Equipping the Saints to Proclaim the Message of the Cross
A Collection of Resources on
Evangelism and Spiritual Counseling
Table of Contents
How to Begin a Witnessing Conversation
Here’s Hope: Jesus Cares for You (The Roman Road)
The ABC’s of Salvation
Tell the Plan of Salvation (God rules… …We respond)
Orientation to: Spiritual Commitment Guide
Orientation to: The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook
Spiritual References for Tough Questions
Essentials for reaching the radically unchurched
Reaching & Keeping the Younger Generation
Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out
How to Study the Bible – a practical guide
How to Begin a Witnessing Conversation [i]
In any conversation, it is very important to just be natural. Be yourself and allow your own unique personality to come out as you talk. Smile and enjoy people with whom you will have an opportunity to share. Remember, you are reflecting the life and love of Jesus.
QUESTION: When you are in a conversation with someone, what are typical topics you discuss?
Starting an evangelistic conversation is really no different than starting any other conversation. Enthusiastically seek to build a relationship, especially a relationship of trust and sincerity. Be ready to talk about three things:
- What is the Gospel (see I Corinthians 15:3-4)?
- What do you believe about Jesus (your confession that Jesus is Lord)?
- What has Jesus done for you (your life before and after your salvation experience)?
QUESTION: What are signs of gaining or earning someone’s trust (or attention)?
DISCUSS the ABC’s of conversation:
- Body language
Discuss these key words and phrases to listen for or to use:
only Jesus confess Jesus is Lord Lordship
faith/faithful believe/believer baptize/baptism
sin/sinner forgiveness I’m a good person
Cross Jesus’ death Jesus’ resurrection
The Blood of Jesus I’ve always believed I read the Bible
other other other
C.A.S.T. into the person’s life!
C is for CONNECT.
Seek to make a connection. Ask about the person’s background: Where are you from? How long have you lived here? Show interest in their family and friends.
A is for ACTIVITIES.
Find out about the person’s work, hobbies, or interests. Ask: What kind of work do you do? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Students might ask another student: What courses are you taking? Or, what sports/instruments do you play? If you notice evidence of their interests such as sports, books, pets, traveling, etc., identify things you might have in common. Show interest and commonality!
S is for SPIRITUAL MATTERS.
Shift the conversation to spiritual matters. Ask: Would you consider yourself to be a spiritual person? Or, do you ever think about spiritual things? If they are not sure what you mean, say: things like heaven, prayer, God, reading the Bible, or “what Jesus did on the cross.”
Sometimes diagnostic questions work:
- In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven? Or…
- Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven and live forever when your life is over?
Consider their response, then ask: Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness and His gift of eternal life?
T is for TELL your Story and/or TELL the plan of salvation.
- Tell what your life was like before you became a Christian.
- Tell how you became a Christian (your life-changing experience).
- Tell how Jesus changed your life since you became a Christian.
Tips for telling your testimony:
- Your personal testimony should be no longer than 60-90 seconds.
- Be specific, but leave out unnecessary details.
- Try to avoid Christian words that the hearer may not understand.
- Say that even though Jesus changed your life, you’re not perfect.
Here’s Hope: Jesus Cares for You [ii]
The Roman Road
Is there any hope?
- The future is uncertain.
- Families are falling apart.
- Drugs are ruining cities and schools.
- Disease is killing our people.
- Can we have peace and joy in our hearts?
- Can we have fulfillment in life?
- Does anyone really care?
- Can we have power and strength to live meaningful lives?
YES! Here’s hope, Jesus cares for you. The Bible says: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
In His Word, the Bible, we find the road to hope in the book of Romans.
① The first stop on the road to hope is POWER. There is power capable of giving you hope. The Bible tells us God has that power: For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
② The second stop on the road to hope is CHANGE. The release of God’s power results in change. The Biblical word for change is repentance. This means allowing God to change the direction of our lives. The goodness of God leads you to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Why is change necessary? A universal problem the Bible calls sin makes change necessary for all of us. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Sin means “missing the mark.” It is failing to meet God’s standard for how we ought to live.
③ The third stop on the road to hope is God’s love. Although He is not pleased with us as we are, God loves us and wants to help us.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Unfortunately, our sin carries the penalty of death, both physical and eternal. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God is willing to forgive us by accepting Jesus as our substitute. His heath on the dross paid the penalty of our sin. His resurrection from the dead provides our eternal life.
④ The fourth stop on the road to hope is your commitment. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. … For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:9, 13)
Commitment means to:
- Repent – Turn away from sin to follow God’s direction for your life.
- Believe – Trust Jesus as your substitute.
- Confess – Acknowledge Jesus as the supreme authority over your life.
- Call – ask Him for forgiveness, eternal, and hope.
Read the following prayer. Does it express the desire of your heart?
