Christianity Today recently released an article you may have seen, Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower. It’s a worthy article to read Kirsten Powers’ first hand personal testimony of how she became a follower of Jesus.
It is getting a lot of airplay at the moment (I must have seen it 30 times already in personal Facebook feed, and uncountable times in my Twitter feed). If you haven’t read it yet, click on the link to read it.
Her testimony shows me 7 important principles of personal evangelism that we can all remember as we share our faith in Christ with people who mean a lot to us.
7 Principles Seen in Kirsten Powers’ Testimony
1. Evangelism is a process.
The conversion process is not always instant or dramatic like the Apostle Paul’s. Powers’ story tells us the whole process of her life.
She covers the journey of awakening, gathering evidence, reflecting on information learned, doing some reading, and talking out loud with friends about what one is learning of God.
It is a process of sowing, watering, cultivating, tending, weeding, and preparing a fruit for harvest.
2. Spiritual thirst propels a search.
Spiritual thirst is what opens the doors to great spiritual conversations. Spiritual thirst is the underlying motive that people have to seek after God, to start and continue their search for God. Powers experienced spiritual thirst in her restlessness that kept propelling her to return to hear Tim Keller’s sermon. That spiritual thirst also propelled her to seek out that friend who recommended the Bible Study.
I write about this elsewhere on the blog, so follow this link to the spiritual thirst tutorial.
3. God can reveal Himself
Powers writes about a mystical encounter with Christ that even she had a hard time processing.
God can choose to reveal himself to a person who is seeking Him.
It can be part of the process that God uses to bring about a faith awakening.
4. A good question can help the process.
Powers’ boyfriend asked a critical question at good time. The force of that question was life changing. It triggered the restlessness that lead to an intense search for the truth. Sometimes, people need to hear a question, not a proclamation.
Imagine if the boyfriend had shared the gospel at that time. The results could have been dramatically different. Wisdom continues to show us that sometimes, we need to be patient in the process.
5. People need time.
People need time to
- Consider the new information being shared in the teaching
- Clear up misconceptions about God.
- Trust Christians (as many have likely encountered aggressive evangelists).
- Be willing to surrender to Christ.
Even though we have an urgency to share the gospel, we know that people need time to process.
6. A credible witness.
A credible witness can change a person’s perspective. The gentle witness of Powers’ boyfriend helped her journey to faith. This is where lifestyle evangelism has an important role in demonstrating the work of Jesus in a person’s life.
Keller’s preaching also presented a credible witness. The logic and reasoning helped persuade Powers to the truth of Christ, even if she was unwilling to accept it personally for a season.
Relational Evangelism works. Your life can help change a person’s mind about Jesus.
7. People need a safe place.
Redeemer Presbyterian became that safe place. The Bible Study became that safe place. Questions can be asked, answers can be sought.
Pre-Christian people making the first steps to come to a Christian small group are demonstrating a step of faith on their part. To some extent, that is a reflection of their spiritual thirst. It tells me they are open to studying spiritual things and perhaps might actually seek a relationship with Christ.
Small groups can be a wonderful place to explore the truth, consider the claims of Jesus, and wrestle with those claims.
My own Personal Evangelism Teaching on DVD
I have a DVD (or digital download) set that focuses on a conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:
- casual conversation between friends
- causal conversation between strangers
Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store. I believe it can help you understand the process of evangelism as I teach it.
It is a recording of a live seminar I gave in 2012.