10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Use resources to your advantage

Can you think back to the time when the Gospel message first connected in your mind and heart?  Do you remember the joy you felt in responding to Christ’s love?  Was there a specific trigger that really connected the message of salvation for you?  Maybe a gift from a helpful hand during a life crisis, maybe a song or story you heard, a piece of art, maybe a Gospel tract, a discovery Bible study or an evangelistic event?

 

Each one of us connects to the one unchanging Gospel message in a unique way.  For me it was a piece of art hanging in a summer camp chapel depicting Jesus as a shepherd, leaving the 99 sheep and reaching down the side of a cliff to rescue the one that got lost.  It was that word picture that helped me understand my need for a Saviour.

 

Remember today that God wants to use your life to seek out and save the lost.  Why not pray now and ask Him what resource you could use that would best connect the Gospel message with the mind and heart of your unbelieving friend. 

 

Maybe its the testimony of some else who has encountered the power of Jesus like in John 4:39, “Many Samaritans in the town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…”  Last week in Quebec, Canada, a woman named Jocelyn started a discovery Bible study with her son who is himself a new believer.  Together, in a city where there is no Bible teaching church, they are exploring “Who Is Jesus” a free resource by NewLifeDiscipleship.com.

 

Jocelyn said, “40 years ago I remember praying and asking God to help me understand who is Jesus.”  Now, after hearing the testimony in a movie of the power of the name of Jesus when praying for healing, her son is guiding the way with the help of an evangelistic Bible study tool.

 

“…If you had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldnt you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it?” Luke 15:4 TLB

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Share your own story

One of the key aspects of talking with people about Jesus is that people relate to a story—especially if it’s something that they can relate to. This is even more true if it’s your personal story.

 

Years ago, our son Ryley had a serious accident. Over the course of the two months after his accident, while in hospital, my wife and I shared the story of what was happening and how God was blessing us. We didn’t realise it at the time, but our story was being shared around the world and deeply impacting people we had never known and will probably never meet. We were hearing from friends of friends of friends how they had been deeply impacted in their personal relationship with God by what we were sharing. They shared how God was talking to them and teaching them lessons while they were reading the updates from us.

 

We live in a post-modern world. In generations past, people used to arrive at truth by hearing the facts of the gospel. You could sit them down, hand them a tract, and if they were convinced, that was truth for them, and they turned to Christ. Now people no longer consider truth to be about fact, but about their experience. They need to understand and see and feel something to perceive it as truth. Sitting someone down and telling a person why they should believe in Jesus will usually no longer be effective.

When my wife and I shared our unfolding experience of God after Ryley’s accident, we weren’t sharing any particularly amazing or insightful thoughts. Nor were we coming up with the best “argument” to tell people why they should think certain ways, or why they should learn the same lessons we were learning. All we were doing was sharing from our hearts what we were going through and how that was impacting us, sharing how God was changing us as we went through God’s refining fire.

 

As you think about those people around you who you want to reach, you need to realise that one of the most powerful things that you can do is to share your own personal story. And be honest—don’t sugar coat it. People don’t want to hear how you were or are a perfect person. They want to hear how God has changed your life. They don’t want to hear stats or figures. They want to hear from your heart. As you begin, pray that God will use your story to draw others to him in the same way that he drew you to himself.

 

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Ask questions to determine where the person is up to on their journey toward God

There is one skill you can learn that will help you in your interaction with every person, one skill that will help you go deeper in your conversations, one skill that can help you go from knowing someone just as an acquaintance to becoming friends—a skill that can help friends have meaningful conversations. This is the same skill that can help you move naturally from meaningful conversations to sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with someone.

 

What is that skill?

 

Learn to ask questions!

 

When you observe the interactions Jesus had with people, weather they were people he had just met or someone he knew well you often see him asking them questions. Why? I believe primarily because people will react to a statement but will interact with questions.

 

Meaningful questions are a powerful way to engage with people in a way they feel valued and heard. Asking the right question enables people to engage in conversation at the level they feel comfortable.

 

Think about it. I can make a statement about something that I truly believe and if you don’t hold to that same belief, you can just dismiss that statement and forget about it. However, if I ask you a question, that question will be floating around in your mind until you at least give yourself an answer. Try asking someone a question about anything today and you will see that this is true!

 

Perhaps most importantly though, asking questions will enable you to get to know someone deeper than the surface level and give you insight into what that person thinks and believes. Then you can continue the conversation in a way that is relevant to them and move toward the gospel.

