Week 23 - Group Activity
“The gospel is not only a message of salvation but a way of life.”
- J. Mack Stiles, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus
This week we are finishing off our activities for the Spring with an exercise on sharing the gospel. I've created a worksheet, similar to the others, that will help guide your group time. If you are able, it would be helpful to print off a copy for those in your group. If you need copies I can provide those to you on Sunday. Just shoot me an email or a text. As well, if you have any questions on this exercise please let me know. After this, we will have one more "standard" study and discussion night before moving into the Summer Social and then, for us, Leader Equip (LE) in August.
You should have received an email regarding the upcoming retreat and what our vision is for Leader Equip yesterday. Within the email are two important videos. If you missed those, you can watch them here; LE Vision video, Retreat preview. The first is a vision for what leader development will look like for us going forward and the second is an onsite video we recorded so you can get a feel for the retreat location. Please watch those as soon as possible. As Joel mentions, this is not a one-off training event but a new standard for our church. The retreat is a kick-off to subsequent training you will work through each month in a cohort (coaches and other DG leaders). Many of you are already meeting in groups like these so it will not be a major shift.
I hope that brings a little more clarity to the importance of your participation and my/ our desire to have you join us in August. Please hit me up with any questions you might have and also if finances are an issue, there is help available. Love you guys!
Sharing The Gospel
(approx. time: 60 minutes)
Imagine having just a few minutes to share Jesus with a friend, barista, or coworker. You have been praying for them, you have had a couple of spiritual conversations, and now you’ve been given an “open door” to share the good news. What do you say? What are the essential truths they need to know?
Over the last few months, we worked through two activities. One on believing the gospel and another on living out the gospel. Today, we will be working through a third focused on sharing the gospel.
This act of sharing the gospel is called evangelism. It is a way of life that every disciple is called to participate in. As Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8) we have been commissioned to proclaim the good news of Jesus to all creation (Acts 4:12, 5:42; Mark 16:15). It is part of living on mission. Whether we are at work, home, or on vacation we all have an opportunity to share Jesus with others.
But, what if they don’t believe after you share the gospel with them?
The Goal of Evangelism
J. Mack Stiles, a pastor in Erbil, Iraq and the author of ‘Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus’, describes evangelism as “teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” We definitely see this modeled in Peter and Paul’s presentations of the gospel in the book of Acts. But Stiles points out an important fact, that evangelism has nothing to do with the outcome or response of an individual. He says the Bible never uses results to guide or justify evangelistic practice (pg 24) we are simply called to proclaim the gospel and leave the results up to God.1
So why is knowing the gospel and being able to share it important? Well one, because there is so much confusion about it around the world. Sometimes people have a narrow view of the gospel, by thinking it only “gets us saved,” when really it has implications for all of life. Or, they add to the gospel by believing we are saved by faith plus good works; e.g. moral living, serving the poor or participating in the sacraments.
Evangelism as a Discipline
Many of us are familiar with spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study, and gathering as a church community. These are ways to experience grace in our lives. We grow when we practice them. But have you ever thought of evangelism as a spiritual discipline?
Don Whitney in his book on spiritual disciplines says this about evangelism:
Evangelism is a natural overflow of the Christian life. We should all be able to talk about what the Lord has done for us and what he means to us. But evangelism is also a discipline.. “unless we discipline ourselves for evangelism, it is very easy to excuse ourselves from ever sharing the gospel with anyone.” Whitney believes that the point of disciplining ourselves for evangelism is to plan for it — for Christians to actually put it into their schedule. 2
In considering this for yourself, how might you need to grow in the discipline of evangelism? What might need to change in your schedule to incorporate regularly sharing the gospel with others?
Activity - Sharing The Gospel With Others
Preparing to Share the Gospel
Step 1: The gospel message answers four big questions: Who is God? What is sin? Who is Jesus? What is our response? To help outline your gospel presentation, first write notes about each of these aspects of the gospel.
• Who is God? _____________________________________________________
• What is Sin? _____________________________________________________
• Who is Jesus _____________________________________________________
• What is our response? ______________________________________________
Step 2: Based on your above outline, write a 1-3 sentence version of the gospel.
Step 3: Finally, try writing out a 1-3 minute presentation and share with someone in your group. This longer explanation may help you prepare to share the gospel with others.
1 Excerpt from the book, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles.
2 Excerpt from an article titled, How to Create a Culture of Evangelism by The Gospel Coalition. Written by J. Mack Stiles and published on February 6, 2014.
(approx. time: 10 minutes)
Spend time in prayer together acknowledging all that God has brought up throughout the evening. Ask each person to commit to sharing the gospel with at least one person this coming week. Also, remind them to continue working on filling out their neighborhood map from a couple of weeks ago if they haven't already. Lastly, it would be good to remind them of what to expect in the coming weeks.
These tools have helped shape this activity. Feel free to play the videos in the group this coming week or watch ahead of time to help you in preparation to lead.