Rethinking How We Present the Gospel

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In Rethinking the Gospel, I shared briefly on the content of the gospel . . . as envisioned in the New Testament.

However, I believe the way that the gospel is presented should differ depending on the people with whom we share it.

This requires sensitivity to the Spirit and attention to the person’s heart. Jesus Christ didn’t present Himself the same way to everyone.

To some, He warned. To others, He rebuked. To some, He showed compassion and mercy. To some, He asked questions or told parables, etc.

Just examine the way He interacted with various people, and you’ll see monumental differences. In a much overlooked text, Jude describes it like this:

And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh (Jude 22-23, NKJV).

You have the same thing in Paul.

Sometimes Paul says things like “it’s the kindness and mercy of God that leads us to repentance.” In other places he says things like “knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.”

Forgive the personal reference, but as I think back on all the times I’ve shared Christ in one-on-one settings over the years (which includes many miserable failures at trying), I’ve noticed a few interesting things.

With some, I never mentioned the afterlife and focused only on the mercy and love of God for the moment. And I watched people repent and believe on Christ.

With others, I talked about the consequences of their actions and the reality of divine judgment and the suffering of our Lord to deliver us from such. And I watched people repent and believe on Christ.

With still others, I talked about how life only makes sense with Jesus. Without Him, it’s an elegant mixture of vanity and meaningless. And I watched people repent and believe on Christ.

To some (those sick or hurting), I’ve shared Christ as Healer. To others (those in present rebellion against God), I’ve shared Him as Judge. To some (those wracked with guilt), I’ve shared Him as Forgiver. To others (artists), I’ve shared Him as Beauty incarnate.

You get the idea.

Perhaps your experience is different, but most of the people I’ve shared the Lord with didn’t come to Him . . .  immediately at least. But they were certainly nudged in His direction.

Some of them surrendered to Christ years later. Others still haven’t trusted in Him. Others, well, I have no idea as I’ve lost touch with them.

All told: I’ve learned that while the message of the gospel is always the same and changeth not, how Christ is presented should differ from person to person. I could be wrong of course, but that’s how it seems to me. And this principle has shaped the way I talk with non-followers about the Lord.

That said, here are several things I personally keep in view when speaking to a non Christian about Jesus:

  • Try to listen intently to the person and ask them questions. Listen outwardly.
  • Try to be sensitive to the Spirit while talking to them. Seek to discover what God has already done and is doing in their heart. Listen inwardly.
  • Look for an opportunity to allow the love of Christ to bleed through in their circumstances. Embody the gospel.
  • Never view an individual as a project, but as a person. A fellow human being. No more or less deserving than myself. The attitude is that of one beggar telling another where to find bread.
  • The goal is never to “close the deal.” (As a young believer, I thought that was the name of the game and did some damage as a result.) The goal is to be obedient to the Lord in the moment. The results are with Him. And sometimes they don’t show up for years. In fact, you may never end up seeing them in this life.

Keep in mind also that one of the greatest testimonies to the world that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed who He claimed to be is when His people love one another visibly (John 17).

Like the pagan of old once said upon observing the Christians, “Behold how they love one another.”

May it be so again . . .

Share some things you’ve learned about sharing Christ with those who don’t yet know Him from either your failures or successes.

P.S. In the introduction to this talk, I tell a tale of two people who share the gospel with their waitresses. You might find it of interest as it goes along with this post.

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Comments

  1. Fenn M Allen says

    Amen and Amen! Christ stepped into their world and met them where they were. So loving and so personal.

    In my flesh I prefer the 4 Spiritual Laws or some kind of plan- I want control and the security of knowing How I’m going to share. But then I share rules instead of the Person of Jesus Christ.. I share focused on the fruit instead of abiding in The Vine.

    To your point, it is much too mechanical and requires no sensitivity to where an individual is or dependency on the work, filling and power of the Holy Spirit. A person feels the tension of being pushed from point A to Z instead of the draw of the Spirit of God.

    The Lord has used you to help destroy the box I had God in and to point me to Christ as the End and the Means of the Christian life. He is always The Way, even when I FEEL lost [Which has been fairly often since leaving the institutional church- Thanks for messing me up :-) ] while securely in His hand and for always pointing me to Christ as The Way, The Truth and The Life!