“Dear God, I know that Jesus is Your Son and He died on the cross and was raised from the dead. Because I have sinned and need forgiveness, I ask Jesus to come into my heart. I am willing to change the direction of my life by acknowledging Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and by turning away from my sins. Thank You for giving me forgiveness, eternal life, and hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Use this prayer if it expressed your feelings, or pray a similar prayer in your own words, committing your life to Jesus and asking Him for His gift of eternal live.
You are assured of eternal life and hope because:
- You can trust God’s promise. For whoever who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
- You are a member of God’s family. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16)
- Your life is eternally secure in God. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
What happens after you receive hope from God?
- You will begin to live for God. (Romans 12:1-2, 9-18)
- You will publicly profess your faith by being baptized. (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 3:21; Romans 6:4)
- You will tell others what Jesus has done for you. (Romans 10:14)
- You will get to know God better through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians as a member of a local church. (Romans 15:4-6)
In review of what we have discussed (fill in the blanks):
- Because Jesus ______ on the cross and ____________ from the dead, forgiveness and eternal life are possible.
- Because I trusted Jesus to be my __________ and ______________, the direction of my life will change.
- I have eternal life and will go to heaven when I die.
(check one:) □ I know □ I am not sure.
If you have accepted Jesus as Savior, complete this statement:
On _______________, I,__________________________, gave my life to Jesus.
Commit yourself to share your news with someone you know: I want to tell ______________________________ what Jesus did for me.
The ABC’s of Salvation [iii]
Tell the Plan of Salvation:
ASK: Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness and His gift of eternal life?
EXPLAIN: The Gospel – God’s Plan for Me
GOD RULES. The Bible tells us God created everything, including you and me, and He is in charge of everything. (Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16-17)
WE SINNED. We all choose to disobey God. The Bible calls this sin. Sin separates us from God and deserves God’s punishment of death. (Romans 3:23; 6:23)
GOD PROVIDED. God sent Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. It’s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own. Jesus alone saves us. (John 3:16; 2:8-9)
JESUS GIVES. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. Because Jesus gave His life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s family for eternity. This is the best gift ever! (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:8-9)
WE RESPOND. Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He’s already done on the cross. Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus. Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus. (John 14:6; Romans 10:9, 13)
SUGGESTED PRAYER: Jesus, I want to follow you. I turn from my sin and place my trust in You alone and ask for Your forgiveness. Right now, I receive Your free gift of eternal life and welcome Your control of my life. Thank you for loving me and dying for me. And thank You for giving me new life.
SAY: Your decision to become a member of God’s family is the most important decision you will ever make. Tell someone today who would be happy to hear of your commitment to Jesus. Make a decision to become active in a Bible-believing church.
Orientation to: Spiritual Commitment Guide [iv]
Begin your dialogue on page 2, with: Which one of these statements best describes why you want to talk with someone right now? Then, use the color-coded pages to find helpful information.
Page 3 – Section One: Knowing God
Page 6 – Section Two: Returning to God’s way/recommitment
Page 8 – Section Three: Understanding God’s call
Page 11 – Section Four: How do I know that I am a Christian?
Page 14 – Section Five: Questions about the next step
Page 16 – Praying for each other:
Obviously there are many reasons to pray together. The Bible encourages people to take care of each other during difficult times and pray for one another (Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-3). But, it is really important to know before we pray that you already connected your life to Jesus. Can you identify in your life when you were forgiven of your sin and became a follower of Jesus?
If you have questions about your relationship with Jesus, let’s turn to page 3 for more information about Knowing Jesus. If you are confident that you have a relationship with Jesus, how can we pray together right now?
Orientation to: The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook [v]
- When will you use this book?
- Steps to peace with God:
- Confirming the decision to receive Christ
- Finding assurance of salvation
- Seeking forgiveness and restoration
- Uncertainty about one’s relationship with Christ
The Resource Chapters
A “Background” discussion of the particular problem or concern
The “Helping Strategy” section has three main goals
- relating the expressed need to the Gospel
- ministering to the person in his/her need
- establishing the believer in his/her Christian life
The “Scripture” portion of each chapter
Essentials for reaching the radically unchurched [vi]
Learning guide for chapter 6
Several basic types of evangelizers characterize how the church presents the changeless Gospel to a changing world:
- Compassionate coward
- Strength: love demonstrated to the unsaved
- Weakness: loses sight of evangelism in its effort to demonstrate compassion
- Courageous crusader
- Strength: high on courage and doctrinal conviction
- Weakness: low on compassion and effectiveness
- Confused congregant (the largest group)
- Strength: for them, church exists as a place of fellowship and ministry to members
- Weakness: lost sense of need to reach the world
- Concerned correctors
- Strength: desire to reach the lost and have impact on the culture
- Weakness: believe that the Bible is not sufficient in its historical doctrine, adding new and unfounded interpretations
“To reach a changing culture, the church needs doctrinal conviction, compassion for people, and the realization that the church belongs to God, not to us.” Everything (or anything) does not need to change in Christendom in order to meet the changing culture. That is a false notion. Simply, add without subtracting (the premise of chapter six).
