At GoodSeed, we encourage believers to share the gospel in two ways: give and guide.
In giving, you pass a GoodSeed tool, such as a book or audiobook, to someone else. That recipient then has an opportunity to explore for himself the message of the Bible. The book (or audiobook) is an invitation to investigate. It gives this person enough information to decide for himself if he believes the gospel. The authority is not you, the giver, but it’s the Bible as explained by the book’s author. The reader can spend as many hours as needed in exploring the message of the book.
In guiding, we are personally explaining the gospel to someone else. Asking a stranger to trust us in a span of a few minutes is very difficult, as Etienne* below, has discovered. It’s not easy to convince a stranger to believe our message if he doesn’t know who we are. Etienne has learned that time must be spent establishing trust before a listener will believe the message he is sharing.
Here is Etienne* in France, sharing his thoughts:
“I have presented the gospel in the street with hundreds of people… When asked if they understood, they said, “Yes.” When asked if they wanted to receive the free gift of eternal life, they said, “No.” It is my experience that just “getting the message out there” (especially in just five minutes) is not what touches the heart. Getting the message to travel those last centimetres from the brain to the heart takes time and personal interaction.”
Etienne has discovered a couple of important principles in being an Ambassador for Christ: it takes time to build rapport and a relationship, and it takes the time to go through the gospel step-by-step. Etienne has found that guiding someone through the gospel from creation to the cross by using a GoodSeed tool has proven effective for him.
He said to us:
“…Who would accept a foundational and life-changing truth in just five minutes? Nobody. Let’s not make it brief, but clear. Let’s stay away from superficial preaching. Jesus took time to go through Scripture. Paul took time to discuss things in depth.”
From his own experience, Etienne has learnt that if someone doesn’t trust him, that person will not listen to what he has to say. Not only that, if he is too brief in explaining the gospel, Jesus will remain a stranger to his friend because there is no way that his friend will ever trust a stranger. Instead, Etienne takes the time, both to build trust and to explain the gospel. This has made a great difference in helping someone put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation.
In our own daily lives, we can certainly give someone a book and trust the Lord to let the book do the explaining. This has certainly proven effective for many people. But when it comes to guiding someone through the gospel, remember not to rush! It is the most precious and life-saving message in the world.
(*Name has been changed as per GoodSeed policy.)