    In Him.

  2. kaley mayer says

    I have found that if Christ lives within you one cannot help but share of Him who is in you. He naturally pours Himself out through us, but it requires us to be dead otherwise we taint Christ’s life with ourselves. Sharing Christ with an unbeliever and a believer is the same to me for it both comes from Christ, not myself, which always takes an inward listening hear.

    Thanks for sharing this. Blesses me to hear someone else who feels the same about preaching Christ!

  3. Bill Foster says

    I think your approach here is sound, and I think it works equally well for pre-evangelism as it does for evangelism. I think it’s more effective to explore a non-believer’s assumptions by asking them questions rather than hitting them with a bunch of rote answers (if we have any).

    And I absolutely agree, most people with whom we share Christ don’t come to him immediately. Our job is to present truth –only the Holy Spirit can produce the increase.

    You might be interested in my book and ministry, Meet The Skeptic, which uses an approach that is similar to the one you’ve described here (see URL).

    Thanks for posting.

  4. Christopher says

    The gospel is the ‘Good News’, as Jesus put it this way, and I think that we should present the Good News to the world. Grace is a gift and the awesomeness of Grace is the gift of righteousness we receive in Christ. Instead of being judgemental, present the gospel as God’s gift of righteousness in exchange for our sins through faith in Christ. See Colossians 2:13&14.
    But as the blogger wrote, “This requires sensitivity to the Spirit and attention to the person’s heart. Jesus Christ didn’t present Himself the same way to everyone.”

  5. says

    These are some really good postings on this issue! One thing that stays on my mind is the notion from the NT that we are to be “living epistles to be read of all men.” The lives that we live will say more than our words ever will. [Note from the Blog Manager: please read the rules for commenting. Links to your own posts have been deleted as they are spam. http://frankviola.org/rules ]

  6. Robyn says

    Frank thanks for the reminders and the encouragement to share Christ appropriately, in a relevant and natural manner and from personal experience. Though I can point others to various figures in the Bible and the testimonies of those real, historical figures…and we should…someone face-to-face with me wants to know how God’s power through JESUS is impacting the imperfect me standing before them today. Our visible, vocal modern-day testimony is a continuation of the Gospel in the flesh as Christ lives in generation after generation.

  7. Al Boyce says

    I’d like to briefly share two sharing incidents that reveal two ways I’ve seen God work himself into sharing the Gospel.

    The first involves “embodying” Christ rather than just speaking the Gospel.

    My wife and special needs son used to deliver groceries to homeless camps when our boy was 9 or 10. They would pick up food that was going to be thrown away by a local grocery and chat with the Muslim deli manager. This went on week after week. Sometimes my wife would offer to pray for the man and, on some occasions, he would say “Yes, but not in the name of Jesus.”

    After many months, the man took her aside and said he had become a Christian. My wife was quite surprised, as she had never tried to “close the deal.” He explained that after seeing her and our handicapped son being so loving to the homeless, he had felt their faith was more genuine than his own and had sought out a Christian in his neighborhood to lead him to the Lord.

    The second example was this week, when a former homeless man sought me out for counseling because of a troubled relationship he was having with a woman he met online.

    I listened and listened as he poured out his anguish, but I could not think of anything to say to console or help him. Finally, God told me this man had already expressed to me the words he needed to hear.

    So I repeated back to him two comments he had made:

    “I know that God put this woman in my life for a reason.”

    And

    “Sometimes I feel bad because I love this woman more than I have ever loved God.”

    Hearing those words repeated back stunned him.

    “Maybe God is asking do you love Me enough to let her go.” he said.

  8. Steve Terrell says

    As cliche as it has become…. the simple truth that people don’t care how much you know ’til they know how much you care …is simply profound. I live in ye ole’ bible-belt (Arkansas). Folks here, lost and surrendered alike, have heard enough illustrations of the gospel message to prove true …..preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words. Truly, the message is the same …so I’m convinced we need not over-fashion it, sugar-coat it, water it down, nor use it strictly as ascare tactic. It’s truth is self-evident.. The ambassador-ship of that truth is a responsibility God gave us. I was in Kenya in 2009. Of all that I learned about their culture, in trying to represent Christ, one general theme always held….. “people are people.” plain and simple. Same basic needs, wants, and desires. And despite worldly circumstances (good or bad) ……still sinners, fallen short. Yet, even during our sinfulness… Christ died for us. I get to “preach” on Sundays. The other days…. I’m just trying to learn to carry on a conversation ….with fellow beggars.

