Principle 5 from the Sharing Jesus Book–Connecting the timeless with the timely

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!

Eight Weeks of Effective Witness: It. Takes. Time. Patience, My Friends

We who know Jesus and love Jesus and want to share Jesus with others aren’t better than anyone else; we’ve simply received a gift from God made possible by grace. We want others to know Jesus, and we want to share him boldly without being a jerk.

Patience matters. Many of you have people in your life who don’t follow Jesus, and you want to give up talking with them. This short little video encourages you to see both your growth as a witness and your impact in others as a process. It. Takes. Time. Be patient.

By the way, if you haven’t already, sign up to take the Eight Week Challenge here.

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/212591091″ width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/212591091″>Social Media 4</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user1685981″>Alvin Reid</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Eight Weeks of Effective Witness: Principle 5 from the Sharing Jesus Book

Each chapter of the Sharing Jesus book has a principle, eight total, one per week if you are following the Eight Week Challenge. Week five, and thus principle five, has to do with practical ways to bring Jesus into everyday conversations. Some are specific tools or approaches, some are more mindset than method. Here is the principle:

Principle 5: Effective evangelistic conversations connect the unchanging gospel with the specific issues people face.

Here are the five approaches (you’ll have to read the book to get the details):

  1. Stories–everyone has a story. Ask the other person about her story. Then, share your story. As a believer it’s not possible to tell your story without talking about Jesus, right? Then, you can ask her, “Has anything like this happened to you?” From there you can talk more about the gospel based on her response.
  2. Ask good questions–sometimes just learning a few helpful questions makes all the difference. I don’t ask, “Do you go to church?” but I ask, “When you attend church, where do you attend?” The second question assumes the best of the person, and in my experience people are much more likely to admit they aren’t involved in church when the second question is employed. This a) gives you a little info on where they are spiritually, b) turns the conversation toward spiritual matters. Just this Sunday a layman at our church stopped me to tell me how this one shift of questioning has changed his own witness for the better.
  3. Genuine affirmation and encouragement–this is very powerful when done authentically. Note this: You can affirm a person as created in God’s image without endorsing his lifestyle. Focusing on the person God created more than his specific ideology helps to communicate the gospel in a less-than-condescending tone. I mention in the book how this attitude has been most helpful in seeing people come to Christ who were of a different religion (like Muslim) or a different lifestyle (like homosexuality).
  4. Focus on the person’s heart as well as the mind–here is where many make a fundamental mistake by assuming information alone will win people. We don’t reach people only from the neck up; we reach them as a total person, head, hands, and heart.
  5. Connect beneath the surface–one of the most helpful ways to think about gospel conversations for me has been to pay attention when people talk about their pain or their passion, two subjects we constantly discuss. When someone talks about pain, start with the brokenness that comes from sin and take her to the work of Christ for sin and the restoration by Christ.  When someone talks about what he is passionate about, start with God’s design and how he made each of us in his image with a desire to be and do more than just survive. Then take him to the cross to show how we can only really fulfill the passion in our heart by a relationship with Christ.

You can read more about this in the book, but perhaps one of these will encourage you.