“At the beginning of college, I started to step away from my faith a little, and around the time I felt a pull inside me, I met Nate and went to the coffee shop to talk. Talking at the coffee shop was something I needed and I began to grow in my faith again. The Bible study that followed was a true blessing because it allowed me to feel confident with my faith and disciple other friends.”
This is from a student at Mississippi State who encountered the gospel of Jesus Christ again by way of someone sharing the gospel with him, intentionally meeting with him the next day, and discipling him throughout the school year. As we see throughout Scripture and in this testimony, the gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful and moves through His people. The issue that we often face is that His people are not always willing or equipped to share the gospel.
Why Not Share?
A major reason people do not share their faith is because they do not know how. Well, what about people being scared because that is out of their comfort zone? I believe that the fear of sharing the gospel comes from a misperception of what it actually looks like and a lack of practical knowledge of how to share. We want to share, but we are waiting for an opportunity to come to us because we do not know how to seek one out. So many of us in the church can give a simple, practical story of the gospel, but where people get hung up is questions like: How do you start a gospel-centered conversation without sounding intrusive? How do you share the gospel without forgetting anything? What do you say after you finish sharing the gospel? The answers to these questions and others will be answered this month on Sunday nights at “Gospel Conversations”.
Why do we need to have Gospel Conversations?
I asked John McMahon, a senior at MSU, about his experience with sharing the gospel and this is what he had to say:
“This past year and a half was very eye-opening for me. Sharing with others was not something with which I was exactly comfortable... But thanks to the trainings from Nathan Taylor and the training team that he later brought in, I stepped out of my comfort zone and shared my faith. That is something I will forever be thankful for because this led to me regularly sharing Jesus. Seeing someone say yes to Him is the most exciting and fulfilling thing anyone can experience. I remember smiling from ear to ear as I heard some international students say yes to Jesus in their apartment complex. This led to an awesome relationship that included me eating curry with my hands as we sat in their apartment and shared laughs. Behind this relationship was one goal: Jesus. Without sharing Jesus first, the relationships would not have happened.”
John’s story is one that is so encouraging to hear. He had little experience sharing the gospel until someone presented him with the problem and a solution. Problem: There are simply too many lost people and not enough people sharing the gospel. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…” Luke 10:2. Solution: Learn how to share and then go share. When John realized this, his life changed. There was a burden for the lost and a passion to see people get saved. He knew that there was only one way that was going to happen:
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14
Why do we want to share the gospel and why are we having this training? We are ambassadors for Christ and the kingdom. We have a responsibility to reach the lost people of this world both in our town and overseas.
Who should be having Gospel Conversations?
God uses normal, everyday people to share the gospel. Over the last year God opened my eyes to see two things. The first thing is that we are all called to share the gospel. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” This is a calling to all believers. Although there are people who are called specifically to serve as evangelists and others to overseas missions, we are all called to actively share the good news of Jesus. That is why our church includes the word “Go” in our mission statement. The second thing is that America and even our Starkville community is more lost than I ever thought it was. As I have encountered people over the past year and asked them if they felt near to God, I have found that people measure their nearness to God based on things like being baptized, or their parents’ faith, or going to church. The thing that they don’t do is measure their nearness by a personal relationship with Jesus. Matthew 7:21-23 tells us that many people will say they are Christians without actually being Christians. This means that we must share with our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We live in a culture where many people claim Christianity but do not truly follow Christ, so it is our responsibility to humbly come alongside them and point them to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Who should go and share the good news? We should!
What is a Gospel Conversation?
My friend, John McMahon, has coined the phrase, “tools in my tool belt”. He is referring to some practical gospel “tools” that we can use to share the gospel. Tools such as a simple gospel diagram, learning how to ask good questions, asking to pray for people, etc, can be the difference in your relationships with others. Jesus modeled this clearly with the woman at the well in John 4. We can learn from this account by aiming at the heart when we talk to people who are lost. Many people in this woman’s town believed because Jesus aimed his conversation with her at the heart.
Nathan Taylor had this to say about gospel tools:
“For me, I knew what the Bible said about telling others about what Jesus had to offer them, and I certainly recognized that I lived in a community and world surrounded by people living in brokenness. A gap existed between those two understandings that left me standing on the sidelines most of the time when it came to those around me [who] were far from God. Being taught a few simple gospel tools helped me bridge that gap and has led to many great spiritual conversations with people.”
Many of us, myself included, have found ourselves or currently find ourselves standing on the sidelines. We are just a few gospel tools away from bridging the gap between our knowing what we should do and actually doing it.
When is Gospel Conversations?
Beginning on September 9 at 5:30 pm in the Warehouse, you will have the opportunity to come and receive training on how to confidently and effectively share the love and hope of Jesus. Over the span of four Sunday nights, we will learn why we are called to share the gospel, who to share with, what to say, and how to disciple new believers. One of these nights we will take all of the tools that we have added to our tool belt into the community of Starkville for a time of sharing. I hope you will join us for this time as we gather as the body of Christ to learn more and do more about sharing the gospel.