Who will someone listen to when it comes to hearing the Gospel?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions to ask in the process of evangelism. As the Western culture continues to become more and more post-Christian, we must get this right.
I am passionate about spiritual rescue, and especially seeing my generation, Generation Z, come to know Jesus. Here is a key principle I have learned:
For a lost person to hear and truly consider the Gospel, the message must be shared by someone with whom they have a TRUST relationship. A lost person will listen to their friend, their peer, more than anyone else.
I am the Founder and CEO of the HowToLife Movement, a rapidly-growing movement of teens and young people around America (and now overseas) who are passionate about reaching their generation for Jesus.
The whole premise of HowToLife is young people planning events to reach their friends for Christ. At these events, teens get up on stage and share with their peers in attendance about the difference Jesus has made in their lives.
I hear it all the time: teens talking about their sin, like addictions to pornography and sex, or issues of self-worth and popularity. These student communicators share how Jesus helped them overcome their sin when they surrendered their lives to Him, and they boldly share about the difference Jesus now makes in their lives.
When these young people share their stories, their peers listen. Why? Because young people can relate to someone like them.Teenagers trust a peer who has gone through similar life experiences, far more than any other messenger.
What does this mean for evangelists? If a lost person will listen to their friend, their peer, more than anyone else, what does this mean for our ministries?
First, everyday believers need to be equipped to share the Gospel with their peers.
Everyday believers are in the best position to reach their peers for Christ. They live where lost people live, and they already have a trust relationship.
As evangelists, our job is to use what we know in how to effectively share the Gospel and equip others. We are all called as believers in Jesus to the Great Commission.
Why did God give gifts to the church, including “evangelists”? Paul says, “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, NLT).
We must equip believers to communicate the Gospel in clear, non-religious language.
At every HowToLife event, we train and equip Christian teenagers to clearly present the Gospel. This not only equips them for the event, but also sets them up for a lifetime of sharing the Gospel with people in their world.
Second, we must equip believers to effectively share their personal “hope story” — the term we use for testimony.
My grandfather, Ron Hutchcraft, developed the hope story training we use in HowToLife. We help young people write, “The Story Only I Can Tell.”
Ron asks three key questions: “What was your life like before Christ? What was the turning point? And what difference does Jesus make in your life now?”
In Revelation we read, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11 NIV). There is such power in a hope story!
Finally, our job is to help give a “platform” to followers of Jesus for them to share their hope story.
An easy place to start is on a social media channel. Produce a short video or have a written story. The HowToLife Instagram and YouTubechannels are full of teenagers sharing their personal stories of the difference Jesus makes in their lives.
Another platform to share the stories of everyday believers may be a church service, or an evangelism outreach event.
Billy Graham often used testimonies as part of his crusades. Through HowToLife, we have made the “Hope Story” a fundamental, key component of every outreach event.
It is amazing to see the way lost people will listen to someone who has shared their life experiences. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “Their story is the same as mine!” And that’s how they found Jesus.
Often, at the end of a HowToLife event, following the Gospel presentation, teens that come forward share about how “it was this kid’s story” or “my friend’s testimony” that led them to consider Jesus that night.
How is it that a Samaritan woman was able to introduce her people to Jesus? “Many of the Samaritans . . . believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). The Samaritans listened to someone who was like them!
Help believers you know learn the Gospel, share their hope stories, and give them a platform to share with many more.
Ultimately, as evangelists, part of our calling must be to train up more and more everyday believers — the ones who are on the front lines of evangelism. Lost people listen to someone who is like them.
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