I. Lay a sound doctrinal foundation: Speak the truth.
II. Know theological affirmations in the following areas:
III. Build a framework: “Making the Gospel plain to our culture does not include compromising the Gospel to it.” – Acts 17:22-31
Know your Biblical worldview. [vii]
Defined: A bundle, or framework, of ideas and beliefs in which one idea or ‘stick’ in the bundle is one of TEN ideas or beliefs in:
SIX Major Worldviews:
- Christianity (evangelism, fundamentalism), 2.1 billion people
- Islam, 1.6 billion people
- Secular Humanism, 800 million people (all of Europe)
- Marxism (Communism), 1.3 billion people (all of China)
- Cosmic Humanism, 1.1 billion people (all of India)
- Post-modernism, numbers are insignificant but have huge influence
THREE Value Systems:
- Western European Secularism & Socialism
6 worldviews x 10 ideas/beliefs = 60 worldview ideas: If you can understand these 60 ideas, you can understand the whole world. Some worldviews share ideas and beliefs. Therefore, if you can understand 30 ideas and beliefs, you can understand the whole world.
The value of understanding worldviews is that you can understand the world – Colossians 2:8.
IV. Don’t engage culture on its terms. “More than anything, believers need to know the foundation of their faith, not to have evidences to debate their unsaved friends, but to strengthen their own resolve when faced by unbelievers who simply don’t think Christianity is relevant to them.”
V. Relate to the culture
- Be uncompromisingly conservative in theology.
- Be unashamedly progressive in our methodology. “Our theology should be black and white, but our lives can be living color.”
- For pastors, teachers, and disciple-makers: Don’t forsake expository preaching and teaching, just do away with boring preaching and teaching!
- To communicate effectively is to communicate the truth.
- Respond to a “relativistic” culture by telling people the truth. People seek the truth.
Apologetics is the field of study concerned with the systematic defense of the Christian faith. [viii]
VI. Guiding principles for reaching the radically unchurched:
- Begin with the Gospel, not the needs of the radically unchurched.
- Remain intentional in personal evangelism.
- Give specific attention to reaching the younger generation of radically unchurched people.
- Focus on divine authority, not human ingenuity.
- Raise the bar for Christian living.
“The key to communicating the Gospel to the unchurched is to be real
Reaching & Keeping the Younger Generation [ix]
- Share unchanging truth differently.
- Focus less on behavior and more on wonder. “The older generation of Christians are not the ones will start the next revival movement… but we can kill it.”
- Focus less on an institution and more on a movement.
- Focus less on preferences and more on Truth. “The next generation dones’t hate hymns; they hate the way we sing them.”
- Focus less on rules and more on relationships. The younger generation wants mentors.
Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out [x]
(based on I Peter 2:9-12)
- God created you for His glory to advance His Gospel with the gifts, talents, and opportunities He gave you. You were born again to share the Gospel!
- In order to share Jesus confidently and consistently with others, first share Him confidently and consistently with yourself. If you don’t get to talk to someone about Jesus, talk to yourself about Him.
- Shifting from an evangelistic presentation to having an evangelistic conversation takes pressure off the witness and relates the Gospel more clearly to an unbeliever. Pray, “God give me this day an opportunity to share Christ, the wisdom to see it, and the courage to take it.”
- Boldness is going one step beyond your comfort zone. Lost people are more angered at our silence than offended at our message.
- Three things people can tell about you:
- If you care about them.
- If you believe what you are talking about.
- If the hand of God is on your life.
- If you’re talking about your sports team more than about Jesus, you are an idolater.
Effective evangelism conversations connect the Gospel with the specific issues people face. Start where they are and take them to Jesus.
FIVE approaches to do this (you don’t have to do all of them):
- Ask a person his story. Share your story (testimony). Share the Gospel story. Remember: The focus is not your experience. The focus is the Christ of your experience.
- Ask good questions: When you attend church, where do you go? What in your opinion is a real Christian? The FAITH key question: In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven and have eternal life?
- Affirm and encourage. You can affirm a person personally without endorsing their lifestyle generally.
- Appeal to the heart. Some are “thinkers” (orthodoxy), some are “doers” (orthopraxy), and some are “feelers” (orthopathy).
- Go deeper. Start with a person’s passion or their pain.
Evangelistic Conversations [xi]
Bible study based on Acts 17
- Paul started with “them,” where “they” were.
- He began his conversation with God as Creator.
- He noted we are unique.
- He pointed out their error. Every time Paul spoke he always added hope.
- He told the Good News.
- He called them to respond.
