As a Christian I know that my mission in life is to “make disciples of all nations,” and I’m pretty excited about it! But evangelism, witnessing, sharing my faith, sharing Jesus – whatever you want to call it – can seem like a scary thing. That’s why I love Bill Fay’s Share Jesus Without Fear! But even with tat resource I realized that one of the reasons I was so uneasy about evangelism was because I only ever knew two classic approaches. I never knew critical part of the gospel message that most would-be evangelists don’t know they are leaving out.
Being a tour guide for Hell
So my typical stratagem when sharing my faith had always been to ask, “If you died right now do you know for sure that you’d go to heaven?” It’s a good question, and it usually jumpstarted the discussion. From there I would take people on a detailed tour of hell. I’d include the “Jesus died for your sins so you could avoid hell and go to heaven” part; we’d pray the old “sinner’s prayer”; and they’d seemingly “get saved.” It’s a sales pitched designed to get a high close rate! I mean, who wants to go to hell, right? But today I question whether or not this approach really leads people to Christ. Think of the ramifications if it doen’t.
Stop Biblical couponing
Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: The gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient unto itself to save. Period. But did that person I just described really accept the Christ as his Lord and Savior, or did he just think he picked up some free “fire insurance?”
I can think of a lot of people I’ve seen “got saved”, yet their lives bear no evidence at all of a relationship with Christ. When I accepted Jesus Christ (for real) I was never the same again. So how can so many people “get saved” and still not know Jesus?
Often times witnessing Christ is distilled down into “sharing Jesus.” And yes, Jesus is all one needs to be saved. But for the “Jesus part” to really take, I need to show people why they need Jesus – other than just to avoid going to hell.
My former approach to sharing the gospel amounted to little more than “Biblical couponing” – clipping the Bible’s “Jesus coupon,” and handing it out. But with no real knowledge of the real need for Jesus, I wonder how effective I’ve been.
Tell the whole Truth
The gospel never returns void because the Holy Spirit actually does the work! Where I’ve fallen short, God is completely sufficient. So even my misguided Biblical couponing hasn’t been in vain. His Word always gets a response if I will tell someone!
An understanding of God’s reason and intent for creating mankind is what showed me my need a Savior. But that’s a lot of Biblical history to share with someone on a plane, or standing in line somewhere, or over lunch? So I learned to distill it down into the “CliffsNotes’ version, which shows people their desperate need for Jesus.