How Gaining Perspective Helps Proclaim the Gospel
Trusting in Christ’s promises receives the certainty of victory. Eternal life in heaven is secured because of what Christ has done for us.
A life without Christ can be like following a team that is certain to lose every game. It would be puzzling to comprehend why they would remain loyal fans or even have hope for victory.
Many unbelievers simply don’t know that they don’t know. Without faith, the outcome of a game will always be in doubt.
This is difficult to fathom for life-long Christians. Therefore, gaining perspective on the condition of a lost souls and how they think will impact how Christians communicate the gospel to others.
It’s a critical first step.
How can you gain perspective?
Let’s pretend that you are an avid Green Bay Packers fan. Would you still be a Green Bay Packers fan if they lost every game?
What if they lost every game for five years in a row?
If you are an avid fan, many would answer yes.
Loyal Packer fans are usually followers their entire lives. Their parents and grandparents have been long-time fans. They have lived and breathed Packers – during the good times and the bad — and have waiting with anticipation for each game and season with renewed hope and zeal.
What could be said to convert an avid Packer fan to become a Minnesota Vikings fan?
It’s the same with an unbeliever. Many of their parents have disassociated themselves from church. It’s like being an avid fan of a football team.
It’s a way of life.
How does this translate to evangelism?
When I grew up in Seattle, WA, our family belonged to a large Methodist church. We were members there because my mother grew up in a Methodist church. Belonging to the large Methodist church in our city was a sign of status. Our worship attendance was sporadic. I knew who Jesus was, but I didn’t know why he was relevant to me.
And, I didn’t know that I didn’t know until I went to college.
I attended a Christian university to play sports, even though I was biblically ignorant. I remember sitting in an English class during the fall semester of my freshman year. The professor called upon the class to make a list of Jesus’ parables. I was the first student she called upon. She was shocked when I answered, “I don’t know.” It was a embarrassing when my classmates chuckled nervously. They all knew the answers except me.
That was my life. I didn’t know the answers. I believed that being a good person was going to be good enough to enter heaven, because that’s what my parents and friends at home believed.
Surrounded by Christians in college, I wasn’t necessarily attracted to the gospel message, but I was attracted to the quality of people who professed faith in Christ. They had something that I didn’t have. I soaked in snippets of the gospel. It wasn’t because I asked, but I was on the receiving end of natural outpourings of verbally expressing what God has done for us. Seeds were planted in my heart and began to take root. The summer before my sophomore year, I received faith.
There are many people in our communities who have a similar background but have not received faith. It’s not so much that they are rejecting the Truth, but they have just not heard the Truth.
How can you begin to convert lost souls who are or appear loyal to a way of life?
In a TED talk, writer and radio host, Celeste Headlee, gave a unique perspective on what makes a good conversation. Whenever a person enters a difficult conversation, she said:
“Instead of being intent on changing a person’s mind, be more intent to learn something from them.”
This is an important point and extremely helpful when entering a spiritual conversation. It can be frustrating when you can’t change a person’s mind.
The Key: Be more intent to learn their perspective by listening carefully. When you gain their perspective, you can learn to ask the right questions. Based on their answers, you can provide a biblical perspective that addresses their expressed need.
When audiences to hear the Word are gained instead of preached to, they are more prone to hear what Christ has done for us with an open heart and mind.
What does winning look like?
If the Vikings won five Super Bowls in a row, a desperate Packers fan may secretly pull a Vikings fan aside and ask, “Why do you win all the time? How do you do it?” They may not seek to convert but want to know how to win.
A desperate soul longing for hope in this world will see a victorious Christian filled with joy and peace in the risen Christ. They will long to know, but not certain how to ask. They will observe and wonder, “You have something that I don’t have. How can I receive hope when life is so difficult?”
Gaining perspective exhibits care and concern. It gives a lost person assurance to be vulnerable. And it’s at that moment, you have a rapt audience that soaks in the message of victory. They ask questions pertaining to salvation and a reason is given for the hope believers have in Christ.
I know. Because that’s my story.
Conversion takes a miracle. It’s impossible without the power of God’s Word.
Gaining perspective is a great way to start introducing the Word.
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