Derek* was just a young associate pastor starting his first job at a church when he crossed paths with Nick. Derek’s zeal for sharing the gospel had led him to hand out numerous tracts and speak to many people about God’s love in sending Jesus to earth to die for them. His presentation of the gospel generally started with the cross. But with Nick, Derek suddenly found himself needing to shift gears in his approach. Here was a guy who literally knew nothing about the Bible. Nick didn’t even know the difference between Jesus and Moses!
It was at this point that Derek realised that he would be unable to simply tell Nick about the cross and expect Nick to understand the gospel sufficiently to put his faith in Christ. So, as the two young men began meeting together for lunches at a restaurant, Derek began telling Nick the story of the Bible, starting in Genesis. As they progressed, Derek used napkins to draw illustrations of key concepts and events of the Old Testament.
“After several weeks we finally arrived at Jesus,” Derek later wrote. “The Sunday following our final meeting, Nick came to my office after church because he was ready to trust Christ. I’ll never forget seeing him drop to his knees, confess his sin, and claim Christ as his sufficient substitute. When he stood up he looked me in the eyes and said, ‘The robes of Jesus righteousness have just been placed around my shoulders.’
“I remember being so shocked at his level of knowledge. Here was a young guy who just a few weeks previous could not tell you anything about God, Jesus or the Bible; but who now could give one of the best testimonies of the gospel that I had ever heard.”
That was fourteen years ago. Derek continues to pastor and share the gospel, but what he observed in Nick transformed his approach to evangelism. He realised that Nick wasn’t an isolated case. He was just one of the many biblically illiterate people who have no context for the story of Jesus Christ. We no longer live in a Christianized culture. People simply do not know who the God of the Bible is, let alone the repercussions of personal sin and the importance of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross.
Derek says, “This experience with Nick convinced me that we needed to do evangelism differently. We needed to convey more of the story—to start back in Genesis in order to give people context for the important truths of the gospel.”
It was during that same period of time that Derek was introduced to The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. He was amazed to see that there was a tool that utilized the same methodology that he had employed with Nick—telling the gospel story from creation to Christ. It was at this point that Derek’s church began to promote the use of The Stranger for leading people to Christ.
Derek says, “The type of testimony I heard from Nick has now been repeated over and over and over again with the people who have completed The Stranger studies.”
How exciting to hear again of the power of the gospel in the lives of those who hear and understand it.
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)