Tips for Talking about Jesus

Does the thought of talking with your friends or neighbors about Jesus freak you out?  Do you need to down a bottle of Pepto Bismal every time the word “evangelism” or “gospel” pop up at church?  If so, take a deep breath and read these simple and relatively non-scary tips for talking with someone about Jesus from Tim Gaydos’ 7 Tips for Talking with Your Neighbor about Jesus:

We met in the elevator of our condo building.

Instead of the classic stare down at the ground and avoid eye contact bit, I said hello and introduced myself. I asked him a few non-awkward, basic questions: “How long have you lived here? Do you like it? Have you met any cool people?”

The following week, I saw him in the lobby, and we picked up the conversation with a longer discussion revolving around the Seattle Mariners and their dim prospects for the year. I checked again to see if he was up for talking more, “If you want to watch a game at Sport, [the appropriately-named Seattle sports pub,] let me know.” He accepted, we figured out a good date and time and within a few weeks, we were grabbing a bite and watching a game together.

Breaking the Stereotype of Judgmental Jerk

It wasn’t long before he found out I was a Christian, went to church, and loved Jesus. He said to me, “Wow, my stereotype of Christians has been blown away. Youʼre normal. You like good food and drink, you love your city and donʼt come off as a judgmental jerk.” I soon invited him to church, where he heard the gospel preached powerfully. He became a Christian and got involved in Community Groups, praise God.

For whatever reason, it’s easy for Christians to clam up and get weird when talking about their faith in the day-to-day. Here are a few tips to make bridge those inhibitions and get the conversation going:

1. Find a road that leads to Jesus.

In the course of conversation, be thinking of how Jesus intersects with the discussion, because Jesus intersects and touches everything in our culture: sports, music, art, politics. Look for bridges to introduce Jesus into the conversation. It should be just as casually or passionately as you talk about everything else.

2. Donʼt be weird and awkward.

“So…now, Iʼd like to talk with you about Jesus.” If all of a sudden you put on your “Jesus” hat and you are talking to them like a project and not a friend, then you’re entering awkward territory. Now, there will be times it becomes awkward because talking about Jesus and sin can be that way, but don’t let it be because you are socially weird.

3. Be winsome.

Included in that word is the word “win.” Be “winning” friends and the conversation by being engaging, friendly, and kind. For more on being winsome, check out Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon.

4. Counter stereotypes and caricatures of Christians.

Many urban, secular folks have a particular caricature of a Christian, which is not very flattering (judgmental, harsh, the “morality police”), although many don’t personally have any Christian friends. Be gracious and talk with them, serve them, and love them.

5. Host an open house.

When my wife and I moved into a new apartment building we hosted an open house for the whole building and went over the top with really good food and wine. Dozens of our neighbors came out and it was the foundation for future gospel-centered conversations.

6. Be honest about your struggles and failings.

We all fall short. We all struggle and fail. The credit has to be given to Jesus in your life. Many non-Christians donʼt want to talk with Christians as they will feel guilty regarding their own problems.

7. Actions also communicate.

Serve your neighbors. Serve your neighborhood. Look for opportunities without being an attention-getter. Your neighbors are watching you and just as James said, faith without works is dead.

 

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God’s Authority and Evangelism

His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations.  His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success.  And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.
-John Stott

Getting Involved in Church Planting

I came across the following on the Resurgence blog.  Two areas that stood out to me were the impact of church plants in evangelism and church replanting.  Here are a couple excerpts along those lines to encourage you to read the entire entry:

Experts say that church planting is the number one way to reach unchurched people and make new disciples for Jesus Christ… Likewise, statistics show that it is much harder for traditional churches to reach the unchurched. Therefore, there is a great need to plant churches that reach the unchurched in our nation. Church planters are modern-day missionaries to North America.

Replanting happens when a church that is in decline or dying decides to face the music and dares to start over again for the sake of advancing the gospel. This will require churches to be willing to create a new identity, empower new leaders, and reach new people for Jesus…The reality is that very few churches have the honesty and humility to admit that it’s over, and even less have the courage to do what it takes to replant. Pray and ask God if he may be leading you and your church to replant.

Now, here is How to Get Involved in Church Planting:

Church Planting

There is a church planting movement happening right now in the United States and around the world. It is causing a rapid multiplication of new disciples of Christ across denominational lines and cultural divides.

Experts say that church planting is the number one way to reach unchurched people and make new disciples for Jesus Christ. C. Peter Wagner says, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Likewise, statistics show that it is much harder for traditional churches to reach the unchurched. Therefore, there is a great need to plant churches that reach the unchurched in our nation. Church planters are modern-day missionaries to North America.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

There are many different types of church plants: missional, multi-site, house church, theatre church, and purpose-driven, to name a few. Planting culturally relevant churches in the 21st century is one of the best ways to reproduce disciples through rapid multiplication. We need churches that will reach urban, suburban, and rural communities.

One size does not fit all, and one church cannot win all. It takes a variety of churches to reach all kinds of people. The key is that the church needs to be gospel-centered and culturally relevant to whatever community or culture that they are called to serve through planting. It is important to take into consideration the culture, race, and ethnicity of the culture in which you plan to plant a church.

There are many ways to plant a church, not just one. For instance, some people choose to plant as a team, while others may choose to plant as a solo church planter. When we are talking about church structure, we should be primarily concerned with what the Bible says on the matter.

Getting Involved

Existing churches can and should reproduce themselves by planting new churches. You may be asking yourself, “How can I help plant a church? I have enough to worry about with the church I am already a part of.” There are many ways that you can become involved in church planting.

