The feedback we were hearing from our students was pretty unanimous –
They knew how to share the gospel. But they didn’t know how to get into gospel conversations with their friends.
One of our students, Laurel Sitton, compares leading someone to Christ to scoring a touchdown:
“When the offense goes out to try to score a touchdown, sometimes they’re 90 yards away. They might be able to throw a 90-yard pass and score a touchdown. That’s great, and everyone celebrates,” she says. “But that doesn’t happen very often. That’s kind of what it’s like to get to share the gospel and see someone come to Christ the first conversation.”
What is far more common is the offense slowly makes their way down the field getting first downs.
Laurel continues: “So in one conversation you might be 70 yards or 50 yards from getting to share the gospel with your friend, but all you’re looking for is a first down, not a Hail Mary”
+1 is our answer to helping students get more first downs in conversations with their friends. And what makes it GREAT is the momentum that comes from taking steps of faith together.
The goal is for students to take the initiative with their friends to move them one step closer to Christ – no matter where they are starting on this scale:
We rolled it out at Fall Retreat (could be done anytime though). At Fall Retreat we wanted all 200 students to jump into the mission of God on campus- to have an easy, appropriate next step into mission. We wanted them to feel like “Anyone can do it. Anyone can take a baby step in evangelism.”
So on the last day of Fall Retreat we challenged everyone to write down 5 names of non-Christian friends to pray for. And then to follow 4 steps toward moving them one step (+1) closer to Jesus:
- Pray – for your 5 non-Christian friends
- Befriend – your first step might be just to get to know them better. To ask them about their weekend. Invite them to watch football or go to the movie with you and some friends.
- Ask Spiritual Questions – often the easiest line of questions – “What’s your story? Where are you coming from spiritually? Did you grow up going to church? What did you think? How do you identify now with regard to religion?”
- Share the Gospel
Each of those steps sets you up for equipping. Ask students you disciple which they struggle with the most:
- Are you praying for your friends?
- Do you know any non-Christians well enough to talk about real life?
- Do you know how to get into spiritual conversations? What questions could you ask?
- Do you know how to share the gospel?
Here’s where the momentum comes in- We then asked them to do three things every day for the next 5 days:
We created a Private +1 Facebook Group that we asked everyone to join. It’s been really encouraging to see students taking steps of faith and sharing/spurring each other on as students shared how their +1 convos went that day. It would be a great outreach to launch at Winter Conference.
We’ve found +1 to be a GREAT way to celebrate First Downs and not just touchdowns. We want to celebrate students’ steps of faith that move their friends one step closer to seeing Christ.
We’ve found that if students equate “success in evangelism” as “fully sharing the gospel and leading someone to Christ” then they will often bypass great +1 opportunities like a 4 minute walk from class to the Union or the 5 minutes before class. They can’t share the full gospel so they don’t take any steps of faith nor look for little open doors for spiritual conversations. Touchdowns never happen because they haven’t made any incremental first downs.
We need to help students learn how to incrementally move conversations and friendships toward Christ.
— The full, written-out Hail Marys vs First Downs in Evangelism analogy is linked – it’s great to use to cast vision for +1. —