Story Number 3: The Gospel Story

My hope is in the Lord Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.
For me He died, For me He lives,

And everlasting life and light He freely gives

— Hymn, For me he died, for me he lives

God’s love has worked in your life

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
Source: YouVersion

Jesus died for you.

His death paid the price for the forgiveness of your sins.

His death and resurrection paved the way for you to enjoy fellowship with God forever.

You have been reconciled to the Father and you can now discover the outrageous  love of the Father for you.

It’s the greatest story every told.

But we fail to tell the story

We think we know the gospel story.

But when we are put on the spot, in some random moment in a spiritual conversation, we grasp at fog.

We stumble for words.

We are not sure where to start.

We start off in one direction, and then change direction in the middle of a thought.

Most of us have fallen short in mastering being able to tell the greatest story ever told.

We might be good at telling stories

But telling people the actual gospel leaves us speechless or disorganized.

Tell the gospel story well in real life

I once challenged a teen in my youth group to tell the gospel story to a friend.

She was nervous about it, but she knew the major movements of the gospel story.

  • God loves us, but sin separates us from God
  • God’s love didn’t leave us without a solution.
  • God demonstrated his love in Christ’s death and resurrection.
  • That if we believe and confess, receive him, we become a follower of Christ.

As her gospel sharing conversation proceeded, even with conversational detours, she confidently moved through them.

At the end, her friend simply said:

No one has ever shared it so clearly before.  Now I know what it means when they say “Christ died for me.”

How could this teen tell the story so well?

Even when there were conversational detours?

It is because she had memorized a gospel story and mastered the outline.

We reviewed one quarterly in our youth group.

I made everyone practice it on a regular basis.

Because she knew the outline, she could calmly and clearly communicate.

Lesson learned the hard way

A self declared non-Christian friend asked me one time:

“Chris, what is the Gospel?”

I had the perfect opportunity to explain the gospel simply and clearly.

Instead, my explanation was a clear as the muddy Mississippi River during a flood.

After that moment, I decided that I needed to learn a script so that I’d not be caught unprepared again.  In God’s sovereignty, my friend eventually came to faith, but certainly not because of my eloquently clear presentation.

Action Steps

To master this conversational story, find one of the gospel scripts and master it.

Here are a handful of gospel scripts.

I personally have chosen the bridge illustration

The Key to Using a Gospel Story

The key to using gospel scripts is to know ONE “inside out”so that your explanation is crystal clear, but doesn’t seem scripted.

Meaning that you can use it

  • at any given moment,
  • can “do it in your sleep”
  • without having to think too hard.
  • without hyperventilating
  • without forgetting where you are out.
  • without a fear of lack of words or not knowing what to say.

Once you are deeply familiar with one, then add another one to your skill set.

The Problems with memorized gospel stories

1.  Theological debates

Some will find fault with the theology of certain gospel presentations.

No script is able to capture the full richness of the gospel in 3 or 4 propositional points.

While I think all of us would agree on the main points, some of the theological nuances will be points of difference.

For example, I know people who think the Four Spiritual Laws is wrong because it starts in the wrong spot.

Others believe the gospel is all about law and sin, and so the starting point must be the 10 commandments.

Each of these scripts deal with the problem of sin, but how they discuss sin is often related to some theological presuppositions.

For example, read are you a Genesis 3 Christian?  Would sin have been the best starting point for her?

Or for a different point, where would you start the gospel with a member of an indigenous tribe who doesn’t have a Western worldview, but worships an alligator?

The solution is to find a gospel version that fits your theological stream that you can be comfortable with.

2.  Using scripts by rote memory.

Following a script as exactly as possible can be as impersonal as calling a 1-800 number for customer service.

The customer service person in the remote call center has a script to follow, who doesn’t cares what you really need or are really asking.

For the user who is following the script as strictly as possible, the give and take of the conversation messes it up.

This leads to interior anxiety and frustration because it’s out of line.

I’ve talked with some who think a presentation doesn’t work (as if the gospel presentation is a magic formula) unless it’s followed exactly, which means there can be no give and take of a discussion.

I’ve encountered others who place so much emphasis on the right presentation, that their “conversations” are actually monologues led by their own rhetorical questions.

When we follow a script, we have to listen to the “customer” (don’t get carried away with my analogy) and respond appropriately with love. Conversational evangelism is sharing the good news of the gospel, not a canned product placement pitch.

Let me ask you this

Which script of those listed above do you know inside and out?

If you don’t know one, commit this week to learn one.

Want to watch more of my teaching on Spiritual Conversations?

