Saturday, November 24, 2012

Points to Use When Sharing Christ With the Non-Religious

 I have written several posts in the last few weeks about viewing evangelism as a process instead of an event. We can read those posts again here:

As we read those posts, it becomes obvious that evangelism is going to take quite a bit of time. It is not something that will be done in a 5 minute chat at the front door like it might have been in past generations. During the long process of evangelism, and especially as we finally arrive at the culminating moment of our witnessing eorts, we need to remember several practical items to be eective in our witnessing.

First, we may want to consider using a version of the Bible people can actually understand. Because many postmodern people have a minimal understanding of the Bible, using a version they cannot understand only complicates the situation. Because of this, it can be beneficial to let go of our own personal preferences and use a version of the Bible the next generation can understand.
Second, we should ask open-ended questions instead of making declarative statements. Open-ended questions are ones that cannot be answered with a yes or a no. Open-ended questions invite discussion. When we ask questions that have a yes or no answer, we tend to lapse into presentation mode, which is often perceived as unauthentic. Presentation mode tends to answer questions people are not asking and miss the issues they really want to discuss. When our friends are finally ready to have the big talk about salvation with us, it will be a two-way discussion, not a one-way lecture. Asking open-ended questions helps us keep the conversation going.

Third, we should be prepared to admit that we do not know all the answers. The person with whom we are sharing our faith may ask complex questions. These questions will often be based on negative experiences they have had or some evil they have seen in the world around them. We may not know the answers, and there may not be any answers. It is fine to admit that we are still looking for answers to those questions ourselves. Admitting that we trust Christ even when we do not know the answers is a powerful testimony about the depth of our faith.

Fourth, we must realize that the results of our witnessing will depend on the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we push too hard when we witness because we think we are the ones responsible for other people’s souls. We are only responsible for sharing the gospel. God is responsible for the results.

Though sharing our faith with non-religious people is a challenge, Christ commands us to share His love with others, and people need the comfort and hope that faith in Christ gives. The next generation should not have to face an eternity of separation from God simply because witnessing to them is a challenge. We can overcome the challenges of witnessing to the next generation when we realize that it is more a process than an event. Part of that process involves building healthy relationships with the next generation. Part of the process includes retraining ourselves to use we and us statements instead of I versus you statements when we tell the story of our own struggles toward faith. Part of that process includes focusing on Jesus and how He changed us during our struggles instead of pretending we did it all on our own. Another part of the process includes talking about the supernatural experiences we have had in our lives. Finally, the process concludes with leading our friends to new faith in Christ. If we stumble on that last point, the whole process will have been in vain.

Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.

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