Hi Alycia. May the Lord continue to use you mightily for His kingdom. I would just want to ask about your talk about “Engaging Culture with the gospel.” What are tips you could give in making sure we communicate the gospel effectively with our friends, family, or maybe the society where we are situated in general?
What are tips you could give in making sure we communicate the gospel effectively with our friends, family, or maybe the society where we are situated in general?
I think there are a few tips that I can give! One tip I would give would be to truly know and understand the gospel message. Be able to explain it in words that are not “Christianeeze”. This is where teaching kids comes in handy. Try teaching kids about Christianity, why Jesus had to die, what salvation means etc. They won’t necessarily understand your “Christianeeze”, and so that will force you to have to break things down simply, but truthfully.
Second, know where your audience is at. In that talk I go through Acts 17 and look at the different ways that Paul changes explaining the gospel to people based on his audience. Notice, I did not say that he changed the content of the gospel, we should never do that, but he changed the way in which he explained it or taught it to people. There’s one way he explains it in Thessalonica, and another in Athens. He takes the same message and adapts it for the audience. In Thessalonica, he used the Scriptures, meaning the Old Testament Scriptures because he was speaking to a Jewish audience (see v. 2-3). In the Areopagus, Paul doesn’t refer them to Scriptures at all, because these are people who do not accept the Scriptures. What Paul does is teach them the content of the scriptures without them knowing it. He let them know who the unknown god they already believe in is. He goes on to explain who that God is and that this is the God who made the world and everything in it. He isn’t a statue, He’s a live being and gives life to all men. In other words, what Paul is trying to do is use what they already understand and believe is true, to help them realize the actual real Truth. And through that, he helps them to see that they should not have any other gods, because this is the one true God, and that he desires repentance. AND He has provided evidence that He’s the real God by raising Jesus from the dead. Paul even quotes from their own poets (v. 28)!
So I would say, you need to know the gospel message and your audience. And remember that it can be helpful to use things that your friends and family already like (such as art, poetry, or even pop songs), when trying to find ways to explain the gospel or to get your conversations started. A lot of people talk about god, gods or God in their music. Are any of those verses good launching pads for conversation about God?
It is also beneficial to know the answer to some of the popular questions people ask, such as, why would God allow suffering? Why would God send people to hell? Don’t all religions to God? Why isn’t God more obvious? Can the Bible be trusted? Those questions pop up very often, and while the answers don’t usually lead people to God, they help clear out the traffic in the way so that there is a much clearer pathway to getting to know Christ. A lot of times you have to get through those answers, to really get to the deep meaningful questions people have about God when they want to be in a relationship with him.
Finally, it is beneficial for you to get in conversations even if you get stuck on the answers. You don’t have to know the answers to everything. No one does! Rather, do your best, and if you get stuck, tell them you’ll research the answer and get back to them shortly. Now you have inadvertently scheduled another opportunity for you all to talk about God!
Hope that helps!
Thank you so much, @Alycia_Wood.