  9. Pat Campbell says

    Being outside the IC has brought me into contact, and relationship, with many non-believers and I feel very privileged and hopeful, that any of these souls could be a potential brother or sister. I’ve been praying a LOT!! For example, for my Muslim neighbor from Bangladesh: “Lord, between the language, cultural and religious barriers, I can’t reach her! I need You to do something!”

    Suddenly she came to my home a few weeks ago due to severe marital issues. To my amazement, suddenly she walked into my arms sobbing! Since then I’ve gotten to pray with her, tell her that God became a man, give her some scripture and just show her the love of Jesus. She said, “Our God and your God are the same.” Well, I didn’t get into a discussion about that, but I took it as an open door to pray with her. Today I told her that I’m praying for her and she said, “Thank you.” I feel that the Lord is gently guiding me through these very unusual waters. I don’t know whether my part is just seed sowing or future mid-wifing, but I do know that God is working.

  10. says

    I pretty much witness to the people who are searching for the truth. I was an x-ray technologist and I used to just have people come up to me and start talking about the word, and that’s when I would witness. When it’s people that are around you all the time, it gives you a chance to not only witness, but to disciple. That’s the most important part.

  11. Aaron says

    One of the biggest things i’ve learned since i’ve been witnessing to folks, is the need to come from a viewpoint of love and understanding. Patience goes a long way when presenting the gospel message.

  12. SETH G. says

    Great! Loved it!

    I personally am tired of the lone ranger approach to sharing the gospel. I have no passion for it. I desire to share the good news alongside God’s family. A community approach. I think it is just easier utilizing the many gifts and expressions of Christ. But obviously this is not always an option just a preference. So on the occasion when i don’t have my peeps with me I do what you said Frank talked, and listen to the Holy Spirit and learn from Him how i can reveal Jesus to that person.

    I hardly ever share about judgement. I just dont feel that. If the Spirit leads me to then i will, but I know that God does everything in love and often the way people approach His judgement it does not come out loving. We should make sure as people that we are sharing good news in love when explaining the judgement of the Lord. People have really ruined Jesus’ name in “sharing the gospel” I hear it so much from people that they are tire of proselytizing. I respect you Frank if you can share judgment in love:)

    A side note: Jesus never finished Isa. 61:2 while teaching in Nazareth in Luke 4:18. He never said “and the day of vengeance of our God” So i feel like if Jesus didn’t come yet to establish the day of vengeance i don’t need to really go around shouting about it. My brother Jared is a big proponent of responding to people the way Jesus did because He was the only one to fully explain the Father. I know you say that as well Frank. So if the one who explained Him doesn’t feel the need to explain His vengeance yet why do we? I may be missing something…

  13. Alice Spicer says

    Probably one of the most comforting phrases in scripture is this: “knowing that your labour is not vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58). Since salvation belongs to God, we don’t need to worry about the outcome of those moments when His Spirit prompts us to articulate the most wonderful News. The hearer is in His capable hands.

    There have been several times when I have only been able to utter one sentence or ask one question before the hearer spun into a long anti-Jesus tirade about what he/she does/doesn’t believe. When this happens, inevitably, if I am quiet and listen long enough, it becomes apparent to him/her that he/she doesn’t really know what he/she believes or doesn’t know why he/she believes it.