 

So, what are the best questions to ask?

 

One of my favourite questions to ask people is: “What is your spiritual belief?” This one question has given me great opportunities to understand the heart language, thoughts and beliefs of countless people. Only once has a person said to me that they aren’t interested in talking about spiritual things. So, we just talked about other matters. People’s responses to this question have allowed me to ask further questions, or they ask me what my spiritual belief is, giving me the opportunity to share my personal story of coming to know Jesus Christ.

 

Another great question is “Has anyone ever explained the three core beliefs of Christianity to you before?”. I love this question because most people don’t have a clue and are curious to know what they are. When they respond No, I then ask another question, “Would you be interested in exploring these with me?” and most of the time people are very receptive.

Do you know what else asking meaningful questions does? It allows you to listen to people, learn about them and lean on the Holy Spirit to lead the conversation towards him.

 

Take time now to think about the last conversation you had with a friend who needs to know Jesus. When that opportunity comes up again, what question could you ask them to determine where they are up to on their journey towards God?

10 Hints on how to share the Gospel—Go into their physical space

The other day I was mountain biking and during one of my rest stops, I got chatting to a guy who was there. We struck up an easy conversation about mountain biking (he was new to it) and the conversation naturally moved from place to place and eventually we were talking about what we do for work among other things. I shared that I worked for Ambassadors for Christ and a little bit about what we do with him. No door opened on that day to share with him further about the Gospel, but it showed that when someone is doing something they love, they relax and are happy to chat. You never know where a simple conversation can go in a context like that. It was the most natural thing. I didn’t have to force the conversation or at all, it was just part of the natural flow.

 

This is a key aspect of sharing the gospel. Going into people’s physical space. And I don’t mean getting “up close and personal” physically with them. Rather, I mean doing what they love to do, relating to them on a personal level…where they relax and have fun. 

 

But what is the key here? You need to ask questions and listen to their answers! You cannot go into someone’s space if you don’t know what that space is. Find out what their loves are, their hobbies. Then be intentional about joining in with them on what THEY love to do. This is not about you, it’s about them. It doesn’t matter if you love it or not. You never know, you may even find a new love yourself!

 

Spend time in prayer as you begin your journey with the person. Before, during and after your interactions, be praying that God would come with you. That you would be sensitive to his leading. And that you would be bold to speak when the time to speak comes and restrained to not speak if the time is not right. Then enter their space with confidence and ask God to lead the conversation where he wants it to go. Don’t force it! Remember that it’s not you who will convince your friend about their need for God, but rather it is God who will draw that person to himself.

 

And have fun!

 

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Talk about God’s work in your life

Talking about God’s work in your life can have a profound impact on your redemptive relationship because they do not share your same experiences of a relationship with God, yet their heart was designed for it!

 

To many, myself included, sharing aspects of my spiritual journey is deeply personal.  I don’t like to share them with anyone, let alone a non-Christ-follower.  But I have found that sharing something personal, from a posture of vulnerability, gives permission for the person I am building a redemptive relationship with to be very vulnerable with me in return.  As a result, our relationship can dive deep incredibly quickly.

 

As a person moves through a journey towards Jesus, we want them to experience authentic relationships with Christians, but also to experience the love and power of Christ at work in their own life as well.

 

This past month while doing evangelistic Bible study over Zoom with Jeff, my redemptive relationship, I shared with him a sin in my life that I was feeling convicted of.  He then shared a sin that he was feeling convicted and then we prayed together that God would help us.

 

The next week Jeff asked me about about the power of prayer and why it seemed his prayers weren’t being answered.  How would you answer a question like that coming from someone who had not yet surrendered their life to Jesus?  All I could do was tell him about how I had experienced God answer my prayers before and I trusted that He would again.

 

Then the next week Jeff told me that his sister, whom we had been praying for 10 weeks that she would experience God’s love and find healing from her alcoholism, was now 8 weeks sober.  Jeff later surrendered his life to Jesus.

 

Look at how building an intentional relationship with a man on an airplane named Jeff, just months earlier, can change multiple lives — pray that God would impact Jeff’s whole family through him.

 

As you build redemptive relationships with people in your life, you can move those relationships forward by talking with them about how God is at work in your own life!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—By overcoming our fear of being rejected!

One of the most significant barriers in building meaningful and intentional relationships with people who need Jesus is the fear of being rejected. Fear paralyses us when we want to say our first hello, extend ourselves to form a friendship, communicate on a deeper level and build trust to bring the relationship closer.

