KGP- Great Tool for Post-modern, Secular Students

August 7, 2013 — 4 Comments

kgp-blue-grayI would love for you to join the discussion on a post I wrote on CruPressGreen:

KGP: Awkward and Outdated or Invaluable to College Ministry? Discuss

The short of it: in working with college students, is there value in using a gospel tract such as the Knowing God Personally (KGP) or a “canned approach” like The Bridge? Or, are those tools irrelevant/awkward/harmful to a post-modern, secular college student?

Mike Schatzman is on staff with Cru and has served in Eastern and Western Europe (as well as in the U.S.). I thought his comments were worth highlighting.

Great insight:

I would add that the KGP is great for post-modern folks too. I have spent 11 years doing campus ministry in post modern countries with less than 2% Christian populations. These students want to know what a Christian is. The KGP is a simple way to explain what a Christian is in a way that makes sense. I was talking with a student named Gui not too long ago. He has never been to church and never held a Bible before. He asked me how a Christian is different from a muslim, etc. We went through the KGP and opened up the Bible to Eph 2:8-9. It was his first time to read something from the Bible. He understood it. Now I didn’t ask him to pray to receive Christ – he was still an atheist. But he understood the gospel. So much so that 3 weeks later we were walking by a church and he talked about Catholics doing penance to earn forgiveness. Then he said to me, “But you don’t believe that you have to earn forgiveness by doing stuff. You believe God gives it freely through Jesus.” I am not sure that he would have gotten that if we had just done the chit-chat approach to explaining the gospel. The KGP helps people understand the gospel.


The last thing I would add is that I have rarely (if ever) seen someone effective in relational evangelism who was not trained, at some point in time, in initiative evangelism using the KGP, Roman Road or some other “canned approach”.


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  • Ron Cram

    Hi Tim! I think KGP is a tremendous tool that will never be out of date. But I also think the world is very different than it was in the 1950s and post-modern America needs some additional tools.

    One of the tools I think is outstanding and should be used more is Rick Warren’s booklet “What On Earth Am I Here For?” This has the first seven chapters of his bestseller Purpose Driven Life. It’s full of Scripture that shows people how much God loves them and persuades people there is added purpose in Christ. The message really resonates in the hearts of people everywhere. And it ends in a salvation prayer. In a sense it is an evangelistic tool also, but I think its greatest value is in building desire to make a decision to follow Christ. You still need to have a very clear presentation like KGP.

    I also think campus ministers need a tool to give to atheists who think Christianity is not intellectually viable (and for Christians who are struggling with the same intellectual doubts). In a Pew Forum poll published in 2009 and revised in 2011, 44% of respondents say they do not hold to the faith of their parents. Most of those changed their faith before age 24, during the university years. In the same 2009 poll, when those who had become unaffiliated were asked if science had proven religion to be superstition, 32% of former Catholics and 32% of former Protestants said yes. These are college students who were leaders of their high school youth group just a year or two before. Campus ministers need a tool to show science and Christianity are compatible and that Christianity is intellectually viable.

    In my view, three tools are essential. 1) KGP because it provides a short and clear presentation of the gospel. 2) Rick Warren’s booklet to help create a desire to follow Christ. 3) A booklet to show Christianity is intellectually viable.

    As you know, I’ve written one booklet to show Christianity is intellectually viable. I plan to write three more telling the conversion stories of other atheists.

    • Blake

      What is the booklet about the intellectual viability of Christianity?

      • Ron Cram

        The booklet is called “Is Christianity True? Why Three Brilliant Atheists Became Christians.” You can learn more at

  • Hey guys, good discussion on here. As a former Cru staff member and now church-planter in a “post-modern” context of LA (although to be honest I am not sure that term has much meaning any more, but I digress), I think I have some good experience on using a tool like the KGP and doing “relational” approaches. Thought I’d chime in.

    One thing I’ll say in response to Mike’s line at the end there about not seeing someone effective in relational evangelism who wasn’t training in a canned approach is that I dare say that is a very “modern” view that leaves out how the NT presents evangelism happening, and it leaves out much of church history.

    For instance, we see no such evidence in Acts of the Apostles using any “canned” approach, or training in one “canned” approach, and yet evangelism was going nuts and people were coming to Christ all over the place. Obviously the Holy Spirit was moving in power, but we can’t look at Acts without seeing that EVERY gospel presentation in Acts is very different from the last. There are core elements of course (dare I saw, Creation-God-Fall-Christ-Redeption-Resurrection), but every presentation was different.

    Also, in my studies of church history, I haven’t seen tracts used and trained in as primary tools for sharing the gospel. The tract is, to my knowledge, a modern invention, come in the last 60 years or so. So we have nearly 2000 years of church history, where God has accomplished his purposes and people have come to faith, and yet a canned approach has not been the primary driving EV method. That doesn’t at all mean it is “wrong”, just that we must realize (and teach?) that it is a modern contextualization, arising at a certain time in response to a specific culture (IE: Bill Bright in the 1950-60′s).

    But to go back to why each gospel presentation in Acts was different, I think it’s clear because each audience was different. Truly, I think this is a great lesson for our “post-modern” America. Certainly in my context, pluralistic describes the society. Every day I meet someone with a different cultural background, different hang-ups to Christianity, and a different history. And increasingly it appears this diversification of America is only spreading across the US, especially urban areas.

    Therefore, I actually think to take a page from Acts and the Apostles, we should train people to know the gospel so well, know it in several expressions, and then learn to know people so well that they adjust their presentation of the gospel to the person/culture they are attempting to reach. By all means the KGP is a great option to train in, but I believe it is no longer sufficient to be the ONLY way students understand how to share the gospel, or even the primary way in my opinion. This only make our jobs tougher, but look, they did it in Acts; we can do it again.

    Ok, I’m done, that was a lot. Thanks for letting me enter the discussion.