  14. Dona Leah says

    I will never forget one of the most moving experiences I ever had sharing the Gospel. I was a teenager and running a Christian Coffee House. We were on a busy road that led to a major Maryland beach and the food was free so the place was always full. I was standing with a group of young people and sharing the gospel basics. By that I mean that I had no special “technique” or style, nor did I present the message with any particular skill. Most of the people listening were anything from polite to openly cynical. I am very tall, and found myself drawn to this one beautiful young girl right in front of me who was so petite that she had to bend her neck at an uncomfortable angle to look up into my face. She seemed spellbound. I noticed she had a Crucifix around her neck so I assumed that what I was saying wasn’t completely new to her. But as I spoke her eyes were growing bigger and bigger, and they slowly began to fill with tears. Suddenly she spoke with a voice of sheer awe and said, “If what you are saying is true, it’s the most wonderful thing I have ever heard!” I had grown up hearing the Gospel nearly every day of my life. We had daily devotions in my family, and my father was a minister, so we went to church where he preached the Gospel three times a week. I knew the Gospel was good news. But until that moment I had in some way taken it for granted. When I saw her tears spilling down her face, and heard her reaction, for the first time I realized what it must be like to hear it for the first time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if EVERYBODY responded like that? At any rate, my point is, sometimes it really doesn’t matter what you say or how you say, because when a person is ready that’s all that matters.

  15. Andrew says

    It looks to me like we’ve really hit the heart of the gospel here. It seems like too many Christians are more concerned about statistics and results than people. They want conversions and healings with little to no notice that there are actual human beings on the other end. Yet, when I read the New Testament it seems to me that everything Jesus did was an act of compassion. The same could be said of his followers. I think it’s fair to say (as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 13) that any act of true spiritual value originates in Christ’s compassion. What we need is to let Him love other people through us rather than trying so hard to accomplish something in our own power and for our own purposes.

    • Nancy says

      Andrew, I’ve been mulling over your response for the past hour. Having worked in a ministry role most of my life and now retired, I would agree with the first and last part of your response. Often this is the case when you are in a paid assignment but I would say too there are more opportunities when serving people is your employment. A lot of motivation comes from looking good or earning your pay cheque; it’s sad but true.

      I’m not so sure I agree with your analysis that everything Jesus did was an act of compassion. Perhaps the word passion would be more appropriate. Jesus was known to act out of anger or passion on occasion and we know He wasn’t always silent or compassionate in His responses to the religious leaders who were leading others in the wrong direction. I personally am at times stretched on the issue of when to speak up and when to shut up, when to let compassion rule and when to be passionate or righteously angry. Thanks for your food for thought.

      • SETH G. says

        @Nancy look into these…

        Matt. 9:13 Mat 9:36 Mat 12:7 Mat 14:14 Mat 15:32 Mat 18:27 Mat 20:34 Mar 1:41 Mar 6:34 Mar 8:2 Luk.7:13 Luk.10:33 Luk 15:20

        Compassion does not = silence or shyness. In my opinion everything Jesus did was out of LOVE.[really look into Matt 9:13] And that transfers to the Father as well because Jesus as you know was the FULL representation of Father.

        • Robyn says

          Have to agree that LOVE is definitely the root of all Jesus’ actions…even when angry, even when scolding, just as a parent…we correct, we get justifiably angry because of LOVE…justifiably is the key word. Jesus anger towards one is because of his love for that person or for the love of another whom he is protecting. The Godhead never acts separate from LOVE…because GOD is and embodies LOVE…LOVE is patient, kind, selfless, etc…but it is never weak…

  16. Ben says

    Wonderful post as usual! To me, this is a great example of why I believe every member of the Body should be trained in what is commonly known as “listening evangelism.” This is something the Vineyard movement and a group called Presbyterian Reformed Renewal Ministries International (PRMI) does extremely well. As Frank has said here, we need to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit when doing evangelistic work. The Spirit will guide us just as He did Christ…into a fresh and unique method and approach for each individual we encounter. We need to listen not only for what the Spirit is saying to the Church, but specifically what the Spirit is saying to US about those He wants to use us to draw into His family.

  17. Steven says

    Maybe (likely) I’m just a terrible Christian, but I can only think of one time I’ve explicitly “shared the Gospel” in the traditional, explanatory sense that you sem to be describing. Even that was a bit of an accident, I was looking for a Wendell Berry book in a local bookstore and for some reason explained in detail his Christian ecology to the atheist employee helping me.

    Frank, is it possible that having a sit-down, explain-the-birds-and-bees style talk about the ressurection is uneccesary? Asked another way, is it possible to bring true shalom, wholeness, to a hurting person without telling them “this is what I’m doing here and the theological implications of my interest”. Or does “the talk” have to exist, in some form or another, for restoration to take place.