Encourage Planters

First, you can encourage church planters in your area. Planting a church can be a lonely business. Nearly 80 percent of church plants fail within their first year. One of the primary reasons for failure is not a lack of finances, but a lack of relational support. Church planters often experience culture shock and spiritual fatigue. It is hard for a church planter and his family to adjust to a new culture.

Church planters have a real need for fellowship and accountability. You can build relationships with church planters and encourage them to fight the good fight of faith. These men have sacrificed everything to plant a new church. These guys need all the encouragement they can get. Meet with a church planter, pray with him, and take him to lunch or coffee.

Support a New Church

Secondly, you can help financially support a church plant. One of the greatest needs for church planting is finances. An existing church can collaborate with a new church plant by becoming a mother church that sends out a church planting team with funds. You can help pay a church planter’s salary for a year. Churches in a region or community can partner together to plant new churches in their area.

You can also join or support new churches in a church planting network such as Acts 29. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network is one of the leaders of this movement. It is a trans-denominational peer-based network of missional church planting churches that have a high view of Scripture and a commitment to engage contemporary culture with the gospel. In just a few years, they have planted nearly 300 churches in the United States and have bold plans to plant over 1,000 new churches in the next 20 years.

Replanting

A final way for churches to get involved with church planting is through replanting or church revitalization. Replanting happens when a church that is in decline or dying decides to face the music and dares to start over again for the sake of advancing the gospel. This will require churches to be willing to create a new identity, empower new leaders, and reach new people for Jesus. It will probably mean that a church sells their building and puts that money back into church planting.

The reality is that very few churches have the honesty and humility to admit that it’s over, and even less have the courage to do what it takes to replant. Pray and ask God if he may be leading you and your church to replant.

Church planting is one of the greatest ways to make disciples. We should all share in the responsibility of impacting our nation for Christ through planting new churches that are gospel-centered and culturally relevant. If we want to be serious about making disciples for the 21st century, we need to get involved in church planting.

Atheist Tells Christians, “Evangelize”

Illusionist Penn Jillette, a devout atheist, posted a video blog about a man who approached him after a show and gave him a Bible.  Jillette described the encounter praising the man’s genuineness and care.  He then went on to say that Christians should proselytize (i.e. evangelize) since it means that you must really hate someone to believe in hell and eternal life and not tell that person.  Jillette also inferred that atheists should not get upset at Christians for sharing the gospel because they are trying to save the atheists from a terrible fate. You can click the picture to link to the video to hear his words for yourself.

This kind of appreciation of evangelism and the heart behind it is refreshing.  If an atheist has this kind of heart towards evangelism how much more should we Christians?

Troop Care Packages

uncle-sam-support-troopsOasis is going to be showing God’s love to our troops through a couple care packages to at least two units.  Let us be those who serve those who are serving us.  Check out this website for a list of suggested items to bring and not to bring (a partial list is below, too).

Bring your items to Oasis’ on-campus church services or to BR199 (199 E 15th Ave) to place in our “troop boxes”.  You can also donate monetarily by a check to “Oasis” with “Troop Care package” in the memo and we will purchase stuff for the troops with those funds.

Some Suggest Items To Bring:

Deodorant; Jelly beans; Rice Krispie treats; Altoids or mints; Beef jerky; Sunflower seeds; Chewing Gum; Ziploc bags; Coffee; Gatorade; Playing cards; Music CD’s; Toothbrushes & toothpaste; Canned food items; Pringles; Ramen noodles; Macaroni & cheese; Cereal bars/granola bars; Hot cocoa mix; AA batteries; D size batteries; Canned air to blow dust out of electronics; Stress relief squeeze balls; Sewing kit; Baby wipes; Ink pens; Notepads of paper; Vitamins; Paperback books; toilet paper

People

UEThis past Sunday Oasis spoke about the church as the Ultimate Evangelist.  At the end of the sermon we asked everyone to write down some ideas as to how we could reach out to the campus as a church.  We also had an immediate practical outlet on the main Oval at Ohio State University where some of us handed out free hot chocolate, cookies, invitations to church, and looked to engage people in conversations about Jesus.

Working together with others in evangelism is a huge encouragement.  There is an added feel of teamwork and the overcoming of fear together.  The latter being very important in my life as I can find myself being a bit of a “gospel chicken” at times.    Being out on the Oval with a couple of others had me pumped and geared to talking with strangers for the rest of the day.  After the outreach time I found myself naturally engaging people I didn’t know in conversation for the rest of the day – including a long talk in the RPAC’s sauna after a good workout in the pool.

Engaging people in the gospel as the church seems to have a way of igniting a love of Jesus and a desire that others would meet Jesus.  Over the rest of the school year Oasis will be doing various outreaches on campus based upon some of the ideas the congregation wrote down (and maybe some other ideas too).

A summary of the top ideas by quantity from Sunday are:

  1. Hand out free food as a way to engage in conversation
  2. Actively invite people to church &/or your small group
  3. Learn how to & then capitalize on opportunities to talk about Jesus with your friends and those you already know.

My personal favorite, though I’m not sure we’ll be able to do it:

  1. Subliminal messages from speakers hidden around campus telling people about Jesus and come to Oasis : ).

Also written down by several people were things that should help strengthen and empower our gospel preaching: prayer & time in the Word.

Evangelism Video

I received a link in my inbox to this Q&A session between StudentMinistry.org’s Tim Schmoyer and Dare 2 Share’s Greg Steir.  The video covers 18 questions submitted by teenagers about sharing the gospel with their friends.  It is 41 minutes long, but is worth listening to in the background while you work on other stuff.

VideoEvangelism Q&A with Greg Stier.

 

 

 

 

 

You can find a list of the 18 questions at this website.