When I was in high school, I had a few friends who were strong evangelical Christians.
Tim was one of them, and he unabashedly shared his faith on a regular basis. Because of Tim, I was introduced to Christian music à la Michael W. Smith on a bus ride home from a school trip – ahhhh good times!
I was ornery then, and though Tim was a good friend, I wanted to see how Christian he really was, so I’d try to push his buttons to make him mad. Sometimes I’d cuss in front of him just to see what he would do. While he’d tell me he didn’t like my words, he was unwavering and stayed my friend.
When I read this quote from Lloyd Pulley about sharing the Gospel it made me think of Tim.
“The most important call upon our lives is to make disciples. Whether we are Sunday school teachers, preachers, mothers, fathers, friends or co-workers, we all have been given the same mandate from the Lord to go into the world and be witnesses of Him.
Fear of rejection hinders many of us from sharing the Gospel. Taking a stand for Jesus can be a little risky and may cost us friendships, but aren’t you glad someone took that risk with you?”
I am so grateful for Tim’s friendship and that he took a risk with me. Now, as I think about sharing the gospel with others, I keep these five principles in mind. They’re from Pulley’s book, Everyday Conversations, Eternal Impact.
Five Principals for Sharing the Gospel (S.H.A.R.E.)
- Be Sensitive to the Spirit
How many times do you struggle to make something happen, but when you stop to pray, the Holy Spirit gives you the perfect solution and your task is accomplished in no time?
Being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit is critical when sharing the gospel with others. By listening to His prompting we can be led in what to say – and not to say – to someone who doesn’t know Him.
- Humbly Build a Bridge
At my college there was this green grassy area called “the mall” where students hung out, studied, played Frisbee, and so on.
Often there’d be someone standing out on the mall sharing the gospel by yelling at passersby telling them that they were going to hell. I never once saw someone stop and talk to the yeller and say, “Oh you are right. I’ll go ahead and become a Christian now.”
When we approach people with humility and respect, they are more receptive to what we have to say. People want to know that you, and Jesus, genuinely care about them.
Jesus treated the Samaritan woman in John 4 with respect and, in turn, she and her entire community became believers.
- Arouse Interest
In a world where so many are busy, tired and hurting, it won’t take much to arouse interest. People want to know that the things in their lives matter to another human being.
When you take time to talk to others, opening a door to share the gospel, take a genuine interest in them and they will take interest in what you have to say.
- Reveal Sin
Today, pointing out sin is not PC and equals disrespect and being unloving. I am an emotions-based person, so the idea that someone could feel disrespected or unloved based on my words or actions is devastating. At the same time, this isn’t about me.
I am a sinner saved by grace, so talking about someone’s sin isn’t about pointing and condemning – it’s about extending the Christ’s freedom to that person. It’s telling them that the junk they struggle with – sin – doesn’t have to be an ongoing struggle.
- Explain the Plan of Salvation
When sharing the gospel with others, you may never get to a point of explaining the plan of salvation to them. If you do, stick to the simplicity of the truth. Often people have questions like “Why does God allow cancer or war?” While those are good questions, they are a distraction from the point of your conversation.
The point is: Jesus loves them, died for them and wants to have a personal relationship with them. It is that truth that will change their lives – for eternity.