- Some mocked the Good News Paul spoke.
- Some meditated on the Good News.
- Some made a decision to follow Jesus.
The grand narrative of the Bible follows the plot line of:
- Restoration [xii]
How to Study the Bible – a practical guide [xiii]
Use these points to help establish healthy study habits. For advance study, collect some reliable books and resources. Ask your pastor or spiritual mentor to help you with this.
- Ask questions about the section of Scripture you’re reading, like:
- What happened immediately before and after? (Look it up!)
- Did something like this happen before in the Bible?
- To whom was the author speaking or writing?
- What is the subject being discussed?
- Does the topic or story address a contemporary issue?
- What’s happening in the author’s and/or reader’s time, city, region, personal experience, etc.?
Example: Read Acts 1:1-4. Write three questions you might ask about these verses.
- Ask questions about yourself, like:
- Who would I tell?
- What would I say?
- When would I do or say something?
- Where would, or can, I go?
- Why do I care, or why would I react?
- How would I respond?
Example: Read Ezekiel 33:10-11. What are two questions you could ask yourself about these verses?
- List things, like:
- a person’s characteristics and/or actions
- significant numbers of things (like the 10 Commandments!)
- the main people in the story
- any sequence of actions or progression of ideas
- any other list of persons, places, things, or subjects
Example: Read Genesis 24 and list the personal characteristics you see in Abraham’s servant.
- Use maps. Most Bibles contain a map section as well as maps at various places in the text. Use these, or a good Bible atlas:
- Compare things like the distance between Biblical towns with the distance between towns in your county or state.
- Identify waterways and terrain that were important landmarks and routes in the Bible, like rivers and mountains.
- Think about how people traveled or interacted with the geography, and why cities were founded in certain locations.
Example: Read Matthew 2:1 and 27:34-35. Determine the distance from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.
- Picture it! Use your imagination to picture the scene:
- What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel?
- Imagine the time of day, the scenery, the weather, and other details mentioned in the reading.
Example: Read Acts 9:43; 10:9-10. Tell what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. (Then, find Joppa on a map!)
- Compare and contrast. Find similarities of and differences between:
- Places mentioned in the Scripture
Example: What is the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea? What is similar about fishing for fish and fishing for people?
- Describe what you see God doing in the Scripture, like:
- drawing people to Himself (or getting someone’s attention)
- showing His love
- forgiving sins
- performing a miracle
- holding people accountable for their actions
- empowering believers
Example: In Revelation 4:6, what is God saying about heaven when John sees a sea of glass, like crystal?
- Search the Scriptures:
- Read the Bible regularly using a Bible reading plan.
- Read the Bible chronologically.
- Don’t read randomly and out of context.
- Invest in a good study Bible to help you find topics, words, names, Scripture cross-references, etc.
Example: Get a chronological Bible and read I & II Kings and/or I & II Chronicles. Discover where the prophets fit!
- Get involved with other believers:
- Attend church regularly and worship with other believers.
- Interact with Christian friends by discussing a Biblical topic.
- Get involved in a small group Bible study like a Sunday School class, accountability group, men’s or women’s Bible study, home Bible study, or other interest group.
Example: Discover the Sunday School classes in your church that are offered for each member of your family.
- Keep a journal. Write your thoughts or questions. Use a blank-page journal to keep notes about specific topics. Think ahead! Think about how you can add or arrange future notes.
Example: One way to do this is to choose a topic of interest to you and then read through the Bible, or through a book of the Bible, writing your thoughts, impressions, questions, and personal comments. Keep a journal for each topic you study. Some examples of topics are:
- unnamed people
- emotions of Job
- military references
- family relationships
[i] Adapted from: One-Hour Witnessing Workshop, ©2003, North American Mission Board
[ii] Used by permission. Copyright North American Mission Board, SBC. (adapted)
[iv] Spiritual Commitment Guide, a free North American Mission Board resource
[v] The Billy Graham Christian workers handbook. (1984). Minneapolis: World Wide.
[vi] From: Reid, A.L. (2002). Radically unchurched: Who they are & how to reach them.
Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel. (Chapter 6).
[vii] Biblical worldview comments are a collection of notes from various conferences, inserted
here for clarity; they are not part of Reid’s book.
[viii] From: Phillips, R. (2016). The apologist’s tool kit. Jefferson City, MO: MBC.
[ix] From conference notes, Missouri Baptist Convention, 10/23/2017, Alvin Reid.
[x] Conference notes from the 2017 Missouri Baptist Convention’s Great Commission
Conference, Alvin Reid, based on his Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out.
[xi] From conference notes, Missouri Baptist Convention, 10/23/2017, Alvin Reid.
[xii] Reid, A. Sharing Jesus without freaking out. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic.
[xiii] Hamlin, D. (2020). Grit with grace. Unpublished.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., used by permission, all rights reserved.