During these first several weeks of the campus year we are actively following up surveys and developing relationships with freshmen. How well we do in involving freshmen during this time determines what our movements will look like in the next few years.
It is important that our students develop in relational and conversational evangelism skills.
A few years ago, I was given a copy of Chad Young’s book Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World. Authenticity speaks to the foundational truths of the Christian life.
In chapter 10, “Just Talkin’ about Jesus.”, Chad describes relational and conversational evangelism. First, he talks about our getting to know those we are seeking to share with. Then he talks about how to share the Good News.
Chad begins with three ideas from Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism.
- Declaring the gospel
- Defending the gospel
- Dialoguing the gospel
This third one, dialoguing the gospel, is the focus here, “the skill of giving and taking, bouncing ideas back and forth, and most importantly, listening.”
“While a lot of books have been written on declaring the gospel and defending the gospel, the art of asking good questions and dialoguing the gospel are often neglected and difficult to master. It takes time to cultivate love, caring, and trust, which lead to deeper conversations. The best place to learn how to have an evangelistic conversation is to study the conversations Jesus had in the four Gospels. In the NIV New Testament, Jesus asks 252 questions in eight-five chapters—that’s almost three questions per chapter!
One of the most powerful pictures of Jesus using conversational evangelism is in Luke 24, right after his still-secret resurrection. At this point in time, the good news of Jesus didn’t seem too good to his followers. Their leader had been crucified, and they had been scattered.
On the day of the resurrection, two of them were walking along a road toward a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were having a conversation about everything that had happened to Jesus. As they were walking and talking, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.
Jesus ask them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stopped and looked at him sadly. One of them asked him.” Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things which have happened there in these days?”
Jesus asked, “What things?”
They then told Jesus about all of the things that had happened and that the tomb was empty earlier that morning. Jesus continued to walk and talk with them, and they invited him to stay with them for the night and have dinner. Jesus accepted the invitation, and at dinnertime their eyes were opened so they could recognize who he was. He then immediately vanished from their sight.
…As the two men were walking on a road during their spiritual journey, Jesus joined them and traveled alongside them. He connected with them so deeply they urged him to stay, and then he shared his good news.”
When we help our staff, students, faculty and volunteers learn how to engage in conversational evangelism we counteract how our culture views Christians.
- Questions leading into spiritual conversations
- Asking Powerful Questions
- Bringing Christ into Conversation
- Provoking Curiosity
- Belonging Comes Before Believing
Fall Coaching Tips