This teaching set (download or DVD) can help you have more effective conversations with people when you discern where they are in their spiritual journey.  Knowing where they are can help relieve the pressure of any conversation about Christ.  Click the banner to read more.

Effective Conversations: Clues to Better Personal Evangelism DVD

Six Evangelism Styles – A Video Summary

Lee Strobel shares a quick video synopsis of the 6 styles of personal evangelism.

The material came from Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleberg.

In the book, Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg point out that there are a variety of different evangelism styles.

  • Confrontational: Peter, Acts 2.
  • Intellectual / Philosophical: Paul, Acts 17.
  • Testimonial: Blind Man, John 9
  • Invitational: Woman at the Well, John 4
  • Serving: Dorcas (Tabitha), Acts 9: 36ff
  • Signs and Wonders: First Corinthians 2:1-5.

To this list, I would add “Chance Conversations,” based on Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

The greatest contribution this book makes is the recognition of various evangelism styles.

This list has become a fountainhead for a lot of other teaching.

For example, it is the foundation for Jeffrey Johnson’s work, “Got Style?”, which helps your church decide the best evangelism course based on it’s personality.

My own Evangelism Teaching on DVD

DVD from Evangelism Coach on How to have more effective Evangelism Conversations

I have a DVD set (or digital download) that focuses on a conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:

  • casual conversation between friends
  • causal conversation between strangers
  • a relational style evangelism
  • a friendship style evangelism

Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store

It will show you how to have good faith sharing conversations no matter what your style.

Lee Strobel shares on Different Evangelism Styles

 

Evangelismania for Life Conference Milford Delaware, June 2015

EvangelismMania For Life Conference Logo, Milford DE, June 2015 EvangelismCoach Personal Evangelism ConferenceImagine:

  • You confidently answer a question about why you follow Jesus.
  • Your friend asks you how you became a Christian and you give a clear story.
  • You share the gospel story without being tongue-tied.

Just this week, I met a church member who felt that evangelism was not doable because he felt he had

  • no talent,
  • no skill,
  • nor verbally eloquent like his pastor.

My friend lacked any confidence that he could witness to anyone.

Maybe you feel the same way. You find personal evangelism intimidating. You would rather clean a pig sty instead of talking about Jesus to your friends.

I was.

Learn how Personal Evangelism can be Natural

Speaking at Your Evangelism EventThe EvangelismMania for Life conference will help you overcome those natural fears and find fresh freedom in sharing your faith.

As you go through the seminar with Chris Walker, you’ll

  • Learn to recognize God given moments to talk about your faith
  • Discover evangelism can be as normal and natural as breathing.
  • Find and develop the four core evangelism skills you need, even if you don’t know your Bible.

Discover a compassion for the lost and learn how to share your faith.

This seminar is designed to give you a clear understanding of personal evangelism which results in a compassion that swallows fear and equips you to be effective in everyday life.

It’s designed to move you from clumsy to confident in just ONE day.

Coming to Milford Delaware, June 27, 2015

If you live in or near the Milford MD or central Eastern Shore area you don’t want to miss this FREE event. . . .

Chris will help you find the same confidence that has helps him talk about his faith in Christ to anyone who asks. He used to be the obnoxious evangelist no one wants to be and has learned core skills to make evangelism.


The seminar dispelled the fears associated with evangelism. Both personal stories and Biblical truth provided a framework from which to proceed in making sharing my faith conversationally more a part of my lifestyle.

I would highly recommend this class to anyone with a heart for becoming more verbal in their witness. — Participant


Come to learn some of the practical ways Chris has discovered to share your faith out of his research, study, and first hand real life experience from serving as a local pastor, planting two churches and doing evangelism work cross culturally in 9 different countries.

Date:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

10 a.m. Breakfast/registration,

11 a.m. Workshop I

12:30 Lunch

2 p.m. Workshop II

3:30 Break

6 p.m. Evening Crusade

Location:

Jesus Love Temple, Milford Delaware.


View Larger Map

Cost:

This personal evangelism seminar is free.

It is sponsored by Jesus Love Temple.

Other Notes:

  • Registration information will be shared with EvangelismCoach.org.
  • Lunch will be provided. More information as time draws closer.
  • A resource table will be available, where Chris will provide audio CDs and other items from his resources.
  • When you register online, you’ll receive a complimentary subscription to the weekly newsletter by email, every Friday at 2pm. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Register Here:

Register online for free. You’ll receive reminders as the conference draws near.

We encourage you to bring your ministry leadership team to this event.

Event is open to the public and other churches are invited to register and attend.

Who is Chris Walker?

2013ChrisWalkerHeadShot425x287Chris Walker, of http://www.EvangelismCoach.org, is the featured speaker.