 

Rejection stings, and as humans, it is natural for us to shy away from things that will bring emotional or physical pain. Due to this, many people develop a fear of rejection. I can relate to this as I grew up lacking self-confidence and was severely shy. I can say that I have missed out most of my school years because of the dread of being rejected!

 

How can you step past this fear and into meaningful relationships? Avoid awkward silences by being chatty to start a conversation. Don’t know what to chat about? Before the conversation starts, think of a few questions you could ask. This will almost always lead to a good conversation.

 

Try to find people with common interests—join a local sports team, book club, or volunteer with other parents in your children’s school, creative group, 4WD group or even camping groups. If the idea of joining a group is not applicable in your current situation, strike up a conversation with someone in a public place: a coffee shop, restaurant, library, park, in a plane or a taxi. Again, use questions to start these conversations. Your next God appointment might just be sitting beside you at the train station! I say this because we have known three families in our life group whom my husband and I have met as total strangers inside the train and on the train station itself on separate occasions!

 

We have to accept the fact that not everyone will be interested or ready to form a friendship with us or to receive the gospel. It might be tempting to think that we should have kept quiet rather than shared the truth. Rejection should not retract our devotion to Jesus and our commitment to the Great Commission. No relationship is more precious, none more important than our relationship with the Lord! In the same way, there is no life as fulfilling as when you have lived for his purpose!

 

Remember the rejection Jesus experienced during his lifetime, on the cross and his sacrifice up to this day. He was rejected by the Jews, by the Pharisees, his hometown, and by HIS FRIENDS who pledged they loved him and would never leave him! Ultimately, Christ suffered tremendous rejection when his own Father, turned his face away from him on the cross. We serve a Saviour who suffered in the flesh for our sake. Though he did not sin, he bore our sins so that we might be saved. Remember that because of what Jesus has done for us, we will never face the rejection of God again (1 Samuel 12:22).

 

Capturing this in my mind makes me cringe to think that I am even concerned or bitter when I receive rejection in my quest of building redemptive relationships. I encourage you, the next time you are rejected, to take time to consider the most unfathomable painful rejection our Lord received!

 

“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16 With this in mind, do not take rejection personally, because it is never about you!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Prioritise personal time with them in your schedule

 

There is a big difference between what is important and what is important to me. I may know that it is important to get up in time to read God’s word and pray about my day, but that doesn’t mean that getting up for God is important to me. In fact, the gap (between what you know is important and what is important to you) is the basis for much of the guilt that you carry around. This is true for your life as witness for Jesus.

 

When you look at Jesus’ life, you see that he was crazy busy with the demands of ministry to people. Yet it was important to him to spend time with “sinners”. He was committed to it, even when the religious people around him criticised him for it. He knew that “It is not the well that need a doctor but the sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

 

You know that following Jesus means building relationships with secular people who see the world so differently from you. But the thought of that makes you a little uncomfortable. So, while you know it is important to spend time with those people, you realise that it is not important to you. Or put another way, it so easily gets squeezed out by the many other things that clamour for your time.

 

Here’s an important principle for putting the truly important things into your life: if they don’t end up on your calendar they will probably not happen. Truly important things are usually not urgent things, and the urgent things get all your attention. So when you recognise that one of God’s biggest purposes for you here on earth is to be his witness in the lives of people who don’t know him, block out time on your calendar to spend with those people. It’s the only way that what is important will become important to you.

 

Set aside an evening next week to invite someone over for dinner who doesn’t yet know the Lord. Put it into your calendar. If someone asks you to do something with them then, let them know you already have something in your calendar (even if you have not yet spoken with your non-Christian friend about dinner).

 

If you want this habit of spending personal time with people who need Christ to become a part of your life, then you have to start by scheduling it as a priority. As you watch God start to use you to journey with that person to faith in him, you will find that what is important is becoming important to you!

How do we build intentional relationships with people?—Invite them into relational environments and into other spheres of relationships you have

Recently, an acquaintance showed some interest in doing a short course with me to explore the Christian message for himself. We have a mutual friend that encouraged him to do the course and another couple we both know who wanted to host the group at their house.

 

We decided to meet on a Monday night. We began with five of us and by the end of the first night they asked if others could join the group and I asked if my son could come along too. Within just a few weeks of getting together the group decided that we should have a family day out four-wheel driving and invite others they knew and my whole family so we could all get to know each other.

