I’m about to say something potentially scandalous. So please don’t stone me.
I personally believe that most of the unsaved people you know are NOT actually opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are just confused by your gospel presentation. So what appears to you as a rejection of Jesus, is more of a misunderstanding of the representation and “religious” elements of Christianity.
You are proclaiming the greatest news ever told in the history of the world! But the unsaved around you are only ‘sort of’ hearing it….
For example, take the words we use…
“Sacrifice. Propitiation. Redemption. The garden. The fall of man.”
Many lost people hear those words and might think, “What the heck are you talking about?!”
I’m not saying that the elements listed above are bad or somehow take away from the gospel. In fact, those elements listed above ARE THE GOSPEL. But the way we share the story of Jesus sometimes distracts the listener from grabbing hold of the gospels essential truths.
Four years ago (on the mission field of all places) a personal epiphany came over me: I had no idea how to share the gospel in a clear, concise, powerful and interactive way.
This revelation came after years of frustration, confusion, self-doubt and even disappointment with evangelism. Sometimes the gospel seemed to work. Other times it didn’t. My theology for evangelism and people’s openness to the gospel began to shrink down to something I could rationalize. Instead of pressing deeper into the heart of God for breakthrough and revival, I started making excuses that brought reasoning to my lack of results.
But all of a sudden, something changed…
And it wasn’t the harvest that changed, it was ME!
It was a humbling, scary, and defining moment of my life. I realized that my wordage and interactions were far more deafening to the gospel than I ever imagined. What I thought were demons plaguing my evangelism times, were really just miscues on my part.
Jesus said the harvest is plentiful and ready.
Period. End of story.
In other words, lost people are ready to be saved.
The harvest always stays the same. It’s dark, plentiful and lost. What needs to change is our attitude as believers as we communicate the most important, powerful, glorious story ever told. As I made a personal switch in sharing the gospel, I saw instant results right in front of my eyes. Benny Hinn did not lay hands on me. I didn’t go to an evangelism school for five months. I simply remembered the gospel in its entirety, and put it into relatable words in my culture’s context.
The ministry I serve with, Campus Target, implemented a new way to share the gospel as a result of this. We started to see daily salvations, multiple Asian college students getting saved at one time; it was crazy! And best of all, because we simplified our gospel presentation we were able to train our new Asian disciples in a simple, powerful, concise, interactive presentation as well! The gospel began to explode throughout our organization!
And the great thing about this is Jesus’ words still remain true today. Two thousand years ago He said it over the harvest. And it rings just as true as you read this sentence.
America is plentiful and ready for salvation. Your city is plentiful and ready for salvation. Your youth group is plentiful and ready for salvation. The schools surrounding your area are what? Plentiful and ready for salvation!
For you, your leaders, and your ministry…how can you spark evangelism and see your youth trained to share the gospel like never before? Here are some steps and questions for you to think about:
- Do ‘hard thinking’ – what are my barriers to sharing the gospel?
a. If you as the leader aren’t sharing the gospel, or running into the same situations I did previously, take some time aside and pray about this situation. Think hard about how you are interacting with the lost people around you.
b. Sharing the gospel should not be delegated to the ‘fivefold evangelists’, it’s for all of us!
- Get clarity – what is the gospel? What are areas I’m confused or lacking clarity in?
a. If you are unclear of your goals and the gospel – that will be magnified in your youth. “A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew.”
b. Can you share the gospel in 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 30 minutes? Search the scriptures, remember the glorious theme of redemption throughout the Bible and find ways to communicate clearly.
- K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) – what can I simplify to multiply impact?
a. Stop using big, Christianese words! Find ways to express ‘sacrifice, the cross, the garden’ in ways that connect with young people and can be understood.
b. I find writing out the gospel story is a great way to see your complications. When I wrote it out four years ago, I came up with six different sections of the gospel and named them. So it’s easy to recall where you are in the story, and easy to train others as well.
- Interaction is key –am I taking time to connect and dialogue with those I’m sharing with?
a. We built a lot of question into our gospel presentation. We are constantly asking people, “do you understand what I have said so far? Can you relate with what I’m saying? Do you have any questions?”
b. Questions draw people in and actually bring up incredible conversations in themselves. Don’t just ramble for 20 minutes! Love them, get to know them, build relationship…
- Bring in outside help – what are the resources around me to help get this off the ground?
a. Talk with someone you know who is evangelistic and relevant. Find someone who is sharing the gospel with those around them and actually seeing people saved! Have them help you think through your evangelism approach and training. (send me an email – I’ll help you out!)
The story of Jesus is far too important for us not to consider these steps and re-evaluate the way we are doing ministry. If changing a few things we are currently doing leads to more people starting a relationship with Christ – isn’t that worth it?
For me, four years ago I did some hard thinking and made some hard changes, and I can tell you, after seeing hundreds and hundreds of Asian college students give their lives to the Lord….it’s worth it.
Alex Seidler is the Launch Director for Campus Target. He oversees short term and long term trips, as well as Campus Target's internship program. He is a graduate of EBI and is currently studying at Roberts Wesleyan College. Alex has been a missionary for almost a decade, and currently resides in Lima, NY with his wife Jodi.