I am not totally anti-four spiritual laws (although I prefer to call them, “spiritual truths”), especially if they include a call to repentance (and not just “belief” in God—Mark 1:15). Nevertheless, I am among those who wonder if there is perhaps a better way to approach evangelism than starting with “you’re a sinner” (that sure is “good news!” isn’t it :)). What might be some other approaches to evangelism?
1. Invite a friend to talk with God (just wherever you are or perhaps invite them to Church). Basically, if salvation includes a relationship with God, then why not introduce people to God, instead of just teaching people concepts about God. I have blogged about the idea here.
2. Related to the above, help a person find how God has already been at work in or around them. Ask them a question like, do you think God has ever spoken to you? How do you see God in the world?
3. Pray with people. God will work in their life and they will see it.
4. Ask people about what matters to them. What do they crave in life (love, a sense of value, adventure, etc.)? And then consider how God might be the answer to those existential needs. From the documentary “Crave” (view it here, if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, check it out at the 17:40 mark), I gather this is the idea behind Erin McManus’s book Soul Cravings. Some philosophers are also moving in the direction of considering existential reasons for belief in God rather than only rational arguments.
5. Tell somebody about Jesus. I don’t mean tell them the “spiritual laws.” I just mean, tell them about Jesus. Who is he? What did he do in life? What did he teach? It is interesting that the four “Gospels” (meaning, good news!) talk a lot about Jesus, not just about his death! Scot McKnight has blogged on this idea.
6. Tell how God changed your life. What difference has Jesus made for you? Isn’t that good news? (That is, gospel.) The 4 Gospels in the Bible were once titled, “The Gospel According to Luke” (John, Matthew, etc.). And the stories in these 4 Gospels include many stories about how Jesus made a difference in people’s lives (e.g. John 9:25). If Jesus makes a difference in your life, that is your “Gospel”: call it the “Gospel According to Andrew.”
I don’t know about you, but I think in most situations I’d be more comfortable with one of the above approaches to evangelism than starting with, “you’re a sinner,” or even, “do you know where you would go if you died tonight?” And the above approaches definitely fit better with the “relationship evangelism” that many people talk about, which is less a shot-gut approach to evangelism and more so an approach to evangelism that takes place over time. I don’t think the above approaches are a cop-out. Rather, they are about sharing the Gospel, which is the very essence of evangelism (“evangelism” comes from the Greek euangelizomai, meaning, “I proclaim” and related to the Greek euangelium, meaning, “good news”).
Question: What are some other ways to evangelize other than through sharing the four spiritual laws?