Speaking the Gospel
Summer is for conversation.
It would be interesting if someone could run the numbers on the amount of words the average Minnesotan speaks in the months of May–September compared to the rest of the year. It has to be significantly higher, partly because we just see more people when they’re out and about. More people are passing by, and they don’t mind to linger a bit for small talk, not to mention that the Twins have the best record in baseball right now. These are good times in the Twin Cities, y’all — and especially for the mission of the church.
Our mission to make disciples means we have something to say, and must say. Jesus is the crucified and resurrected King of the universe, and he offers forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who would turn from their sins and trust him. This is the gospel we embrace for ourselves and that we share with our neighbors, with those we’re obliged to love (see Matthew 22:39). Sharing the gospel is part of Christian maturity and therefore it’s something that requires increasingly personal ownership. The church’s mission is to make disciples, and that means, when it comes down to brass tacks, that you as a Christian must be a witness. The church can’t make disciples unless church members make disciples, and that doesn’t happen unless church members speak the gospel.
We’ll say more in the next few weeks about how this is related to our Community Group structure, but for now, let me just state the obvious: Community Groups don’t speak the gospel, people in Community Groups do. Because it’s people who have mouths, not groups.
This is why it’s important that we as Christians, as the church members who do the gospel-speaking, put work into being faithful and fruitful gospel-speakers. The phrase for this is “personal evangelism,” and I’ve just finished a great book on the topic by Sam Chan called Evangelism in a Skeptical World. There are several good takeaways from Chan’s book, but one of the things I found most helpful was his explanation of how to craft a gospel presentation. First, he defines a gospel presentation as
a summary of who Jesus is, what blessings are promised to us, and what our response must be. The logical flip side is that it will also communicate what sin and condemnation will look like. But we need to remember that a summary, by necessity, must leave things out. In doing so it can be sharply focused, penetrating, and to the point (91).
In other words, gospel presentations don’t need to be comprehensive, just clear, and to help us craft clear gospel presentations we can make use of gospel metaphors.
For example, following Chan’s ingredients for crafting a gospel presentation, check out these several metaphors:
Each of these metaphors found in Scripture tell the story of the gospel. Which row stands out to you the most? Which one resonates with your own conversion? Which one can you imagine sharing with someone God has put into your life?