Best Practice #10 "Come and See Evangelism"

Today’s post highlights the tenth of ten best practices of “Come and See Evangelism” found in the Gospel of John, chapter 1.

Best Practice #10—Use Story

“Come and see” John 1:46

Most of us have been taught to share the Gospel using cleverly worded propositions, arranged in logical order, and focused on getting someone to believe that Jesus died for them. It’s not a bad approach to evangelism, but there is a problem.

Actually there are several problems, starting with how dismissive people are of our presuppositions (eg., that God exists, that the Bible is his Word, that he created all things, that we participated somehow in original sin, etc., etc…) and ending with how unwilling they are to give our religious logic authority over them, not because they have no religious system of their own, but because their system, whatever it is or isn’t, doesn’t include Christian exclusivism.

I know we’re headed into some deep waters here, but stick with me…

Because this is where the value of using story to share the Gospel comes in. The use of story does three things that linear, logical, and abstract presentations of the Gospel cannot do.

First, the use of story overcomes the a priori objections people have to Christianity as a religious system. You don’t have to convince someone to believe that God exists, or that the Bible is his Word, or that he created the world, or that he is holy, etc., etc., for the story itself to break through to their hearts. Don’t miss this—when God put the story together in his Word, he did not start with apologetics for his existence, his power, his authority as King over all, or anything else. The story simply asserts, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth….”

Second, the use of story also overcomes the danger of people engaging with the theology of Christianity but not with Jesus as a real person. Theology is about ideas. Stories are about characters. When we use story to share the Gospel, we are underscoring the reality of Jesus as a person, and not just an idea.

Third, the use of story provides tangible, real-world models of what Christianity is about. People cannot deny the tangible, real-world models of Christianity that appear right before their eyes. Their only choices are to compare those models to their own lives or to the models they see on display in the lives of others. This is the power of “Come and See.” The tangible, real-world models of people who truly love and follow Jesus will always be more effective than the most cleverly packaged system for messaging the theology of the Gospel.

For more on the use of story to communicate the Gospel, here are two previous posts:

  1. “Why We Use the Word Story” - June 1, 2018

  2. “The Interplay Between Story and the Gospel” - September 3, 2018

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Randal Gilmore