Evangelism Q&A: Part I

Evangelism Q&A: Part I

On Friday, November 8thCrosspoint Church hosted an evangelism training to equip believers to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. A portion of this training was devoted to responding to questions from the audience, but unfortunately we did not have enough time to answer all of those questions.  We decided to commit a few blog posts to respond to those questions. 

“How do I start or initiate ‘The Story’ in conversation?”

There is no one right way to generate conversations on spiritual matters.  A question I often use is, “in your opinion do you think man is basically good or basically bad?”  This question allows me to understand a person’s view of man, which can lead me to their view of God.  Ninety-five percent of the time they will say man is good, which means man must have been created good (Gen. 1:31).  You can follow this question with “if man is basically good, then why do so many people do bad things,” which leads to discussing the Fall.
With these questions you can lead the conversation to God’s initial design in Genesis 1 and 2, but then man rebelled against God in Genesis 3.  Once you mention Creation and Fall the conversation will naturally lead to our need for Rescue, which allows you to proclaim Jesus Christ and his Redemption for us if we repent and believe in him.  I would recommend Randy Newman’s book “Questioning Evangelism” if you want to learn other ways and questions to transition conversations to the gospel. 
“As a bio major, I’m daily faced with challenges of the Gospel, specifically creation. How do I approach questions from non-believers on this subject?”

I can fully relate to this question, because I was a biology major when I was a non-believer, and I would often question Christians specifically on this topic.  The first thing we need to remember is that Christ did not command us to proclaim reasons for creationism or evidence against Darwinian evolution, but he commanded us to proclaim his saving grace (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Tim. 4:1-2).  Because of this it is beneficial to start with a person’s sinful position before God instead of evolution or creationism.  Non-believers will not turn to Christ unless they believe they are in desperate need of a savior. 
In my own life I was hardened to the gospel because I didn’t believe I needed a savior and therefore I rebelled against God and the Bible.  I was blinded to the truth until God used a few faithful Christians to talk with me about my sin and the hope of Jesus Christ.  It was through those conversations and relationships that I heard the gospel and was transformed by it.  Once I believed in Christ and submitted to his authority I studied the scriptures with other Christians, and my attitudes and beliefs changed from a secular mindset to a biblical mindset.
So my advice would be to love your friends who are biology and science majors.  Invite them to be a part of your life so that they see how your life involves Christ, and tell them how the risen Son of God has transformed your life (2 Cor. 5:17).  And finally pray for them.  Pray that God will work through you as you witness to them.
*A resource that would be beneficial for answering question about Darwinian evolution would be Lee Strobel’s “The Case for a Creator.”
“How do we connect the gospel message to people who either don’t want to hear it or think it’s foolishness?”

I believe these are the most common responses when I evangelize on the Clemson campus.  People normally don’t want to talk about God, or they think Christians are foolish for believing the Bible.  My suggestion is that we need to counter theses attitudes with love.  We should talk with people and find out why they feel hostile to God or the church.  When we speak with them it should not be with an agenda to convert them but to love on them.  I am not saying that we should not desire their conversion, but that our desire for their conversion will naturally lead us to love them.  This does not mean accepting their rebellion against God, but tolerating their lack of faith.
This means that we should seek to know them and to know what they do believe.  I normally ask questions about what they believe of God, death, Jesus, truth, etc., and why they believe what they believe.  Most of the time you will find that they don’t know exactly what they believe, and that they have very little Bible knowledge.  I then use that information as an opening to ask them if they would be willing to investigate the Bible and to see if the Bible gives answers to their questions. 
If they are willing to explore the Bible, then God has given you a great opportunity to proclaim the gospel with his own words.  Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers to their questions, because the Bible does.  Use those moments to create other times to meet up so that you both have time to investigate the Bible further for those answers.
Invite them to coffee, lunch, breakfast, so that they feel welcomed and comfortable, and pick up the tab!  Show them that you care for them. Give them your time and your love, just as Christ did for us (Matt. 20:28).  Also, tell them your own testimony of how you came to believe and trust in Christ, and ask them if they can relate to your testimony in any way.  And finally pray.
“How do you share the gospel with someone who goes to church and claims to be a Christian but doesn’t seem to really know the gospel and doesn’t live it out?”

This is a great question because we can easily think everyone who attends a church service is a Christian.  A great place to start is asking them to share their testimony with you.  Ask them how long they have been a Christian, and how they came to the faith.  Be careful not to do this accusingly, but joyfully because it is joyful to give testimony of God’s work in our life (1 Cor. 1:4-9).  After you hear their testimony, you will hopefully be able to better discern if they are a believer or a non-believer, though we need to be careful not to judge a person to quickly as a non-believer, because they might merely be weak in the faith (1 Cor. 3:1-3).
If you are still concerned if they are a non-believer, or if they are weak in the faith, invite them to study the Bible with you and let the Word do the work (Heb. 4:12).  Ask them if they would start meeting with you once every week or every other week to pray together and read through the Bible.  If they say yes then you are pursuing discipleship.  If they say no then continue to love on them and pray for them.  Invite them into your home and show them how you are pursuing God.  I would also recommend speaking with your pastor especially if they are a member of your church.  
*A few resources to use for daily Bible reading are David Helm’s “One-to-One Bible Reading,” Ken Ham & Bodie Hodge’s “Begin: A Journey through Scriptures for Seekers and New Believers,” and Kent Hughes’ “Disciplines of a Godly Man.”
I hope these responses have been beneficial for you.  I know that each of these questions could merit their own blog post.  I would encourage you to continue to resource yourself with good books that are gospel centered so that you are “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pt 3:15). 
I will post the remaining questions from the training in Part II of this blog post, but until then feel free to send me comments or questions that you might have regarding evangelism.  Also, if you happened to have missed the training you can access the media and materials at Crosspoint Church’s website by clicking HERE. I hope you have a blessed day
Soli Deo Gloria,

Sean Alford