I have seen and felt a burden on some of us recently to be more willing and more capable to share the Gospel to the people around us. Personally , I feel we talk about it fairly often and the conversation sort of trails off to silence where we’re all wondering why it isn’t easier to talk about Jesus to our friends, co-workers, neighbors, even our family. We are a mission minded church! We are out there in the community! But are we able to talk about our relationship with our Savior as easily as we are about the game over the weekend or the movie we saw Honestly, I know I’m not where I need to be.
A couple weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending the GCM Collective Equip seminar where the topic was: Gospel Fluency: Sharing the Gospel in Everyday Language. Pastor Phil Henry from Mercy Hill Presbyterian Church shared some great biblical and practical truths that are applicable not only to me, but to all of us as we strive to be on mission.
I’ve outlined below some of the main point from the talk:
- Normal Speech - Speak what comes easy to you, your ‘mother tongue.’ Don’t try to fumble over big fancy words. Ephesians talks about having the balance of speaking the truth IN LOVE. Pastor Phil Henry also spoke about how the Gospel can bring people up from low points in their lives
- Takes Time – Just as learning to talk takes time, so does learning how to speak the Gospel into people’s lives. We start out being consciously competent, paying attention to what we’re saying and speaking very carefully. However our goal is to be unconsciously competent in our Gospel speech, so that our Gospel talk just comes naturally. (Oh how nice that would be! )
- Learned in Community and Family- Our language we speak is learned by the people we’re around, mainly our family. The same goes for how we speak the Gospel The more we surround ourselves in community and encourage each other in the Gospel, the easier it will be to have it come naturally in our own language. John 17 was referenced here.
- Bilingual - We are to be “in the world, but not of it” . We are to be in the culture, to know the language of the people around us. (John 17:14) Just as if we were in another country and fluent in two languages, we are in this world and need to be fluent in language of the Gospel so as to reach the unsaved in an effective way.
I've also added some practical ways you can learn to become more fluent in speaking the Gospel:
- Practice Group Exercises - While in your community groups and family, practice Gospel speech. For example –
- Can you write out the Gospel in one sentence?
- Can you find the Gospel story in the Bible? Can you find the Gospel laid out in different stories in the Bible?
- Think of a time in the past, in the present, and in the future. How does the Gospel fit into those stories in your own life, where does it overlap?
- Love and Know the Bible- Don’t take the Gospel for granted and assume all Christians know the Bible. Do you know the ABCs of the Gospel?
- Believe the Truth- Do you depend on the Bible and God to get you only through difficult times? Or is the Gospel active and apart of every part of your life.
- Repent- It’s important to think the same thing of yourself that God thinks of you. Don’t focus on past sins that God has forgiven you of.
- Suffer- God has called his children to suffer. It is in those moments of suffering that we are able to let the Gospel to shine through.
Some of my own thoughts/take-aways from the equip seminar –
As I seek to teach and speak carefully with my children, my speech should be the same with everyone I come into contact with. I understand that I am discipling my children to be raised up into the admonition of the Lord, I should be just as careful and intentional with my speech with my other relationships
In my interactions, do I give good advice or do I give Jesus? For example, if someone is diagnosed with a illness do I tell them all the great doctors in the area that they could go to? Or do I attempt to reach their heart and encourage them with the Gospel.
When people share struggles, try not to focus on the negative, but on the work that the Holy Spirit has done in their life?
What is in your life that makes you want to read the Bible? Jesus loves you whether you read the Bible or not.
The Gospel is past, present, and future, Where do see the Gospel active in your life?
When we are able to see the Gospel in our lives, and then able to talk about it and become more fluent in it. It is then that we are able to have the Gospel be “normal speech” in our interactions with others.
- Becca Gruber