He is fittingly known as the Evangelism Coach because of his extensive work with churches in the US and Latin America in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Chris is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

His website has over 1000 articles on personal evangelism, congregational evangelism, and hospitality, as well as a podcast feed, all for free.

He has written:

Chris has also recorded 2 CDs on church hospitality issues, authored 2 DVDs for training greeters, and a 3 DVD set on Breaking Unseen Barriers that keep your visitors from coming back. Plus, he’s recorded additional DVDS and CDs on personal evangelism. All resources will be available at the resource table. Credit Cards will be accepted.


“Fall 2010 has gone well. I believe the First Touch teams have a renewed sense of purpose and others are doing their part to apply the welcoming concepts they learned when you spoke here. I heard from many folks about how helpful and energizing it was to hear you speak.

Your talk helped us see the need to engage people, not just serve them. I think overall it was one of our most successful events ever, and was a real example of how the momentum is shifting in a positive way.” P Strachan, Midlothian VA.


Chris is a highly accessible speaker who brings a passion and energy to his workshops that is contagious.

Geoff McClean, Pastor


I feel rejuvenated in learning to pray after the Salvation Army Quest ministry workshops in Michigan. Chris is very passionate and on fire for what he speaks about. Keep up the good work!

Dean Groendal
Muskegon Corps, Salvation Army

 

logo1

Faith Story Number 2: Your Journey to Faith

Faith Story Number 2 is the story of your own journey to faith - How You became a Follower of Christ

The story of your journey to Jesus is one of the most crucial ways that people see how Jesus is relevant to your life.

You might have had a dramatic conversion like the Apostle Paul, or a gradual awakening like Timothy.

You might be able to point to a day and time like the Apostle Paul:

  • Walking forward to an altar call, or
  • Kneeling alone in your bedroom on night.
  • Praying a “I surrender” type prayer with a friend.

Or, if that wasn’t you, you might be able to describe a Timothy style awakening:

  • “It happened, but I’m not sure when.”
  • I’ve been to church all my life, but I know that I believe.
  • I grew up surrounded by believers and I’ve always known Jesus.

No matter how it happened, you need to know your story.

You need to know your journey story in depth so that you can share relevant portions at a moment’s notice.

Different ways to describe that Journey to Faith

Gary Rohrmayer’s book (Spiritual Conversations) maps out a spiritual journey to Christ in descriptive phrases

  1. Hostile
  2. Curious
  3. Actively Seeking
  4. Surrender

Everts and Schaupp (I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus) map out the spiritual journey in phases

  1. Distrust to trust – trusting a Christian
  2. Complacent to Curious – the shift of spiritual thirst.
  3. Closed to change to open to change – hardest threshold to cross (personal life)
  4. From Meandering to Seeking.
  5. The actual conversion to the Kingdom of God (surrender).

They also pick up the biblical image of planting from Mark 4:26-29

Kevin Harney uses this same metaphor as the basis of his book: Organic Outreach for Ordinary People: Sharing Good News Naturally.

Your Own Conversion Journey

I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit draws people to faith over time.

Even the Apostle Paul was prepared before that Damascus Road.The Journey to Faith of the Apostle Paul

In one of my seminar’s, I saw this in real life.  Read here on some of the faith stories I heard.

Each journey to faith story I listen to has more than one key turning point in the discovery of God.

That turning point might have been a

  • Sermon
  • Conversation
  • Life circumstances
  • A dream that God gave you.
  • Invitation to a church or event
  • Late night musings over deep issues.
  • A mystical and spiritual encounter with Jesus.

Think about your own conversion journey and the influences upon your life that shaped your faith.

  • Do you recall individual conversations with friends about God?
  • Do you recall different individuals who helped you while explored Christianity?
  • Do you remember important sermons where something “clicked” and it made sense?
  • Do you recall songs, art, poetry, or music that moved you to explore Christianity more?
  • Did you have some late nights pondering life issues such as is there life after death, how do you find meaning, how can you ?
  • How many times did you look at the beauty of nature and wonder about the nature of God?

Free Your Journey Story Download:

This 33 question discussion guide can help you think through elements of your story.

It’s a free download.

Get it here: http://www.evangelismcoach.org/2011/free-download-personal-testimony/

Devotional questions to help you develop your Christian Testimony. Free Download from EvangelismCoach

 

Conference: Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People – Eastern North Carolina. August 14-15, 2015

Imagine:Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People Conference August 2015 North Carolina

  • You confidently answer a question about why you follow Jesus.
  • Your friend asks you how you became a Christian and you give a clear story.
  • You share the gospel story without being tongue-tied.

