Conversational Evangelism in a Nutshell

21 Oct 2021 2:07 PM | Josh Hunt (Administrator)

Sixth, we should actively seek for opportunities to transition from pre-evangelism to direct evangelism and share the Gospel. Here we can integrate this pre-evangelism model into whatever method we are using to explain the Gospel. Sometimes when transitioning from pre-evangelism to evangelism, it is helpful to ask, “Has anyone ever explained to you the difference between Christianity and all other religions? I can explain the difference using just two words—do versus done.”21 This is a helpful approach because it likely will create some curiosity with those you are speaking to. They may wonder how you can explain the difference using only two words.

All the religions in the world, except for Christianity, say “do this” to get to heaven (or the equivalent). Muslims say, “Your good deeds have to outweigh your bad deeds.” Hindus say, “You have to overcome karma and reincarnations by doing good works.” Buddhists say, “You need to get rid of desire through an eight-fold path.” All the religions of the world say you have to do something.

Christianity, on the other hand, is not about doing something but about what has already been done. The Bible teaches us that there is nothing we can do to earn a relationship with God. No matter how good I am or what I do for God, it will never be enough to earn the right to have a relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). That is why the focus in Christianity is not on do but done. Jesus provided the sacrifice to atone for my sins (Romans 5:8). My responsibility is to accept what God has done for me and allow Christ to come into my life (John 1:12) and change me from the inside out—not in my own power, but in His strength (Philippians 2:13; 4:13).

If the analogy of “Do versus Done” causes your nonbelieving friends to be open to talk about Christ, you can then offer them a more detailed explanation of the Gospel, whether you use a Bible or maybe a tract you’re familiar with. Your pre-evangelism becomes seamlessly and effectively woven into your evangelism and witnessing style.

In order to build a bridge to the Gospel, it is helpful to keep these six steps in mind:

  • find the right balance in your approach
  • find common ground
  • construct a bridge (both head and heart)
  • memorize an outline
  • remember the goal
  • actively seek to transition from pre-evangelism to direct evangelism

By utilizing these six steps over time, you may find your nonbelieving friends making real progress in their spiritual journey to the cross.

Conversational Evangelism in a Nutshell

In brief, Conversational Evangelism involves listening carefully to others, learning their story, and hearing the gaps in their beliefs and then illuminating those gaps by asking questions to help clarify their beliefs and surface uncertainty and expose the weaknesses of their perspective. Then, we want to dig up their history and uncover their underlying barriers to Christ and build a bridge to the Gospel (1 Corinthians 3:6).

We must always begin with hearing conversations. Yet knowing what to do next is more of an art than a science. We may want to ask illuminating questions about the discrepancies we hear or we may next want to dig up their history a little to find out how they came to be on their current path before we ask any questions that help them to surface the truth for themselves. Each situation is different, and one approach may not work as well as another. We need to be sensitive to God’s leading and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5).

The most important thing to remember about the pre-evangelism process is that it should involve at least four different aspects: hearing, illuminating, uncovering, and building. These correspond to four kinds of roles that we can play in the life of our nonbelieving friends: musician, artist, archaeologist, and builder. Understanding how to integrate these aspects of pre-evangelism into our evangelism training can play an important part in helping us to more effectively reach the skeptics, pluralists, and postmodernists of our day.

May God help us all to understand, like the men of Issachar, the times in which we live and to know what we should do (1 Chronicles 12:32).

David Geisler and Norman Geisler, Conversational Evangelism: How to Listen and Speak so You Can Be Heard (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2014), 150–152.

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