 

The family day out was so much fun, four-wheel driving, laughing over the two-way radios, lunch together and conversation. The invitation to join them was significant and really touched my heart.

 

What does it tell you when people want to spend time with you outside of your normal social setting? What are you communicating when you invite people who may have different beliefs to you into your other spheres of relationships?

 

It communicates the value we place on that relationship and the desire to go deeper.

 

A way you can build relationships with people is to intentionally invite them into your other relational environments and your other spheres of relationships.

In which environments do you naturally connect with people?

What are the natural spheres of relationships you have?

How can you overlap these two circles?

It is in the overlap that your relationships will go to a whole new level.

What fun day could you organise and invite your spheres of relationship to?

When could you host a small group of people at your house?

Who can you invite to explore the Christian message?

Don’t wait – take the initiative today!

 

Are you looking for a simple tool to journey with people towards Christ? Check out LifeWorks.  The perfect experience to share with friends who don’t yet know Christ.

Why the gospel is relevant in today’s age?—Because we are gripped with guilt!

It never ceases to amaze me how God could ever forgive me.

 

I haven’t always been a Christian. I was a young adult when I got serious about my walk with Jesus and surrendered my life to his authority.

 

Before surrendering to Jesus, I was living life my own way. I was knowingly making selfish decisions; I lived a life that displeased God and sinfully turned my back on him time and time again. However, there came a point in my life that I understood Gods deep love for me and was gripped by a deep sense of guilt and shame that was almost paralysing.

 

I’m so grateful God never gives up on us. I’m so grateful God’s love for us is greater than our love could ever be for him. I’m grateful it’s not what we do that makes us right with God. I’m grateful that it’s what Jesus did for us in laying down his life on the cross that gives us peace with God.

 

A huge percentage of people’s lives are driven by guilt, which leads to so many other problems of depression, hopelessness and despair. This is why one of the best ways into a gospel conversation with someone is a discussion of guilt.

 

The idea of freedom from guilt is like a dream to many people. Jesus not only took the penalty of our sin on the cross, he took the very guilt of our sin and then also paid its penalty. The Bible says, “God the Father made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin (guilty) for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

 

The gospel is not only beautiful truth—it is also relevant truth to so many who are dominated by the guilt that drives them. So talk with people about the freedom from guilt that Jesus brings!

 

Why the gospel is relevant in today’s age?—Because people are searching for community more than ever!

One of the things that are common to humans across cultures is the need to belong to a community. This is one of the reasons why people look for a community to belong to every time they move to a new place or venture into a new field. God has called me to homeschool our children and we have needed a community of homeschooling families. We have found a group who have been very helpful as we embark on this journey. Now, although I’m still a novice in this field, surprisingly I already find myself encouraging and helping three other mums who have been contemplating whether they would give homeschooling a shot.  

 

A sense of belonging is a human need to survive, just like the need for food and shelter. Abraham Maslow in 1943 proposed that our human need to belong is one of the five necessities required to attain self-actualisation. In fact, after physiological (food, water, warmth, and rest) and safety needs, he placed the need for belonging as the next level in his “Hierarchy of Needs”.

 

God has created us as relational beings, who need community with others. Some meet their need for belonging in their family, friends, or church, and others on social media. However they do it, people are searching for meaningful community. For those who don’t find it, although they may be surrounded by people, their loneliness has taken a toll on their self-esteem. God reaches into these people’s lives and brings them into the Christian community where they find healing and wholeness.

 

Why is the Gospel relevant in today’s age? Because people are searching for community more than ever!

 

That means that we need to build meaningful relationships in two directions. On one hand, we need to be building strong spiritual relationships with people who love the Lord and, on the other hand, with people who haven’t encountered God in their lives so we can walk with them towards Christ.

 

Isn’t that one of the huge marks of Jesus’ way of life? As we read the Bible, we see how he regularly spent relational time with those who didn’t follow God and who didn’t bother to attend organised religious activities. Because of that, but he was branded a “friend of sinners”. Jesus’ actions in spending time with sinners were in perfect accordance with his mission to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He went to where the need was because, “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). He knew that what motivates a person to move towards God is almost always a meaningful relationship with someone who already knows him. 

 

If we are followers of Christ, we must imitate this massive feature of his life. People are searching for community more than ever. God wants us to reach the people we know to let them hear that it’s ONLY through the price Jesus’ paid on the cross for our sins that we can have peace with God and become a part of his wonderful family on earth.