In order to share the gospel effectively, we need to find the balance between knowing it deeply, yet being able to explain it to others simply. It is a tricky balance to find and what is right for one person may prove to be wildly off for someone else. What can be helpful is not to have a fixed explanation of the gospel, but a framework by which you can hang the fundamental aspects of the gospel on that can be adapted, expanded or simplified as the situation allows.
A rigid model, or learnt script lacks relationship, empathy or the ability to speak into the needs of the hearer in that moment. But a model or framework, by which we understand the gospel, helps us to communicate it in a far clearer way than we could without one. It’s important to point out that there is no silver bullet plan when it comes to sharing the gospel. There is no one method that guarantees success over another. If you have a method or model that you know well and works for you then keep using that. In this session, we will explore a couple of methods, with the aim of helping bring clarity and structure to our gospel sharing, without restricting relationship, context or adaptability.
‘In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.’
2 Timothy 4:1-2
Model One – The Four Points
As with any model, this is by no means perfect, but it is a great starting point. Each of the points represent a different aspect of the gospel narrative by using symbols. It makes it more memorable both for you for ease of recall, but also for those you are sharing with. Rather than having to remember every detail of what is said, it is a lot easier to recall the four symbols and therefore the base understanding of the story of the gospel. All the details, explanations, videos and resources for the four points can be viewed at www.thefourpoints.com
For now, the summary of the points will suffice:
God loves me
I have sinned
Jesus died for me
I need to decide to live for God
The four points gospel is one of the easiest to memorise and allows you to go into as much depth or detail on each point as the time or situation allows. It’s very versatile too. You can add stories or examples to each point, either from scripture, real life, or your own testimony.
Choose one of the following (or more if time allows) to work through as a group:
In pairs, share the four points gospel, but insert yourself into the story and the examples. Can you give good examples of how each of the points is relevant in your own life and journey with God?
Spend some time looking through the four points as a group and discuss what is good about it as a model, what is not so good, what is missing (if anything), and what you would add in or take out? (Refer back to the teaching from the previous session as a guide if extra guidance is needed).
Ask each person to write their own four points gospel. How would they summarise the gospel if they could only make four points or statements? Would they differ from this version? Give people a short amount of time to come up with their own version and then share them with each other for comparison and discussion.
Model Two – The Three Circles
This model is a little more complex and does require both further explanation and I would suggest, further study and practice. But when it comes to relational evangelism, sharing one-to-one or with strangers, I find this method of communicating the gospel to work very well in each of these settings. The Three Circles is effectively a story that you explain and draw out as you go. The key to this working as an effective model is not learning a script – but rather using the Three Circles as the building blocks for telling your own story well. Think of each of the points or pictures along the way as stepping stones – key moments that need to be crossed. But how you move from one point to the next is best explained personally and relationally.
If someone in the group is already familiar with the Three Circles, get them to explain it and draw it out for the others. Next, get into pairs and ask each person to have a go at drawing and sharing it with one another.
If no-one is familiar with the Three Circles, pull up a YouTube clip (just type 3 circles in YouTube and pick one) and watch the video explanation. Now practice sharing it in pairs with each other.
The gospel message, and our experience or relationship with God, do not have to be two separate things. Let’s not keep our theology of God’s love and forgiveness separate from our experience of the love and forgiveness of God in our lives. The more we are able to effectively communicate the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done, with real life examples of how that played out in our own lives, the more the gospel message will come across as genuine, authentic and with integrity.
Pray for opportunities to share one of the models with someone in the coming week. Share where you might think those opportunities might come from (colleagues, neighbours, social events, outreach?) Pray for the boldness to have a go.
Pick either model above (or your adapted version of it) and practice drawing/sharing it as many times as possible in the coming week. Go back and re-watch more YouTube clips of the Three Circles or look deeper at the Four Points explanation on their website. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will be in sharing it with others. So set realistic targets for the amount of practice and using it with people who don’t yet know Jesus.