An previous good friend from highschool reconnected with me lately, due to the wonders of Fb. We did a variety of laughing after we frolicked in highschool, and he thought we may simply decide up the place we left off. I doubted it. For a lot of the time we have been collectively—virtually 50 years in the past!—we have been drunk.
Since then, I turned a Christian. He’s continued to get drunk. After a number of moments of “Wow!” “It sure has been a while” and “How have you been?” we made plans to fulfill and re-establish our lengthy misplaced friendship. And we did meet. And we did snicker. However each of us realized issues (i.e., he and I) had modified.
He did know I’d develop into a Christian. The final time we noticed one another nose to nose, I introduced the gospel to him and gave him a ebook in regards to the resurrection. He instructed me that John Lennon formed his spiritual views and that “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” He visits Strawberry Fields, Lennon’s memorial in Central Park, at any time when he’s again in New York.
Right now, I proceed to hope for him, attain out to him with telephone calls and emails, and speak about assembly up after I’m close by (we now reside greater than 1,000 miles aside). I’m satisfied I have to pursue some pre-evangelistic conversations with him earlier than he’ll be prepared to listen to the gospel in a approach that may penetrate. I’ve tried the direct evangelistic method a number of occasions, and that hasn’t labored. I would like one other technique.
Most of us want one other technique to succeed in unsaved individuals round us. If ever there was a time when “people were ready to receive Christ” (and I doubt it was ever that straightforward), these days are gone. However how will we begin?
Listed here are three methods for pre-evangelism that may assist your mates transfer from “Are you crazy? Christianity is ridiculous, narrow-minded, homophobic, and stupid!” to “Well . . . maybe I need to rethink this” to “OK, I’ve not been fair in the ways I’ve pigeonholed religious people” to “All right, I’ll take a look at that book about God you gave me.”
1. Stage the Enjoying Area
Generally, our non-Christian dialog associate feels superior to us. They might suppose they’re intellectually superior as a result of, they assume, all Christians are simpletons, anti-intellectual, anti-science, or simply plain silly. (In some circumstances, they’ve seen strong proof to help this prejudice.) They consider that science “proves things religion can’t” and that it’s the higher foundation for information.
Or they could really feel morally superior to Christians. They see themselves as open-minded and tolerant however see Christians as narrow-minded and unique.
Earlier than we are able to inform them they should repent and be born once more, we may have to indicate them they’re slim too.
Earlier than we are able to inform them they should repent and be born once more, we may have to indicate them they’re slim too. The truth is, with sufficient dialog, we might present them that Christians are in truth extra open-minded than they’re. [Flesh this out in a sentence or two.] This takes work and time and endurance. Nevertheless it’s completely essential, or our gospel presentation will fall on deaf ears.
We are able to stage the taking part in subject by asking individuals how they’ve come to their perception that science is a greater foundation for information than religion is. Their belief in science is a faith-based perception. It might’t be validated scientifically. We wish them to see that we’re related—we each maintain our beliefs by religion. Now we need to evaluate our faiths. We also needs to pursue the conclusion that we each have doubts, and we must always evaluate our doubts.
2. Regulate the Thermostat
Some conversations in regards to the Prince of Peace can disturb the peace. Generally individuals get offended or sarcastic or harsh—on each side of the trade. Our present political local weather exacerbates the issue terribly. In some circumstances, we have to level this out, take a deep breath, and ask if we have to take a break.
It might sound like this:
“You sound rather upset about all this. Why do you think this is so disturbing?”
“Wow. I think I struck a nerve. Should we change the topic?”
“It’s hard to talk about these kinds of things. Isn’t it? I’d like to try to continue. But I wonder if we can do that with a bit less anger. What do you think?”
In our present overly sarcastic, incessantly dismissive, disturbingly insulting occasions, we might do nicely to replicate on the knowledge of Proverbs’s perception that “a gentle answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1).
3. Step on the Clutch earlier than Shifting Gears
Generally we have to have a dialog in regards to the dialog. Earlier than we launch right into a dialogue about faith (typically thought of the worst taboo), we’d have to ask permission to take action. Or we’d have to introduce one thing they’ll settle for to pave the best way for one thing they resist.
It’s like stepping on the clutch in a automotive with an ordinary transmission earlier than shifting gears. I notice this illustration could also be too antiquated for some individuals. If you happen to’ve by no means pushed a automotive with a stick shift, simply settle for this: in the event you don’t carry out a preliminary process (stepping on the clutch), you received’t be capable of do the necessary process (shifting gears).
Some conversations in regards to the Prince of Peace can disturb the peace.
Right here’s what it may sound like:
“I realize some people avoid discussions about faith. But I wonder if you’d like to try. Could we grab a cup of coffee sometime to compare our beliefs?”
“You’ve asked me some questions about my views about sexuality. I’m certainly willing to try to answer as best as I can. But I have to first say you shouldn’t be surprised if my views are unpopular. The Christian views about sex have always been in the minority.”
“I think the topic of faith is more complicated than what fits on a bumper sticker or in a tweet. But I’d still like to talk about it. Would you?”
Greater than 50 years in the past, Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Pre-evangelism is no soft option.” He was reaching out to disenchanted, secular Europeans who had deserted Christianity way back. However he reached many with the gospel and noticed a variety of dramatic conversions. His method must be inserted into our evangelistic efforts now greater than ever earlier than. I actually have to attempt these concepts with my previous good friend.