Last weekend I was privileged to take part in a Good Soil Evangelism training seminar. Having grown up in a Christian home, Bible teaching churches, a Christian school, and two Bible colleges, I have heard much about evangelism. So, I was happily surprised to be challenged in my thinking. The training I received made me stop and reconsider my audience and how better to communicate with them.
Here are a few points that stood out to me:
1. Most of us are familiar with the Romans Road. Where does it usually begin? Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” What is that presuming? That my audience understands “sin” and “falling short,” as well as their belief in God’s existance. Three chapters precede chapter three verse twenty-three, building a foundation to prepare the hearer to learn he is a sinner in need. So, why do we usually start with Romans 3:23? It may be perfect for someone with a Bible background, but this is becoming less and less common.
2. What about the question, “If you were to die today and stand before God, why should He let you into heaven?” This presumes people believe in God, heaven and hell. Again, to the typical adult, confusing.
3. Sin. Most people don’t know what it is. We laughingly discussed “sinfully delicious desserts” as sadly the most common use of the word “sin” in our society. Or they may think of Bible beaters – people who condemn others with prideful self-absorbtion, yelling and pulpit pounding.
4. They presented a useful overview to help us understand where people are spiritually and where to being helping them in their relationship with God. Evangelism-Discipleship Scale
5. We studied John 1 (where I have normally suggested people begin reading their Bible) from the eyes of someone with no knowledge of the Old Testament. Shocking.
6. We watched the following video about the Mauk Tribe of Papua New Guinea. They had never heard of Jesus; they didn’t even know where they were in the world. A missionary couple, who was discouraged by most because of their age, family size, and health problems, felt called to to PNG to share the truth. I learned a lot from how they presented the Bible to this people which had no background in God’s Word. All of us sat their and wept, realizing how blessed we are to know God’s Word!