Recently, in Alabama, I had a very interesting conversation!
I had been speaking to a group of pastors and leaders about the approach that is taken in the More to Life evangelism initiative that I have written. During the opening session I displayed and explained the way that evangelism is ‘defined’ within this approach, vis:
‘Evangelism is leaving the person I have met with a better understanding of God than they would have had if they had never met me’.
At the end of the opening session we took a break and I could see that a senior man was heading straight for me. He approached me, shook me by the hand, thanked me for the presentation and then said, “Let me tell you how I do evangelism”. He then outlined his approach which was something like this:
“I go up to a person and begin talking with them, I then establish the fact that they believe in scripture and then I open my bible that I always have with me and refer to verses that refer to their sinfulness. I then use verses that show how the Lord Jesus died for their sins so they could be forgiven and then I invite them to give their lives to Christ”.
As he was telling me this it was clear that he was a dedicated follower of Jesus with a real passion for lost people. I remember wishing that were far more Christians who had a zeal for evangelism. At the end of his explanation I thanked him for what he had said and for his passionate heart. Then I asked him a question, I asked:
“But what do you do if the person that you are talking with does NOT believe that the Bible is the word of God?”
My genuine question seemed to unsettle him a little as he just had not thought about what to do in such circumstances.
The challenge that faces us is that we can no longer assume that the people we are aiming to reach with the gospel will even know what the Bible says let alone believe that it is true. We must find a new starting point and, as one church planter in Orlando put it so beautifully:
“When people don’t read the Bible all they have to read is our lives”.
So here’s a question:
‘If a person who knows little about Jesus was ‘reading’ your life, what would they discover about Jesus?’
More to Life materials can be found at www.lifeway.com/moretolife