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:
- How to Use the Bridge Illustration by Navigators
- Four Spiritual Laws
- Evangelism Explosion
- Do versus Done
- Romans Road
- Evangecube (video)
- Ten Commandments (Living Waters, Ray Comfort).
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 focus of 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.
photo credit: deivanTi xx via cc
Hi Chris… I’ve used Evangelism Explosion’s diagnostic questions and several of their illustrations. I also find that the Bridge provides a useful means of sharing. Having said that, both and most approaches are useless unless a person is listening to the responses they’re receiving. Since I hate being railroaded in half a dozen areas of my life, I seek to use scripts that I’ve come across through the years as tools for content rather than an agenda that must be completed.