    Steven

    • says

      Steven: Thanks for your comment. First, if you belong to Him, you are holy and blameless in Christ. We are all horrible in ourselves. Only in Him do we shine. Second, I believe yes to your question. Sometimes the gospel is embodied. The proclaiming of it comes later. In the NT, heralding the gospel always meant the proclamation of Jesus. However, oftentimes the gospel must be embodied and shown before some people will hear anything about what Jesus actually did for them. Especially here in the USA.

  18. J Dan says

    I couldn’t agree more heartily with K Dawson above. Our son, Jeremiah Small, was recently killed by a student of his in northern Iraq. Jeremiah’s life was consistent with 1 Peter 3:15 “-always be ready to give a defense do everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you . . .”
    He poured out his life every day doing everyday things with his students (in and out of the classroom). The compelling life of Christ in him couldn’t help but manifest itself. As a result, hundreds of Kurdish young people can say they encountered TRUTH.
    Christ in us is the only HOPE of glory, now or hereafter!

    • Nancy says

      I can’t help but stop to acknowledge your pain over the loss of your son. God be with you as even in your pain you stop to reach out to others. God bless!

  19. Linda says

    Thank you for your post.

    I had the desire that God gave me the ability to share the Gospel. And now I’m wondering about it because when I was sharing the Gospel (or thinking I was doing so…), sometimes (not always, thanks God) it was because of this fear of not making God happy.
    I’m reading again the NT because I need to have answers from God, because I don’t feel like sharing the Gospel to the non believers is a duty (by the way, thank you for the post “D’ont waste your time being a christian”, it reminds me that I neglected reading the scriptures too much…). I would like to share the Gospel “spiritually”, not by using a method I learnt by heart.

    Linda.

  20. Jared Gustafson says

    I remember passing out tracks when I was 12 years old. For my birthday, I demanded that my family take a walk and as we went out we talk about Jesus to the people we came across. At that time in my life, I would tell EVERYONE I would come across that “Jesus loved them” and pass them a track. The bagger at the grocery store…the mailman…Words cannot express the emense weight I carried. I felt like everyday I awoke to a prison of religious obligation. People were dying and going to hell…the clock was ticking and every waking moment of my life should be spent to stop this from happening. I was told my purpose was to bring glory to God by bringing people to Him. I began to get mentally unstable and show signs of OCD. My church experience only confirmed that I was never enough, did enough, shared enough, prayed enough. We used to sing a song: “read you Bible and you’ll grow grow grow…forget to read and you’ll shrink shrink shrink! I would read the same chapter multiple times a day…and set my timer to make sure I prayed for at least 10 min!
    Jesus came into my prison cell and delivered me from “ministry” or “evengelism” or at least my perception of it. I’m now 24, living organically in Redlands CA, and we have all night prayernand worship meetings:) I’ve had the extraordinary delight and pleasure traveling from various states and even nations sharing about this marvelous man and Lord, Jesus. But it ceased it be about my doing…a self validating conquest called “mission..:” Once I fell deeply in love with Jesus, things have never been the same. All I can say now, is get swept off your feet, mad in love, and just try to contain Him! It’s more of a challenge trying NOT to share then it is re-presenting Jesus naturally as He is in every situation. He’s in us like a river, flowing from a place of intimacy. We are the letters of Christ and live with unveiled faces. (2 Cor 3) They covered Moses but cannot hem the curtain of the temple. He openly displays Hinself upon the willing heart that is bound by love:) A couple of thoughts: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25 that verse coupled woth John 1:18 “…Jesus existed in the bosom of the Father…” As Jesus existed intimately connected to Father, within three years He did so many things that the volumes of history could not contain them. To do so much in such a little time must mean that He lived constantly in action. And it’s not about DOING THINGS as much as it was about Him existing in Him (Father). sorry, I didn’t mean to get preachy. I think Frank really nails it here:)

        • Jared Gustafson says

          Hey. I hope I didn’t come off as I knew everything. A lot of times I have no idea about how to engage people. Sometime I am completely speechless wishing I had words! Lol just wanted to honestly admit I really don’t know exactly how to engage people. I just know I’ve had amazing moments when Jesus works beyond my inability…

  21. Nancy says

    Good post Frank; it’s nice to wake up every morning and have your blog to look forward to.

