Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scripted or Unscripted? Yes!

How do we communicate the gospel clearly and effectively? How do we communicate it in such a way as to reach the person whom we are speaking with? Afterall, no two people who are alike, right? There are all sorts of people with different mindsets, worldviews, beliefs, objections, convictions, and education levels, so how can we speak the gospel of Jesus Christ so as to reach people from many different backgrounds? I recently listened to a series of messages on evangelism from a Pastor in the U.K. who said that we shouldn't use a set method of evangelism or a "one size fits all" approach to evangelism because the people with whom we speak are all different. We must be pliable and ask a series of questions in order to make a clear diagnosis on the person we are speaking with. Only then can we address the individual where they are at and meet their current need. This makes sense. I'm not going to talk to an atheist like I would talk to someone who is eager to know how to have eternal life am I? I wouldn't address a Hindu in the same way I would address a Muslim right? No, I dont think so. Does this mean that we can't run every single person with whom we speak through the same memorized script of the gospel? It would seem so, BUT in my experience I've found that it is helpful to be scripted and unscripted in my verbal presentation of the gospel. You might ask, "what do you mean by that?" Allow me to explain.

If you don't at least have some type of memorized script or outline you can run the risk of getting lost in a conversation, forgetting your point, getting caught in an argument, or not making something clear as you present the gospel to someone. If you have a script then you will know where to begin, where to go, and where to get back to if your conversation gets off track. Plus, it gives you a logical flow and consistency so that the listener can better understand the gospel message. For example, one of my favorite evangelism scripts is from a ministry called "The Way Of The Master" in which the acronym W.D.J.D. is used when speaking with every person you're seeking to share the gospel with. "W" stands for "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?", "D" stands for "Do you think you've kept the Ten Commandments?", "J (Judgment)" is "If God judges you by that standard would you be innocent or guilty?", and finally "D (Destination)" stands for "Would you go to heaven or hell?". Through a series of questions the person is lead to admit that he or she has sinned against God and is headed for hell if they are not a Christian. Once the person admits this, then it is your que to share the goods news that Jesus has died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead. You always ask those questions, it keeps you on track, and it provides a logical consistency to the presentation. The presenter feels equipped and always know where to go in the conversation.

With that being said, it is also helpful and necessary from experience to be unscripted and pliable as well in our conversations because individuals have different difficulties and objections that keep them from believing the gospel. For example, when talking to a Muslim I'm going to emphasize different facts than I would with an Atheist. With a Muslim I would emphasize the fact that the prophets of the bible which they claim to believe in spoke about Jesus in the Old Testament and told us that he would suffer for our sins and rise from the dead. I would use the same script as above, but I would mention that God revealed the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses, and then ask them if they've kept the Ten Commandments because Muslims believe that Moses was indeed a prophet of God. I take my script and make it pliable and maybe even use terminology that is familiar to them if I can. I would talk indepth about the justice of God against sin because ultimately in Muslim thinking one is forgiven based on God's choice and one's good works. Sin can be completely ignored by God. However, with an Atheist right off the bat I would ask how the individual knows that God doesn't exist, and I would show them the evidence that the bible provides for the existence of God (creation, conscience, prophecy, changed lives, etc.). I would also take them through the Ten Commandments but also refer to it as "God's standard of right and wrong", and emphasize that God has also revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

Basically, I challenge and provided answers for the objections that come up with the person I speak with. This is the UNSCRIPTED part of the conversation. When I swing to the acronym W.D.J.D. mentioned above, THAT is the SCRIPTED part of the conversation. I will also try to use terminology that will connect with the hearer if I can and I will emphasize areas of the gospel that speak to what the other person's worldview lacks. I take the SCRIPT and MAKE IT PLIABLE! If you are new to sharing the gospel don't worry because this will come with practice. As you encounter many different ideas and kinds of people your knowledge will deepen and so will your PLIABLITY! So, as of now I have concluded that it is helpful to be both SCRIPTED and UNSCRIPTED in your message!

Until Next Time!