Sunday, 4 June 2017

Tools for Evangelism

At my church I have become the portfolio leader for local evangelism. This is a new portfolio and I am kinda finding my way, so I am reading some things and then thinking out loud for others to help sharpen my thinking. This is becoming a series...

Evangelism is speaking the Gospel. One of the hindrances or barriers in Christians not speaking the Gospel may come from a lack of knowledge or ability to articulate what the Gospel is. In my last post I said a few things about what the Gospel is. The Gospel is an announcement, it is the good news of what Jesus has done for us. It is what someone needs to know to be a Christian. It is the story of how God, through Jesus has fulfilled His promises to Israel.

There are many tools and frameworks that have been produced to help people articulate the Gospel. I think pre-packaged Gospel presentations are generally a good thing to get a grounding and a framework, but can be a hindrance if you think it is something you have to memories by rote. I see Gospel presentations as a solid guide on what notes you have to hit and in what order. Once you learn a presentation you should put your own words on it, maybe even injecting some personal or Biblical stories into it so you can to make it more vivid, real and memorable.

I should also be clear in saying that I don't think Gospel presentations are the only way we can tell people about the good work Jesus has done for us. It is just one way we can do this. Most of the time we will probably find ourselves having a conversation or a dialogue about God, religion and Jesus, rather than getting a 5 minute platform to give a monologue. However, presentations are still good as they give you an outline or a flow of what to say, and also you can ask permission to give a short summary of the Gospel and people are generally ok with that (assuming you have built their trust or they are bored university students).

Below are a few Gospel presentations that are freely available. They all have their shortcomings, but on the whole they all would be worth looking at, studying, remembering and most importantly telling. You may know of some other Gospel presentations, if so feel free to comment down below.

Two Ways To Live presents the Gospel in six steps. Each step also has a corresponding verse and even a picture if that is a thing that would help you to remember (click the image on the right to enlarge and see all the boxes).

The six steps are:
1. God is the loving ruler of the world. He made the world and us to rule the world under Him.
2. We all reject God by trying to run our life our way without Him, but we even fail to do that well.
3. God won't let us rebel forever. The punishment for rebellion is death and judgement.
4. Because of God's love He sent His Son Jesus. Jesus didn't rebel and always lived under God's rule. Jesus took our place and punishment on the cross by dying for us, bringing us forgiveness with God.
5. God raised Jesus from the dead as the rule of the world. Jesus now gives us new life but will return to judge the world.
6. There are two ways to live. i) Our way - rejecting God's rule resulting in condemnation, death and judgement. ii) God's way - submit to Jesus' rule resulting in God's forgiveness and eternal life

Don Carson has said:
Two Ways to Live is a simple and effective way to teach Christians the fundamentals of the gospel. It is invaluable in giving a congregation or fellowship an agreed upon theological framework for life and ministry together. We all have these six fundamental gospel categories in our heads; there is no confusion about what the gospel is or about how it relates to our lives. Nor is there any doubt as to the message we are bringing to the world around us.
I learned Two Ways To Live when I was at uni (I think every Australian Christian uni group does). I remembered the boxes and the verses and then went out an said the thing by rote to other unsuspecting uni students. I don't think I did great back then, but I do appreciate the effort our leaders put into us to remember to boxes and the flow. Some may push back that this seems quite individualistic, and that really the name should be called One Way to Live and One Way To Die. I still think it is useful and gets the basics right. 

You can see the whole presentation online for free, there is an iPhone app and I have made the Android app

They even have a kids version called Who Will Be King? Website here and Android app.

This presentation was written by a guy who used to go to my current church. This presents the Gospel in three steps. It is the story of (1) God, (2) the World and (3) You.

God is THREE persons united in love
The story of the world is the story of TWO people: Adam and Jesus
You are ONE with Adam, will you be ONE with Jesus?

I find this presentation easier to remember that Two Ways To Live (its only 3 steps and not 6), and there is a good flow to it. Boffins will like that it touches on the Trinity and union with Christ. My only gripe is that I think it doesn't dwell too much on the cost of following Jesus.

You can view the five minute presentation on their website, as well as watch some more of their in depth videos on each of the three phases. Like Two Ways To Live, there are also some drawings that go along with the presentation, if you are that way inclined. I have also made their Android app which has the text of the presentation (in a bunch of languages) if you find that easier to follow along with.

God, Man, Christ, Response
9marks present the Gospel under four headings: God, Man, Christ and Response.

God is the creation of all things
Man: All people, though created good, have become sinful by nature. From birth, all people are alienated from God, hostile to God, and subject to the wrath of God.
Christ: Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of all who would believe in him, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life
Response: God calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved

This webpage is pretty straight forward and is really more of a set of dot points with Bible references that they hope you will put flesh on it.

Life in 6 words: G-O-S-P-E-L
I only know about this presentation from the spoken word video by the artist Propaganda. This presentation uses the word "Gospel" as an acrostic. The six words are: God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life. Each word can also be put in their own sentenced:

God created us to be with Him.
Our sins separate us from God.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.

Their website fleshes out each of these six steps a bit more. To me this seems like an alright outline, perhaps again a bit light on the cost of following Jesus and there might not be an explicit call to change/respond, but those can be inserted. It is probably more likely that this presentation would just be shared via the video they produced.

The Story
I haven't really dived into this one much. I remember J.D. Greear plugging it when it came out. This presentation goes through the four phases of Creation, Fall, Rescue and Restoration. As I said, I don't know this one that well, but here are the main movements:

Creation: God made everything in harmony.
The Fall: Adam and Eve disobeyed and as a consequences sin entered the world. We are all affected and guilty of sin
The Rescue: God promised the Adam and Eve that He would send someone to rescue His people. God prepared a way for the Savior of the world to come into this world. Jesus' perfect life and willing obedience saved us from the punishment. Jesus was the substitute for those who trust in Him
The Restoration: God has promised that He will make all things new. A world with no sin, sickness, evil or death. This will be forever with God

Then there is also follow up question: What's your part in the story?

While this presentation has four major movements, I find that within each moment, there are some big complicated issues that perhaps need to be presented in a clearer or memorable way.

Their website is a bit flashy, and may feel a bit over produced and so something that only professionals can do, but I don't think that is their intent. The also have iPhone and Android apps.

Previous post in this series:
What is and isn't Evangelism?


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