Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Missing Ingredients of Evangelism

Sometimes it feels like America’s “great” contribution to Christianity has been the merchandising of the Gospel. In generations past we seem to have taken the greatest story ever told and condensed it down to four basic bullet points that are easily remembered and shared. We have developed all sorts of opening questions that lead us into a well rehearsed presentation of our product. Christians the world over have been convinced that they are not good at being Christians because they are not natural salesman types.

The fact of the matter is, Jesus did not model this approach nor did He command that we go and notch our belts up with lots of “converts.” He modeled and left the instruction that we make disciples. This is a lifestyle of sharing the story and sharing life among people with whom we have established relationship. Simplifying this whole process into a five minute sales pitch has missed a whole lot of important aspects of discipleship, but there are two huge things that most “canned” approaches to witnessing miss:

The first missing aspect in most Gospel presentations is a Felt Need. Even back in the day when most of the target audience had a generally Judeo-Christian outlook, it was not enough to say that God loves you and has offered you a free gift. People need to recognize that they need salvation. They need to see themselves as having messed up, missed the mark and deserving of God’s judgment.

The second missing point is that the Gospel is Costly and not free. True, we do not (and cannot) pay the price for our salvation. God has paid it all, and the cost He paid was immeasurable. However, even while we cannot earn our salvation it is still a costly gift to receive. When we accept God’s gift of salvation it will forever change our lives. We are no longer in charge. We have given ourselves over to a master who demands that every aspect of our life come under His authority.

If you insist on presenting a “canned” presentation of the Gospel, be sure to include these points in your presentation.

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