Archives For relational evangelism

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KGP: Awkward and Outdated or Invaluable to College Ministry?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”.

Some great thoughts from Tim Keller on Evangelism in this video.

Some highlights:

  • If you strictly do Evangelism, the outside world sees it as recruitment, increasing your tribe, a power grab
  • You need to combine Word and Deed.
  • The best way to combine Evangelism and Good Deeds is on a personal level (more difficult to do on a organizational level)
    • You’re not going to love a friend without sharing the Gospel with them. And as a friend you will serve them as there is a need
  • Keller’s two steps for setting up Evangelism:
    1. Let the other person know you go to church
    2. Let the other person know that your Christian faith means something to you, even in passing: “my Christian faith has really helped me here…”
      • There are a lot of simple behaviors that you should be doing, that will lead in a very organic way into deeper spiritual discussion
      • You should be doing the simple behaviors first:
        • Loving and caring for people
        • Being a person of integrity
        • Letting people know that your Christian faith
      • And it will just bubble up naturally
      • I think most people think, I have to find out a way to get the whole gospel out in one conversation or get in a debate about Creation and Evolution. That’s not the way to go. Be simple.
  • He goes on to talk about how sharing the gospel in the city is more complex and requires more skill.

HT: @hanskristensen


Getting Past Irrelevance

August 12, 2010 — 9 Comments

The random picture will be explained below.

Helping Students find Purpose (when they’re not looking for it).
There was some great discussion/comments on yesterday’s post The Chief End of College Students so I thought I’d solicit more specific help.

Crowd-source my ministry planning.

Using your collective genius to help us better reach college students with the gospel.

Stehanie N. summarized the question well in the comments yesterday:

“I understand that they aren’t already thinking about Life Purpose…but is it possible to get them there? And then create doubt about whether their ladder is leaning against the right wall, so to speak?”

So yesterday AM, our staff team spent about an hour looking for practical application points for our ministry. Here’s what we came up with in our first pass. I’m not posting this because we figured it out – I’m posting because maybe you/your team have found some things that work.

So if you would, take a look at what we came up with as a team and let me know what you’d add/subtract/change, etc.

It’s a bit long but hopefully very practical:

The main “solution” we came up with in “Getting Past Irrelevance” is relationships. As we see it, there is no one shot solution. It will take a sustained relationship and many conversations to help students see the incredible relevance of the gospel.

Just to be clear: we’re not going the relational evangelism route because we’re scared to share the gospel up front. Us? Scared? Please! If Campus Crusade drove a truck, we’d have 30 “Aint Skeered” and “No Fear” stickers plastered on our back windshield.

It’s just that our boldness with the gospel in the past (speaking for our team) has fallen on deaf ears because it’s filtered out thru the “not relevant to my life right now” auto-reflex of college students. So we will be bold by creating tension and then presenting the gospel.

Our vision statement is relational and provides the solution: “Equipping students so that everyone knows someone who passionately follows Jesus”.
As they really know (go thru life side by side) with a passionate Christ-follower they will see what is lacking in their own life (tension).
Then we can present the message of the gospel – because they have ears to hear.

So the long term solution is a relationship where the gospel is lived out and explicitly communicated through many mini-gospel presentations (best done in a conversational, “this is how the gospel is humbling me to the ground right now and how I’m finding hope in the grace/love of Christ right now”).

To get really practical, what do we do during the initial conversation?

  • In our particular situation, we have 2,000 contact cards at the beginning of the year. And hundreds of follow up appointments in the first few weeks. And throughout the year we (staff and students) are trying to “stir the pot” with whomever we talk to on campus, trying to start spiritual conversations. How do get past irrelevance in this initial conversation?

Here’s what we’ve done in the past on follow up appts:

  • Explain who we are as Cru and what we offer.
  • If the conversation is still moving along (i.e. their eyes aren’t glazed over), ask the Kennedy Questions (If you were to die tonight, how sure are you that you would go to heaven? & If God said, why should I let you into heaven, what would you say?) and try to share the gospel
  • If the conversation has hit a wall, yell as they’re slamming the door: “OK, so Tuesday night is Cru and we’ll see you at Bible study tomorrow night right???”
  • The goal – to invite them to a meeting/Bible study and share the gospel with them

Maybe we just suck at ministry but this hasn’t yielded much fruit for us (anyway you measure it – conversions, involvement in Cru, etc)

Here’s our best shot at a new approach – The goal of the initial conversation is to get a second relational connection (going to a movie, lunch the next day, a Bible study, playing Ultimate Frisbee). The primary goal of the first appointment is to launch a long-term relationship.

And to try to create tension starting with the first appointment or encounter.  Some ideas we had:

  • Quote/paraphrase Acts 17 – From before Creation God “determined the times set for you and the exact places where you should live.”
  • So God has you here at the U of A for a determined purpose.
  • So why do you think God has you here? What do you hope to get out of college?”
  • Their probable answer: “Get a degree. Meet People. Have a good time.”
  • Our response: ?????

That’s where we’re a bit stuck. How do you increase the tension in a conversational/non-preachy way: “I’ve arrived at the solution, let me tell you how yours is wrong”?   Because I think if you do that – you lose them again.

One idea – Use CCC’s Soularium cards and ask them to pick a couple pictures that best represent:
1. What drives you in life? What motivates you?
2. What does your spiritual life like now?
3. What would you like your spiritual life to look like by the time you graduate?

So help us out – what has worked for you in “Getting Past Irrelevance”. Additionally, how do you ratchet up tension in a bold yet conversational/non-preachy way.

photo courtesy of slambo_42 via Flickr (with the obvious Aint Skeered/CCC adaption)