October 4, 2013

Gospel Conversations - Prologue

This is the first in a series of posts regarding talking about our faith. Each post will be a section from a booklet called "Gospel Conversations" that was printed in September at Northview Community Church. This first post is an adaptation of the booklet's prologue. If you would like to download a free PDF of the entire booklet, you can do so here.

I call myself a disciple of Christ; I desire to grow in my love for, and submission to him daily. I love Jesus and want others to love Jesus too. 

So why is it so hard to talk about him with others?

Words leave my mouth everyday. I engage in conversations about the weather, my life, sports, movies, television shows, and a myriad of other topics with friends and strangers alike. These conversations occur regularly and with relative ease. When it comes to conversing about the gospel of Jesus Christ, however, I often find myself either resisting those conversations or stumbling my way through them. There certainly have been times when I’ve felt bold in conversing about Jesus and words flow smoothly, yet they unfortunately seem to be exception and not the rule.

I have found that I am not alone. There are all kinds of reasons why self-identified Christians don’t engage in conversations about the gospel. Some reasons why we don’t converse about the gospel with others are:
  • We think it is a responsibility for other Christians (i.e. pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.).
  • We battle feelings of inadequacy.
  • We have an aversion to coming across “preachy.”
  • We fear a hostile or disinterested response.
  • We believe there is no need to tell people the gospel because God will save people if he wants anyway.
  • We think right belief is less important than right behaviour, therefore believing the gospel is unnecessary for (temporal or eternal) reconciliation with God and human flourishing.

That list is by no means exhaustive, but it does indicate the various underlying reasons why people who love Jesus don’t regularly talk about him with others.

It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a disciple-making-disciple of Jesus. I think the sooner we break down the chasm between evangelism and discipleship in our minds, and see the road ahead of us as engaging in gospel conversations, the better.

I define a gospel conversation as:
A compassionate conversation that (1) clearly articulates the gospel (2) with the intent that the participants will turn from their sinful rebellion to holistically following and trusting Jesus (3) for their good and God’s glory.

The conversation is rooted in, and motivated by, a genuine love and care for people, not guilt or pride. There is a necessity to think and speak clearly about the gospel. There is an intention in the conversation that everyone participating will turn away from thinking and acting like they are God, to following and trusting Jesus with their entire lives. These conversations about the gospel of Jesus happen for the good of the participants, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for God’s glory.

It is my desire to help us all engage in the mission that our Lord has given us - that is, to be disciple-making disciples. A helpful way for us to understand our participation in that mission, in our everyday life, is to engage in gospel conversations.

What do these conversations look like? The following posts will help develop a foundation for an understanding of, and ability to talk about, the gospel.

  1. The Gospel (The Good News)
  2. My Story and The Story (The Good News)
  3. The Sovereignty of God and Prayer
  4. Loving, Knowing, and Engaging with Your Conversation Partners
  5. 3D Gospel Conversations

So, first things first. If these disciple-making conversations are gospel conversations, what do we mean by gospel?

We will look at that more on the next post.

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