How to share the message of Christ with our neighbors

By Travis Kerns

How in the world do we, as believers, carry out the Great Commission? Jesus wasn’t joking when He told His followers to go out into the entire world and share His message. He didn’t say it by way of metaphor or as hyperbole. He was serious, and we should take His words seriously. Those persons who die without Christ are bound for an eternal hell, so the words of Jesus in the Great Commission should be on our hearts and in our heads every moment of every day. How do we do outreach; how do we reach out with the gospel to those around us? There are unbelievers everywhere: in our families, in our workplace, in our communities, at the gas station and the grocery store. How do we share the message of Christ?

What is the gospel?
Before we practice outreach with the gospel, we must understand the gospel. This is not meant to be a full-orbed systematic theology of the message of Jesus. It’s meant to be a simple, straight-forward presentation of the overarching message of the Bible. This is important because we must be able to present the gospel to the youngest of children and the oldest of adults.

Put simply, the message of the Bible is as follows. God created humans to be in a loving relationship with Him and with each other. God provided laws for us concerning our relationship with Him and laws for our relationship with each other. When we break those laws, we sin. The Bible says our punishment for sin is physical and spiritual death. Though we cannot escape physical death, the Bible says we can escape spiritual death by placing our trust in Christ. We must trust that his death on the cross covers the payment we owe for the sin we commit. We must believe that He is indeed our substitute, and what He did was enough to cover our wrongdoing. Nothing can be taken away, and nothing can be added. Put a different way, we are saved from spiritual death by the grace of God through us placing our faith in Christ and His work. Christ then changes us from the inside out, and we begin seeing things in a new way. We act differently, talk differently, think differently: all for the glory of God.

Sharing the gospel
I’ve often been asked for advice on sharing the message of the gospel. Are there easy ways to share what Jesus taught? Is it good to practice sharing the gospel? The answer to those questions is a resounding yes!

1. Let’s discuss some easy ways to share the message of Jesus–easy ways of evangelism. I used to be scared to death when someone asked me to tell them about my personal evangelism experiences. I knew I didn’t have any experiences to discuss and was embarrassed as a Christian not to have any. I was even more scared if someone suggested going out and actually doing personal evangelism. I’d come up with excuses not to go. Then I realized why I was frightened; I didn’t know what to say. I found some very effective evangelism methods like The Romans Road, Share Jesus without Fear, FAITH, etc. There are some great methods available for believers and a visit with your pastor, a quick internet search or a visit to a local Christian bookstore can be very helpful in this search.

2. Practice sharing your faith with Christian friends and family members. We often hear the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” and you’ll never become comfortable sharing the gospel unless you practice. It may seem awkward at first, but this will help you become much more comfortable, evangelism will eventually become second nature to you, and you’ll enjoy sharing with others around you. If you have a hard time sharing with a friend or family member, you’ll have a very difficult time sharing with folks you don’t know.

I had a seminary evangelism professor force us to write down our personal testimony and make it understandable to a seven-year-old child. We read what we wrote in front of the class and it seemed like he would stop us every 5-6 words. Take out “churchy” language like “I was saved at a revival” or “I walked the aisle” and replace those phrases with things like “Jesus changed my life” or “my faith gives me joy and makes me feel whole.” Write your personal testimony, and be able to share it in two minutes or less. When you can share your faith in the time it takes to fill your fuel tank at the gas station, you’re ready to go.

3. Find a believer in your church that you know is a good personal evangelist, or someone a church leader suggests to you, and go on evangelism trips with that person. This may be your pastor, your Sunday school teacher, another leader in the church, or the person who sits in front of you on Sunday. This is exactly how Jesus trained the original disciples. Get around those people who are good at evangelism and follow their lead.

You may be the only Christian a family member, friend, or neighbor ever meets. As believers, we must make sure every person in our circle of influence hears the gospel. We must be the salt and light to a lost and dying world

Published September 8, 2016

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Travis Kerns

Travis Kerns serves with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) as the Send City Missionary for Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born and raised in Greenville, SC, but has lived in the Salt Lake City area since 2013. He has a B.A. from North Greenville University and an M.Div. and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His Ph.D. studies focuses on world religions, specifically, Mormon philosophy. Prior to serving with NAMB, he was a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and taught in the areas of apologetics, world religions and philosophy.