Who told you about Jesus so that you could know Him? Whoever it was, they shared the Good News with you. You received it and had your life changed because of knowing Him. It is your turn to be that “bearer of good news” to someone else who needs to know Jesus or needs to know Him better. In the last article, “Prepare to Share Your Faith Story,” we encouraged you to shape your faith story and practice telling it. In this post, we will look at preparing conversation starters and transitions where you can interject parts of your faith story and share the gospel facts when the Spirit gives you the opportunity. This is blog #5 in our “Lifestyle Disciplemaking” blog series, adapted from our book, Leap into Lifestyle Disciplemaking.
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Who told you about Jesus so that you could know Him? Was it a parent? A Sunday School teacher? A friend? Whoever it was, they shared the Good News with you. You received it and had your life changed because of knowing Him. It is your turn to be that “bearer of good news” to someone else who needs to know Jesus or needs to know Him better.
It is important for you and me to not only be confident in our own understanding of the gospel but also to be clearly communicating the gospel truth to everyone in our sphere of influence. You may get only one week influencing a teen at youth camp, but your mentoring might be the catalyst for that person to stay strong in his or her walk with Christ for years to come. Our role in disciplemaking is not to try to fix their problems but to point them to Jesus who gives new life and the strength to face anything this world throws at us. It is all about a relationship with Him.
Two powerful resources
You have two powerful resources to help you fulfill your purpose as you partner with the Holy Spirit in telling others about Christ. Both are mentioned in what the Spirit inspired John to write in Revelation.
They [believers] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
Your two resources are the blood of the Lamb (the gospel message) and the word of your testimony (your faith story). People can reject the facts or logic of the gospel, but it is very hard to argue with someone about their experience of the gospel. Sharing the facts of the gospel and your own faith story are ways to put your faith into words. Sadly, many Christians are not comfortable sharing either! Why is that? I think it is because we do not prepare to do so through practice, encouragement, and experience.
In the last article, we encouraged you to shape your faith story and practice telling it so it is easy to share. In this post, we will look at preparing conversation starters and transitions where you can interject parts of your faith story. We will also help you to know the gospel facts so you can share them easily when the Spirit gives you the opportunity.
Consider using 1-2 conversation starters
Paul wrote to the Colossians,
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:4-6)
Basically, he said to create some salty conversation. That means you should be ready with some conversation starters when you encounter someone outside of your Christian circle.
Maybe the right words to share your faith in a conversation come naturally to you. Praise God for that verbal gift! Yet, for most of us (including me), those words just do not come easily. I have to prepare ahead of time.
What are some good conversation starters to stimulate meaningful talk that might reveal a woman’s heart and give you a chance to invite it somewhere? Usually, these are general questions that you can ask anyone—your hairdresser, coworker, neighbor, or restaurant server. Think about what someone used the first time they engaged you about Jesus.
These are a few examples that others have shared with me:
- What were you taught about God while growing up?
- What do you do when you feel defeated?
- What are some of your joys in this season of life?
- What challenges and struggles are you facing?
- If you could tell a favorite part of your life story, what would it be?
- Will you please tell me about your tattoo?
You can probably think of several more. It just takes 1 or 2 to connect with someone and get them sharing with you.
Prepare conversation transitions from common topics.
Once a conversation gets started, you will need to have some prepared transitions from common topics of casual conversation that could lead into meaningful conversation about your faith.
What are some transitions that could lead into sharing your story? Consider how you might identify with her and what God has done in your life to make the difference.
Paul wrote this in 1 Corinthians.
Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT)
That was his practice. It can be ours as well.
Here are some examples of conversation transitions from common topics. Stop scrolling, pause for a minute, and finish each sentence related to a common topic.
- Corruption, evil and sin: “Though I am not guilty of that particular sin, I am just as guilty of…”
- Community: “I believe we are created by God to live in real community, first of all with Him. And, I have experienced this…”
- Family: “I am so glad that God cares even more about my family than I do. What would I do without Him helping me to…”
- Something good happened: “God has been so kind to you in that. I saw His kindness to me when…”
- Pain & suffering: “Yes. I understand how that really hurts…”
- High expectations: “I am so glad God does not expect perfection from me. What a relief it is to know how He loves me just as I am…”
- Anger at someone: “I love the way God is changing me from the inside out. Not too long ago, I would have been so upset by that, but now when I am angry or hurt…”
- Church (“I don’t go to church.”): “Going to church is not what it’s really about for me. I just find that the closer I get to Jesus the more content my heart is and…”
You can probably think of several more. The point is that you can think through some conversation starters and transitions that lead into sharing some part of your story. Ask the Spirit to give you boldness and opportunity to use them.
Download the “Prepare to Share” booklet which includes the Conversation Transitions worksheet.
As we reach out to the unchurched around us, we will run across people who have had a bad experience with Christians or the church (or see something in the news that gives Christianity a “black eye”). How do we respond to that? Here are four things to keep in mind as you relate to that person (adapted from The Evangelism Study Bible):
- Do not be defensive. Yes, there are hypocritical Christians who are serving themselves more than serving God.
- Remind them there are “fakes” in every area of society. Few would stop cheering for a favorite football team because of a corrupt player.
- Remind them that the Good News is about Jesus, not Christians. It is about a relationship with Someone who loves them dearly.
- Introduce them personally to Christians who do live for Christ.
Counter negative comments by being prepared with positive comments of your own as in the Conversation Transitions above.
