November 15, 2021
Evangelism has never been natural for me.
I really wish it was! It’s not for lack of being convinced that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, be they atheists, sceptics, or seekers. Nor is it for lack of effort! As a missionary with Cru, our lead foot is sharing Christ with people in both strategic and spontaneous ways. But, when sharing Jesus with a not-yet-believer, I can stumble over words, concepts, and answers that really seem to connect. I can feel intimidated and ineffective and can even wonder, “Why did I think this was a good idea?!”
But then I learned something that significantly changed my experiences in evangelism! At some point my perspective shifted from me leading the conversation – desperately trying to control and stay a step ahead in the conversation, persuading others with just the right answers – to that person actually leading the conversation, and me doing the listening and responding.
And it wasn’t some Middle Earth magic, either. Just two little phrases made all the difference.
Help me understand (e.g. why you view God as distant), and Tell me more (e.g. about why your family never went to church). I realize this isn’t deep apologetics, but when others think out loud and wonder themselves what’s behind their hesitations or resistance to religion or Jesus, a kind of conversational momentum grows. My genuine curiosity in another can create curiosity on their part in themselves. “Yeah, why didn’t we ever go to church when I was younger?”
Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism (ch.1 PDF here!) was and is a great help to me in fomenting this kind of others-centered conversation about Jesus. And tools such as the Soularium card deck give others a unique way to express themselves and their spiritual beliefs.
Help me understand & tell me more. Who knows how God will use your simple, genuine curiosity?
November OakLeaf Articles:
The State of the World by Scott Boerckel
Three Priorities to Shape Evangelism by Jim Boerckel
Genuine Curiosity in Gospel Conversations by Matt Kent
A Life Worth Living by Robert J. Morgan
The Message the World Needs to Hear by RD
Nurturing a Love for the Lost by Larry Van Gundy
The Gospel Is Life Itself by Jim Simmons
Participating in the Disciple Making Process by Ron Miller