someone, start there. Perhaps you’ve never written out your own story of salvation.
You can do so following this simple outline:
• What was your life like before meeting Jesus?
• How did Jesus change your life? (Include both an explanation of the gospel and the circumstances when you trusted him.)
• How is your life changing from when you met him until now?
You can hear the other person’s story, then share your story of conversion, followed by asking, “Has anything like this ever happened to you?”
I offer four other approaches in the fifth chapter of the Sharing Jesus book, but I hope this one encourages you!