Just this week, I met a church member who felt that evangelism was not doable because he felt he had

  • no talent,
  • no skill,
  • nor verbally eloquent like his pastor.

My friend lacked any confidence that he could witness to anyone.

Maybe you feel the same way. You find personal evangelism intimidating. You would rather clean a pig sty instead of talking about Jesus to your friends.

I was.

Learn how Personal Evangelism can be Natural

Speaking at Your Evangelism EventThe Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People seminar will help you overcome those natural fears and find fresh freedom in sharing your faith.

As you go through the seminar with Chris Walker, you’ll

  • Learn to recognize God given moments to talk about your faith
  • Discover evangelism can be as normal and natural as breathing.
  • Find and develop the four core evangelism skills you need, even if you don’t know your Bible.

Discover a compassion for the lost and learn how to share your faith.

This seminar is designed to give you a clear understanding of personal evangelism which results in a compassion that swallows fear and equips you to be effective in everyday life.

It’s designed to move you from clumsy to confident in just ONE day.

Coming to Eastern North Carolina, August 14 &15, 2015

If you live in or near the area, you don’t want to miss this FREE event. . . .Lunch will be available for purchase at the event for $8.

Chris will help you find the same confidence that has helps him talk about his faith in Christ to anyone who asks. He used to be the obnoxious evangelist no one wants to be and has learned core skills to make evangelism.


The seminar dispelled the fears associated with evangelism. Both personal stories and Biblical truth provided a framework from which to proceed in making sharing my faith conversationally more a part of my lifestyle.

I would highly recommend this class to anyone with a heart for becoming more verbal in their witness. — Participant


Come to learn some of the practical ways Chris has discovered to share your faith out of his research, study, and first hand real life experience from serving as a local pastor, planting two churches and doing evangelism work cross culturally in 9 different countries.

Dates:

One conference.  Two locations.

Friday, August 14, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, NC

AND

Saturday, August 15, 2015 at Jonesboro Presbyterian Church, NC

9:00a – 4:00p

Registration opens at 8:30am.

Location:

First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, NC

400 N Bayshore Blvd, Jacksonville, NC 28540


View Larger Map

Jonesboro Presbyterian Church, Sanford NC

2200 Woodland Ave 308 Turner Rd, Sanford, NC 27330


View Larger Map

Cost:

This personal evangelism seminar is free.

Lunch will be available for purchase at the door for $8.

It is sponsored by Presbytery of Coastal Carolina.

Other Notes:

  • Registration information will be shared with EvangelismCoach.org.
  • Lunch will be provided for a nominal cost, or you may bring your own. More information as time draws closer.
  • A resource table will be available, where Chris will provide audio CDs and other items from his resources.
  • When you register online, you’ll receive a complimentary subscription to the weekly newsletter by email, every Friday at 2pm. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Register Here:

Register online for free. Lunch will be available for purchase at the event for $8.You’ll receive reminders as the conference draws near.

Pick your site:

Friday, August 14, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville NC

Saturday, August 15, 2015 at Jonesboro Presbyterian Church, Sanford NC

We encourage you to bring your ministry leadership team to this event.

Event is open to the public and other churches are invited to register and attend.

Who is Chris Walker?

2013ChrisWalkerHeadShot425x287Chris Walker, of http://www.EvangelismCoach.org, is the featured speaker.

He is fittingly known as the Evangelism Coach because of his extensive work with churches in the US and Latin America in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Chris is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

His website has over 1000 articles on personal evangelism, congregational evangelism, and hospitality, as well as a podcast feed, all for free.

He has written:

Chris has also recorded 2 CDs on church hospitality issues, authored 2 DVDs for training greeters, and a 3 DVD set on Breaking Unseen Barriers that keep your visitors from coming back. Plus, he’s recorded additional DVDS and CDs on personal evangelism. All resources will be available at the resource table. Credit Cards will be accepted.


“Fall 2010 has gone well. I believe the First Touch teams have a renewed sense of purpose and others are doing their part to apply the welcoming concepts they learned when you spoke here. I heard from many folks about how helpful and energizing it was to hear you speak.

Your talk helped us see the need to engage people, not just serve them. I think overall it was one of our most successful events ever, and was a real example of how the momentum is shifting in a positive way.” P Strachan, Midlothian VA.


Chris is a highly accessible speaker who brings a passion and energy to his workshops that is contagious.

Geoff McClean, Pastor


I feel rejuvenated in learning to pray after the Salvation Army Quest ministry workshops in Michigan. Chris is very passionate and on fire for what he speaks about. Keep up the good work!

Dean Groendal
Muskegon Corps, Salvation Army