The Big Story – Improving the Bridge Illustration

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Gospel Scripts

James Choung has written a few books on explaining the Christian Faith. On of the issues that he tackles is updating or improving the Bridge Illustration.  The whole article is here at The Big Story | Tell It Slant .

“Choung’s ‘napkin theology’ and its ‘four-worlds’ diagram promise to be for evangelism in the twenty-first century what the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ were for the twentieth century.”
Leonard Sweet, author of The Church of the Perfect Storm, podcaster of the weekly “Napkin Scribbles” podcast

Check out these videos to see the telling of the story.  There are two here.

Here is what I like about the illustration:

  • It’s much less individual in it’s focus.
  • It adds in that we follow Christ to join in God’s redemptive story.
  • It talks about worldviews
  • It’s simple and can be reproduced on a napkin.
  • It incorporates some of the social aspects of the gospel.

After sharing this video on his blog, Choung received lots of feedback and suggestions and created version 2, which continues from the prior video

Let me ask you this?

What do you think of Choung’s improvement?  What do you make of how he explains sin, righteousness, eternity, kingdom?  Join the conversation below and comment.

How to Use the Bridge Illustration

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Gospel Scripts

The next series of posts will look at a few of the scripts I have used.

My default setting is the Bridge Illustration.

The Bridge Illustration is the one that I use the most often.

When I was a youth pastor, reviewed with my teenagers at least once every three months.

No one left our youth group without knowing this script inside and out.  I use it in all my seminars on personal evangelism.

I choose to do this because every gospel sharing conversation I have comes at unplanned moments and this script allows me to be prepared.

Why I Like the Bridge Illustration

I like it for various reasons:

  • Simple
  • Visual (for those visual learners).
  • Free
  • I can make it my own and customize on the fly.
  • I can use questions to keep it conversational.

Theological Concerns on the Bridge Illustration:

David Fitch has a good series of posts and discussion about some of the theological questions about the Bridge as a gospel script.  The comments raise great issues, and point to some other scripts. (See also Part 2 and Part 3).

I think an excellent addition to the bridge is to stress some of the benefits of following Christ:

  • The reality of our global brokenness from God’s good creation: war, famine.  Not just individual brokenness.
  • Inclusion into the community of faith (adoption).
  • Christ’s forgiveness also helps us deal with our corporate sin
  • Calling to Participate in God’s plan for the new creation.

Practical tips on using the Bridge Illustration

All you really need is a writing surface and a instrument.  I’ve used markers on a whiteboard, pens on a napkin, my kids’ crayons on the back of a paper placement in a diner.

Step 1

When you sense that it’s time to share, ask for permission unless it seems very natural in the current conversation that you are having.  “Can I share a drawing with you that explains what we are talking about?”

Step 2

Draw two lines horizontally, making two columns. Write God on the right side line and draw a little stick figure on the left.  I space about 2 or 3 inches between them.

Step 3

Explain  about the separation between the person and God.

Most times when I share this illustration, the person I’m speaking with is well aware of the Separation — that’s why they are look for God to start with.

You can draw two vertical lines from the inside of the horizontal lines to show a cliff of separation.

A good verse to share here is Romans 3:23, and I might write the word sin or separation at the bottom of the gap.  Another might be Hebrews 9:27 about the coming judgment for our sin.

Step 4

I explain that people try to reach God through all sorts of means: drugs, philosophy, good deeds.  I ask the person I’m talking with the share with me what things they have tried to do to reach God.

Step 5

Draw a cross that closes the gap while sharing how Christ died for us.  A good scripture would be Romans 5:8.  That gift is free, sharing from Ephesians 2:8-9.  We can believe and receive (John 1.12).  This is showing God’s solution to the problem of our separation

Step 6

I ask the person I’m speaking with, “Where would you put yourself on this drawing?”

That helps me to discern where that person is spiritually, and helps to suggest the next part of the conversation.  Perhaps there is something to debate, discussion, or an objection to resolve.  Perhaps a person wants more time to consider what is being heard.

See NavPress’s Official Version of the Bridge Illustration

Video Examples of the Bridge Illustration

Here is another video I found on You Tube.

If you want live coaching on using gospel scripts, see our 1-1 mentoring program. We’ll be glad to provide distance training, or live in person  Contact us for more info.