Two Challenges to Fixed Gospel Presentations (Scripts)

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Gospel Scripts

Scripted EvangelismThis evening I read a post about evangelism scripts at this blog.

The main gist of the entry is of an encounter between an evangelist with a script and the author being the one evangelized.

The evangelism script in the discussion came from Evangelism Explosion, a tool that has been highly useful in the past and one that can be still useful today.

In following the script, the evangelist never really listened to the person’s answers. Read the original article yourself.

The need to know how to present the gospel

As evangelists, we need a “Default setting.”

A default setting is a gospel script that we have  mastered so well that it is second nature to use it.

A default setting enables us to explain a few points of the gospel clearly when its appropriate.

A default setting allows us to be diamond clear, rather than muddy clear.

A default setting allows us to be calm while communicating the gospel.

Some Default settings that I have encountered:

Each one of these can provide a script that we can use as a “default setting.”

However, we still need to listen to the person we are talking to and be flexible with the script, adapting it to the context of the conversation.

I’m not saying in any of this that I’m changing the gospel, or leaving anything out. I’m being flexible in the give and take of a conversation to listen and respond, present or inquire.

The problems with gospel scripts

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 the 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.

All 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 one 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 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.

See our entire series on Gospel Scripts

Let me ask you this:

Do you have a default setting you use?

Can you share how you are conversationally flexible with it?

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.

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