    I have been successful at following through on the very things you talk about and have done well in the past with bringing several to the Lord just from sensitivity to their situation or needs. The area where I have not been winning is with my own children. I am grieved by this. Both of them will not allow me to speak to them about anything spiritual at all, so of course I have learned how to process each dramatic episode as it comes and ride it out in the only way I know how to. They are both about as seriously rebellious as one can get so it’s difficult to know how to play the loving mom role without being gravely confrontational at times. They are both in their early thirties and away from home. They don’t have any male role models in their lives. I know this isn’t the Dr. Phil hour but can you shed some light on this; other than placing them in the Lord’s hands and continually holding them up in prayer, am I missing the boat on something?

    • says

      Hello Nancy,

      I have been reading through the comments and wanted to stop a moment and encourage you. I am sorry to hear that your sons are rebelling.

      I want to tell you something I told my mother the other day concerning my rebellious younger brother. There comes a point in the life of every child when they become responsible for their choices in the eyes of God.

      Regardless of their circumstances God is greater than any rebellion, or human failures. God entrusted you with two sons but He does not expect you to be their savior. That is too great a responsibility for any human to bare.

      Your sons are now men. You will always be their mother but don’t feel guilty to step back and let them deal with the consequences of their choices. They might never learn otherwise.

      Keep praying. Just because you can’t see what God is already doing doesn’t mean your prayers are not heard. If you haven’t already done so, ask God to provide friends who can become prayer warriors with you. It is very powerful!

      Be careful how much time you spend worrying. That could become a spiritual strong hold for the enemy in your life. I know for me this has been an area that I have continually had to bring to God. It has been a way where I have been trying to control circumstances rather than just trusting that God has things under control.

      Blessings to you dear sister. Be encouraged! In Christ there is victory!

  22. Bethany says

    I’ve always been a little wary of the whole bait and switch method of evangelism that I was taught growing up. To be honest, as a severe introvert, the chances of me starting up a random conversation with a person is really, really slim. And yet, Scripture is very clear that we are to share the hope we have been given.

    I spent a lot of time doing street evangelism as a teenager with my youth group, but to be honest, I don’t remember a single time that I led someone to Jesus through that. As I’m delving into my young adult years at 25, I’m drawn more and more to relational living, especially in my current line of work (a faith-based substance abuse rehab). My life should invite questions about why I live a certain way or make certain choices or respond a certain way to situations. My life should be so full of grace, love and compassion that it opens doors to conversations about God.

    That being said, I definitely think it while the Gospel remains unchanging, who Christ is to each person is different based on how they approach the world. My social circle is mostly musical artists and people given to the more artistic side of like (hipsters, let’s just be honest); to them I present Christ as Absolute Truth and Hope from the affects of sin on the universe. A harsh, demanding Judge would not be attractive to these people, it would push them away. As they grow in knowledge of Christ, they come to understand Him as a just Judge, but that is not how they initially come to love Him.

    • says

      Bethany: Most Christians feel awkward talking to strangers. Me included. Most of the people I have had one on one conversations with about the Lord (and who I had in mind when I wrote the post) were either friends, acquaintances, classmates, or relatives. And they were open to hear about the Lord. There was an open door given.

      • Justin Westcott says

        I think the “open door” idea cannot be stated enough. I was speaking to a friend whom I help disciple just today about their conversation with someone who doesn’t know Jesus. I truly believe that the Spirit is at work drawing all men to Himself, so we are just joining God who is already at work in people. When we can see God working (an “Open Door” per se), it allows us to not have to force the conversation (as, in my experience, typically how it is taught) but allow it to come out of relationship.

  23. says

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sinner’s prayer and its use today in sharing the gospel. It seems to me that it over simplifies what it means to “get saved” and a lot of people have the dangerous false sense of security that they are saved because at one time in their life they prayed this prayer. I think you are right that witnessing should be a conversation, perhaps an extended one, over a period of time rather than looking for an emotional response to an altar call and using that to measure the effectiveness of a church or ministry.

    • says

      Keri, I believe there are many who are feeling this same uneasiness, myself included. Keep seeking the Lord on this. I have been amazed at what He has been teaching me the past several years.

  24. says

    I agree that we need to listen to the Spirit and follow His leading, but there is also some planning we do ahead of time. For me, this has changed drastically over the last few years as I now emphasize the gospel of the Kingdom of God rather than just reciting a few key verses from Romans or John 3:16.

