I recently heard a pastor explain how he would ask this question at interviews not to simply check off a box or “pull a fast one” on potential church members, but simply to gauge a person’s ability to know what, exactly, it is that Christians believe.
When asked the same question by a non-believing friend or family member, would you be able to provide a clear, concise answer?
One-Verse Evangelism – used by the Navigators ministry organization and freely shared online.
This tool shares the gospel message using a single verse. I usually use Romans 6:23 which clearly explains the four main topics of the essential Christian message:
- God (“In the beginning”): God is there – He is holy and completely different than His creation – He is the embodiment of all that is good, right and just
- Man (the Fall): Man was created as an image-bearer of the LORD but rather than submitting to His Creator has chosen to go his own way causing separation from God
- Christ (the Savior): God Himself entered space and time to bear the weight of His people’s sin in order to restore man to an original “state of glory” – namely, God’s glory
- Response: Every individual is responsible to submit to Christ who is the judge of the living and the dead
Figure 1 – Image credit Navigators
One-verse evangelism is a simple conversational way to share the message of the Gospel and the basic propositions of Scripture. Other helpful verses are John 5:24, John 1:12 or Ephesians 2:8-10 – or enjoy finding your own! This method allows the Bible to speak for itself, without getting lost on theological rabbit trails.
Christianity Explained - http://www.christianityexplained.com/
A more long-form tool for evangelism, Christianity Explained is essentially a six-week study through the Gospel of Mark. The lessons are broken down to six sessions:
- Jesus the Son of God: detailing Jesus’ authority, the lesson highlights His command over all things – especially our lives
- Jesus’ death on the Cross: this lesson provides an overview of the cost of sin, its ugliness and our need for an atonement
- Jesus’ resurrection: death could not keep the Savior and was not the end of the story; Jesus’ return from the dead proves both the sufficiency of the sacrifice and His role as judge of the living and the dead in the time to come
- Grace, not works: the riches of salvation are a gift of God and are not earned; the cost of our sin is too great
- Repenting: the Christian life is a life of repentance; this is more than simply turning from sin but includes running to Christ and making His priorities ours
- Faith: Christianity is not simply mental ascent to a list of propositions; we learn that faith is a complete and total reliance on the Jesus Christ of the Bible
One benefit of this approach is that it does not require attendees to have a working knowledge of the Bible. Sometimes in Gospel presentations or Bible studies, visitors are intimated by the presumed depth of the knowledge the “regulars” have. By keeping the discussion simple, Christianity Explained helps keep the basics at the center of the discussion and allows visitors a chance to digest God’s Word (presuming any Christian visitors keep away from discussion of difficult or contentious topics).
Another benefit is that it introduces potential new believers to the habit of regular Bible intake. As the curriculum encourages attendees to simply read the book of Mark, they are exposed to and allowed to question God’s Word for themselves. Those who would be saved can then transition into a discipling relationship or Bible-study which will continue to grow and mold them into the image of the Savior.
To conclude, one of my favorite writers Charles Spurgeon has written that two God-ward qualifications of winning souls are a living faith and a thorough earnestness for it. “The Lord Jesus Christ wept over Jerusalem and you will have to weep over sinners if they are to be saved through you.” Let us pray that the LORD would give us awareness, opportunity and willingness to share the Gospel to those among us.