I found this on a blog from someone at Austin Stone, a missional community church in Austin, TX.
Following up on Sunday’s sermon I thought it would be helpful to write an article providing practical ways to share the gospel. We preachers spend a lot of time conveying the need to share the gospel, but we don’t always give listeners the tools to get started. Sharing the gospel does not need to be as intimidating as we make it out to be. Being someone who consistently shares the gospel does not mean we run around our workplaces heralding “turn or burn.” I hope to lay out a blue print here that will help you strategize and implement regular gospel sharing in your everyday life in a natural and seamless way.
Before we get into the “how to” of evangelism I want to stress that in order to be an evangelist in your sphere of influence, you must be intentional. I think sometimes we have romantic notions of people coming to us, falling on their face, crying for us to tell them the path of salvation, but we must remember that Christ told us to “go”, not to wait. So it is imperative that we set our hearts to do fulfill the mission that Christ has called us to. If you don’t think it’s necessary to share the gospel, forget about reading this article; read your Bible instead. But if you have a heart to see more worshipers of Christ in your places of influence, read on and think deeply about how these steps would look in your life today. I would highly encourage you to read this with pen and paper in hand, following along with these steps as we go. That way, at the end you will be all ready to hit the ground running.
Step 1: Identify the top 4 topics that come up in regular everyday conversation
This is not the time to over-spiritualize. For most of us we will have answers that look like work, family, school, types of leisure, hobbies, health, politics, relationships, TV, movies, etc. These are the things that in everyday conversation, we will talk about 99% of the time with the people we encounter. Think about those “shooting the breeze” type conversations you have with people everyday at work, your neighborhood, or on the bus. What are the topics that are normally brought up? Probably something of the types listed above. The four things that I have the most conversations about would be family, work, sports, and health.
Step 2: Divide those 4 things into smaller parts
This sounds more difficult than it really is so let me use myself as an example. Here’s how I would divide my top 4 things:
Family: Wife, children (if I had any), where I grew up, where I live now
Work: (Keep in mind I work at a church) Teaching, meetings, leadership development. When you think about it for yourself, think about those work things that regularly come up in conversation; things like clients, sales, profit, ethics, whatever work topics you discuss most.
Sports: hockey, tennis, and basketball (these are the sports I talk the most about)
Health: Working out, eating right (When I have health conversations, those two are all I got)
99% of all the conversations I have on a daily basis, whether it is with strangers, acquaintances, friends, or coworkers, involve these things to some degree.
Step 3: Pick one of the major topics you listed in step 2 and practice connecting its smaller parts to the gospel.
Again, for the sake of clarity I will use myself as an example. This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll need to think deeply about these issues. The question you need to ask yourself is how can I connect those everyday things in my life to a gospel conversation? Think about it: if we are Christians, then every single thing in our life should relate to Christ and the gospel in some way, and our goal is to think about what that connection is, then speak it. I will use my family topic to illustrate this step. Also keep in mind there could be a myriad of transitions from each of these topics so I am just including a couple for examples.
“Yeah, my wife and I argue a lot too. Sometimes it’s really hard to get past it and let things know, but when I consider that Christ’s love for me is limitless even though I offend Him every day, it seems ridiculous that I would hold a grudge against my wife.”
“It wasn’t until I had children that I fully realized the love that God has for me. Because of what Christ did for me on the cross, the Bible says that I am really a child of God and all of those feelings I have towards my children, God has towards me in even greater degree. That’s amazing!
Where I grew up
“I grew up in Detroit, MI. It’s as bad as everyone thinks. The poverty there was horrendous. When I think of the people there with no hope, very little government assistance, forgotten in a lot of ways, it’s unbelievable to think that that is a perfect physical picture of what my life was like before I came to know Jesus.”
Where I live now
“I live in south Austin, near I-35 and Slaughter. The best thing about that place is Southpark Meadows shopping center which is the largest retail area in Austin. I love to go to the Borders there and sit and read on my day off.” (This is where many will ask what you like to read) “I’ll go there and spend some time reading my Bible or some other theological book that talk about how great God is and how beautiful Christ is.”
Practice, practice, practice
Invite a Christian friend, roommate, or spouse to have mock conversations with you about the things you listed above, then practice making transitions to the gospel. There are a host of transitions from a variety of angles so get creative. This does take practice, but it will definitely give you confidence and show you how easy it is to make simple gospel-centered statements in everyday conversations.
Step 4: Next time it comes up in real conversation, make the connection!
Realistically speaking, if you do not make a mental note to make these connections, you will probably squander the opportunity. A couple of things to keep in mind here: first, BE INTENTIONAL! If you do not set your mind and heart to share the gospel then it will just fall by the wayside. Pick a couple specific people each day, pray for God to allow you a conversation, and then make the commitment to speak the gospel into their lives. Secondly, we must remember that Jesus is an offense to a lot of people. It would be misleading for me to convey that you won’t have any awkward conversations. To some we will be the aroma of death and to some we will be the aroma of life (2 Cor. 2:15-16) and which means it is important to remember that not everyone will be receptive and accommodating to the truth of Christ. But be intentional and let God do what He desires to do.
Finally, chances are in the beginning you will be much more timid and apprehensive about making the gospel transitions. Don’t get down on yourself, pray for more boldness, and live another day. God will always be faithful to provide us with opportunities.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the rest of the topics you listed
Simple as that. Think about it: if you are faithful to complete these steps, you will have a gospel presenting arsenal that targets every single one of your daily conversations! I do not want to imply that speaking the gospel is as easy as falling off a log, but it can be much simpler than we make it out to be. God is the one who saves yet we must be intentional to speak the gospel saving truth to those around us; now go out there and make disciples!