How can I turn a conversation toward the Gospel?
This is the number one question that I get on evangelism. For many people, the struggle is not how to share the Gospel. They understand the truth that Jesus’ death and resurrection makes it possible for all people to have a relationship with God. The hang up many people have is how to turn a conversation toward the Gospel without it feeling forced, awkward, or coming across as “preachy.” So how do you start talking about the Gospel in a conversation with someone else?
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want to speak about the Gospel you have to LISTEN.
Each conversation presents its own unique opportunity to respond with the truth of the Gospel. In order to understand how to share the Gospel you have to listen to what the person is walking through in life and speak the hope of Jesus into their situation.
In his book, “Turning Everyday Conversations Into Gospel Conversations,” pastor Jimmy Scroggins gives this helpful insight on how to listen for a Gospel opportunity:
“Wait for the moment in the conversation when someone shares a problem, issue, or concern.”
Then, respond with the hope of Jesus. Pastor Scroggins recommends saying something like, “I haven’t been through the exact situation that you mentioned, but I have had similar struggles. Can I share something with you that really helped me?”
And just like that you have an open door to share how Jesus has impacted your life and how He desires to impact other people’s lives in the same way. As one author put it, “Effective evangelistic conversations connect the unchanging gospel with the specific issues people face.”
There are a couple reasons that make this an effective strategy to share Jesus. First, you are not forcing faith into a conversation but responding with your authentic experience of how Jesus has worked in your life in similar circumstances. Second, it creates an eager expectation that many everyday conversations could become Gospel conversations. Rather than being paralyzed by not knowing how to bring up Jesus, you are actively listening for the opportunities to connect someone to Jesus when they are walking through a difficult time.
After you share about your experience with Jesus in your own season of struggle, your job is not finished. Take the opportunity and tell the person you are sharing with how they can begin their own relationship with Jesus. You might be surprised how open people are to considering Jesus when you bring Him up in this way. Listen for the Gospel opportunities that come your way and speak to others about the hope that you have found in Jesus.
“Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” - 1 Peter 3:15b