It was an evangelists dream. I had been visiting with Shelly for a good hour about her thoughts about God, her experience with church, her life dreams. Our conversation had moved to a place about talking about Jesus, who He is, and what He has done for us. Then she popped the question, “I don’t really know if I understand what it means to be a Christian and how I could become one. Could you explain it to me?”
I had been taking steps of courage to talk fellow students about faith and God. I had been praying for more opportunities to share with people what Christ had done for me. And she set it up for a tee for me. But instead of jumping at the opportunity, I froze.
All of the Sunday School lessons, Bible Studies, and sermons I had heard for the past 20 years, ran through my mind. All the important ideas of our Christian faith flashed before me: the Creation, the 10 commandments, Moses parting the red sea, Jesus healing the blind man, the Sermon on the Mount. But what was I supposed to say to her right now, the essentials she would need to know in order to become a Christian.
“I’m not sure,” is all I heard come out of my mouth. I walked away that night embarrassed and heart broken. This had been my chance. I vowed to myself that no one would ever ask me that question again without me having an answer of my understanding of what it meant and how a person enters into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I spent the next few months and years asking pastors, reading books, searching Scriptures to come up with a response that I would give in this situation.
Can We Be Prepared?
In the last couple of years I went to a couple of denomination seminars on evangelism. Strategies about how to approach people, how to serve people, how to bring up spiritual matters were discussed. In both of these seminars, I asked the presenter to share with the seminar the content of what we should share and invite others into a relationship with Christ.
Both presenters said that they did not like to give anyone the content of what we should share because it is so much a mystery. Is the good news of Jesus Christ so complicated that we cannot verbally articulate it to others? I mean, what if they ask questions that I don’t know how to answer. What if I say something wrong?
Are You Prepared?
Peter encourages us: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” As you are interacting with friends, colleagues, family, etc. looking for opportunities to share your faith with them, are you ready to share with them what it means to be a Christian and how you would invite them to take that step if they are ready?
Attached is a document that takes you process to find the what I consider the Bible would call the essentials of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Take time to work through it and work on how to articulate these Gospel truths in your own words.
Rusty has been the director of the Wesley for 15 years. He is an ordained minister in the Southwest Texas United Methodist conference. Rusty grew up on a farm in the small West Texas town of Lockney. He graduated from McMurry University in 1991 and received his Masters of Divinity in 1998 from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Rusty has been married to his wife Cheryl since 1993 and has a son, Stephen.