Communicating the Gospel Clearly
If you were asked to share the gospel in a simple, clear, and compelling way to an unbelieving audience, would you be prepared to do so? Presenting the gospel with the unbeliever in mind is different from writing or speaking to a faith-based audience. Because we Christians are often surrounded exclusively by other Christians, we may feel ill-equipped to connect with and share the gospel with unbelievers, especially with those we don’t know.
When I’m not speaking or writing to Christian audiences, I work as a part-time public school counselor and therapist. In these roles, I’ve learned most families in our communities don’t attend church, may lack a support system, and are isolated because of the ongoing pandemic. Parents come to me, the school counselor, for financial, physical, mental, and emotional help because the school is the only place they know of that may help them with assistance for their needs. I wish I could share the gospel with them and send them directly to a church for support.
But I can’t. However, I’ve learned the power of connecting with them through building relationships, having empathy, and sharing common experiences. These same approaches are helpful when communicating the gospel with audiences who are unfamiliar with or have presuppositions about Christianity, Jesus, and Scripture. I often speak to such groups for outreach events, and I’m excited to share practical tips that may help you when presenting the gospel to unbelieving audiences.
- Reflect on a situation, issue, or relationship you’re currently struggling with or have struggled with in the past as you prepare your message. Communicate how you felt in the situation. Shared feelings and experiences connect with others, even if the situations are different.
- Come alongside your audience with empathy. Let them know you understand their struggle. Share a problem or experience you’ve encountered.
- Present the solution to your problem, which is how Jesus changes your life through a personal relationship with him. Share how Christ’s presence has transformed your situation. Identify how Jesus helps you in real life situations. For example, “Though I was scared, I didn’t feel alone because Jesus’ presence was with me.”
- Clearly share the gospel, including Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. Include how you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, what your life was like before salvation, and what it is like now because of your relationship with him.
- Be clear and concise about what Christ’s presence in your life looks like, feels like, and how it changes you. Don’t over-spiritualize. Avoid Christianese phrases, words, or descriptions such as Jesus “lives in your heart” or that you’re “born again.” These phrases can be confusing to someone who is not raised in the church. Instead, use terms such as “I felt a peace that calmed me,” or “I felt free from guilt and shame.”
- Use Scriptures that clearly point a person to Christ, but use general vernacular rather than quoting multiple Bible verses. For example, describe sin with words such as “selfishness” or “self-absorbed” as most non-Christians do not have a true understanding of sin and why it is a problem. Explain other terms such as grace, mercy, salvation, and eternal life.
- Gently invite your listener to have a relationship with Christ as you do. Present the steps of inviting Jesus into their life through prayer, confession of their sin, acceptance of His forgiveness, and receiving the gift of eternal life.
Communicate the gospel as if you were talking with a friend. Then, trust God’s faithfulness to draw others to him as you are faithful to share the difference he makes in your life.
Question: Please comment on a time when you shared the gospel in a presentation. What happened? Would you do anything differently in the future?
Brenda L. Yoder is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, speaker, author, and life coach. She’s authored Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind; Balance, Busyness & Not Doing It All, She’s been featured in The Washington Post and in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s the host of the Life Beyond the Picket Fence podcast and co-host of the Midlife Mom Podcast and Midlife Mom Facebook Community. Brenda specializes in faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image.