  25. kenneth dawson says

    there is no doubt that when one has realized their co-crucifiction with christ and that the christian life is now christ living his life out of us he will know how and to whom he wants to evangelize using us to do so.

  26. says

    The moments that most leave imprints on my mind are when I spontaneously listen to the Spirit and step out in faith, even when trembling.

    Recently I was at the library. The sunshine had been replaced with threatening clouds during my brief visit inside. A woman was unlocking her bike as I left the parking lot and just then a deafening thunderbolt struck. She flinched, I hit my brakes…the Spirit urged me to back up and offer a ride. Funny thing, I had changed my schedule that morning so there was room in my car for her bike. Huge raindrops began falling as I rolled down the window. She was shocked at my offer, but thrilled.

    She climbed in. As I drove her the 3+ miles to her apartment we shared briefly our struggles with the current economy. She was 60, laid off work and her concern was more for getting the books wet than herself. She kept saying, “God bless you.” She couldn’t believe I picked her up.

    As I unloaded her bike, I hugged her and told her the Lord loves her. She looked at me and said, “I know that now!”

    These are the sharing Jesus moments that leave me in awe of our Lord. His works and timing, His knowing and providing.

  27. Bob Green says

    Even though the person we are dialogueing with may have been searching for a while, I always start with a question like, “Do you believe that there is a God who created this physical world we live in?” If the reply is negative, I start there and probably won’t get to the core gospel that day. I think we need to talk about things they can relate to on a given day. If the answer is positive, I probably talk about creation a little and then ask “Why do you think God created this world, especially mankind?” All the while, maybe over several sessions, I am inching toward witnessing about God’s eternal purpose and then Jesus. People with no sense of sin don’t know that need good news about a savior. They are thinking, “What is a Savior?”

  28. Josh says

    It appears that you are making a case for a Christianity that is on equal footing, with this “one beggar telling another where to find bread” business… ARE YOU SURE we shouldn’t just direct them to the nearest clergy member for the appropriate method of sharing the gospel??? I mean those guys have degrees in “Jesus Distribution” for crying out loud!!!

    Seriously, thank you Frank for your humble words on this. I am 27 years old and have been a Christian the vast majority of my life, and I never knew Christianity could be so relational, so simple, so beautiful, so inviting.

    From one beggar to another, this truly is good news to the poor.

  29. Glenn Steers says

    Thank you, Frank! I love how you’ve been faithful in pointing to the indwelling Jesus and the work of the Spirit as our source and our Life. Continue encouraging the Bride as you have been!

  30. says

    Frank, I really appreciate that you present sharing the gospel as a conversation (at least that’s my interpretation of your article based on listening to the other person). When I was a younger Christian, the method I was given was more about approaching someone with a startling question followed by a quick, convincing arguement to accept Christ. I’ve personally never seen fruit in this.

    I’ve found sharing the gospel to most often be a progressive conversation. This often starts with a question from someone seeking answers and goes on from there. I try to focus on meeting people where they are.

  31. Jim Puntney says

    Colossians 3:17 jumps out to me, it seems to me that we are to be His ambassadors, walking and talking with those we meet on our road of life.

    This organic, comfortable expression of Jesus in and through us seems to be the focus. I fail at this more often than I care to admit.

    Listening seems to be the key, to Christ, and to whom we are talking with.

    Great post, thx bro!

  32. says

    I find so many people have a checklist of things they want to tell each person they witness to, regardless of who that person is, what their background is, or what their situation in life is.

    When we present the gospel this way, witnessing just becomes another thing to check off our list, rather than presenting eternal truth in a life-and-death situation.

    This post is a great reminder. Thanks!

    • Angela says

      When I was in the hospital, I met a man who said his religion was Hindu. I knew immediately to ask him which of the Hindu gods had died for his people, and he said “none.” I said, “Jesus CHRIST is a God who died for his people.” And the guy really listened. Then I gave him a Narnia book. I hope he read it :)

      Never shared Christ like that with an unbeliever before or since, but it was SO RIGHT and FUN! (I had no preachy attitude, which I have had at times!) Have been able to share with the church like that a few times, yay!

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