By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
Most people do not feel comfortable with others challenging their worldview. However, those who do challenge the perceptions of others have the greatest influence. Christians face this dilemma with the Great Commission for sharing the gospel with others. Paul expressed,
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison — that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col 4:3–6 ESV).
As Christians, we want the gospel to challenge people to change their view of God, life, and the world. We want them to believe that Jesus resurrected, repent of their sins, be baptized, and live a faithful life. The apostles were great examples of Christ changing their lives. Likewise, Christians can open discussions about how life has changed, talk about how your personal life was broken and saved by Christ, or initiate conversations by asking others if they pray. These are lighter and easier ways to open doors for sharing the gospel. Little discomfort comes from speaking merely of God who is unknown to most of the world and then opening the door for the gospel.
In some settings, we can bring up America’s unknown God — the Creator who has endowed every person with unalienable rights (Acts 17:22–31). Within the Bible, the apostles evangelized to two types of audiences — the Jews and the Gentiles. Depending upon their view of God, the apostles would speak with skeptical Gentiles concerning their perception of God and then share the gospel, or they would speak to Jews and Jewish converts by sharing the evidence of Jesus’s resurrection upon scriptures and eyewitnesses (Acts 2; 13; 17; 1 Cor 15).
Christians should be wise and pray that they may know how to answer each person. We should consider the settings where we can best talk with others and talk about the gospel. For instance, if your waiter approaches while you are praying, ask him or her if they pray and for what. In any conversation about values in parenting to politics, ask about their standard for right and wrong. In a sports setting, talk about the motivations for playing sports and the significance of sports to life. These conversations openly easy to talking about God. Christians should think with wisdom to advance small talk about their children, their pets, the community, or the weather toward God and then the gospel.