Prepare to share the “Gospel Facts”
The gospel message is good news. It is very simple. God made it that way. You do not need to know every aspect of theology to share the gospel. The gospel is an announcement to the world of an accomplished fact. What God set out to do for humans, He accomplished. Salvation is available on the basis of a single condition. That one condition is faith in Jesus Christ.
What faith is
The word “faith” means a “belief, trust, and commitment of mind and heart to something or someone.”
- Faith is intelligent. That means first you need to know about the something or someone. It is based on information about the object of your faith.
- Faith is also decisive. It involves the element of assent or agreement that the information about that someone or something is true.
- Faith requires an act of the will. Any conscious choice that involves trust or dependence on someone or something requires a deliberate action to both trust the information and act on it. It is the difference between walking alongside a pool of water (seeing it is there) and jumping into the water (experiencing the water personally).
Notice that faith begins with knowing the truth about someone. The gospel facts reveal the truth. The listener has to agree with that information, to agree it is true. Then, the response is an act of the will—a commitment to trust in the information.
Communicate the truth
It is the job of believers to communicate the gospel. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convert the heart. (David Souther, EvanTell)
You and I are to simply communicate the truth. In order to do that effectively, we can learn and practice a simple way to share the gospel message so you will be ready when given an opportunity.
- If you remember, how did someone share the gospel message with you?
- What have you used to share the gospel message with others?
Paul wrote this in Romans 10:
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15)
Bring that good news to those on your “Pray and Love” list and other connections you have made where there is opportunity to share the gospel.
We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
You have been entrusted with the gospel. It is a treasure you can share with others.
Choose a simple presentation to learn.
Choose a simple presentation of the gospel to memorize and have ready to use when given the opportunity by the Spirit of God in your daily life. Speak it aloud to yourself several times so you know it well without really having to think about it. Ask the Spirit to give you boldness and opportunity to share this with someone soon.
Here is one example using John 3:16:
Has anyone introduced you to Jesus so you could know Him? May I? Read John 3:16. This tells of…
- God’s Love: “For God so loves you __(name)__…” God loves you and created you to enjoy a relationship with Him. But, sin prevents you from experiencing this relationship. You cannot be good enough on your own to overcome this sin barrier and its penalty of death. God’s love led to…
- God’s Gift: “God gave His one and only Son” Jesus to live as one of us then to take our penalty for sin on Himself when He died on the cross. Our sins could now be forgiven. He was then raised from the dead to be alive again and to give us His life. Because the price for our sin has been paid, the way to God is clear and simple through…
- God’s Offer: “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life …” That means to trust in God’s loving plan, accept what Jesus did on the cross for you, admit your sin and desire a relationship with Him.To perish means to die separated from God and His love for you. Eternal life means you can enjoy a forever-family relationship with God now and after your life on earth ends.
When offered a gift you want, you take it and say thank you. It is forever yours. Is anything keeping you from trusting in Jesus right now? Would you like to pray now and tell God you are accepting His love gift of salvation in Jesus?
After sharing the facts, you can invite her to pray this prayer along with you:
Thank you, God, for loving me and for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. I trust in Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior. I accept your gift of forgiveness for my sins. I turn my life over to You. Thank you for your goodness to me and your gift of eternal life. Amen.
If she does that, celebrate with her. And give her this assurance:
As soon as you trust in Christ to be your Savior, you begin a loving relationship with Him. You begin your faith walk. You receive complete love and acceptance by God as your Father. You receive treasure that is yours to know and experience for the rest of your earthly life. When you trust in Christ, He is in your life forever. You will never be without him. Ever.
Download the “Prepare to Share” booklet which includes 3 ways to share the gospel facts.
Stay Christ-focused as you take the next steps
We have covered several ways to CONNECT with nonbelievers and share the gospel with them. Commit your fears to Jesus and trust Him to give you the opportunity to share His good news with at least one person. If you do not feel confident, that is okay because you will depend on Him more. Feel free to say, “I can’t do this on my own, Lord Jesus, but You can do this through me. I will trust you.” Ask Him to help you live dependently on Him and to recognize the opportunities He gives you to share what you have practiced. Ask Him to do His part is to draw people to Himself. Ask Him to help you be ready to introduce Him to those He draws. That is your part. Trust Jesus to help you do this. Then, watch what He does!
What do you do when that person trusts in Christ? ESTABLISH is the next step in the process of disciplemaking. New believers need to be established in their faith. That is the subject of the next blog in this “Lifestyle Disciplemaking” series.
Lifestyle disciplemaking activities are interwoven throughout our Live Out His Love Bible Study of New Testament women. All of the above preparations are included in the study.
Let Jesus lead you into lifestyle disciplemaking. Jesus followers become disciplemakers.
- The Call to Lifestyle Disciplemaking
- Connect: Build Intentional Relationships with Nonbelievers
- Connect: Become a Designated Engager
- Connect: Prepare to Share Your Faith Story
- Connect: Prepare to Share the Gospel Facts
- Establish: Give Believers Strong Roots
- Establish: Choose to Disciple Others
- Establish: Nurture Women Who Are New to the Bible
- Launch: Multiply Impact Beyond Yourself
- Launch: Use Your Workday Lunch Break for Disciplemaking
- Launch: Transition to a Disciplemaking-Focused Women’s Ministry
- Live Out His Love Bible Study on Amazon (New Testament women, disciplemaking preparations)
- Be a Christ-Focused Small Group Leader on Amazon (prepares group leaders for disciplemaking)
- Lifestyle Disciplemaking resources on my website (including everything in this blog series)
- Host a “Leap into Lifestyle Disciplemaking” retreat
- “Prepare to Share” Booklet
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