Afternoon Light

Transitiong to the Gospel

For a lot of people, one of the hardest things about talking to someone about Jesus is just getting started. How do you bring it up? Awkward transitions feel forced and make a scary situation even more so. For many people, this is the biggest hindrance to sharing the gospel.  

Funneling Conversations

How to Transition into Gospel Conversations

BY TRENT TAYLOR

(Excerpt from Radical.net)

 

When sitting down for a conversation, think about it in terms of a funnel, going from external conversation (the wide part) to internal conversation (beginning to get narrower) to eternal conversation (the narrowest point).

 

External Conversation

First, take a genuine interest in who that person is and what they are passionate about. Try and ask as many questions as you can and make connections if possible! The goal is to ask broad, open-ended questions to get the student talking. 

Some examples of questions to ask could be, “What were you involved with in high school?” “What classes are you taking this semester, and how are they treating you?” “How do you plan to get involved in college?” “What do you enjoy doing in your free time?”

 

Internal Conversation

As the conversation progresses, you want to begin asking questions with more substance and depth. The internal conversation moves from the outside world to the heart.

Some examples of questions to ask in the internal portion of the conversation could be, “What do you want to do after college? Why?” “What are you passionate about? Why?” “Was there any impactful event that occurred to you while you were growing up? What was that like?” “What was family life like for you growing up?” “What is your relationship like with your parents?”

Be genuinely curious, interested, and loving when beginning to dive into deeper issues. If people feel threatened by your questions, they will immediately put walls up. Communicate gratitude for them if they share parts about their life that seem impactful or heavy to them.

 

Transitioning the Conversation to the Gospel

When I am transitioning into an eternal question, I will ask, “Is church something you and your family did growing up, or was it not really a big deal?”

By asking about the church, you are opening the discussion to their past church experience, where they are at now, and if the church is still a priority in their life. Additionally, by adding “or was it not really a big deal” you are able to avoid coming across as threatening and allow them to feel comfortable regardless of their answer. Another great way of transitioning is to look for some sort of 

 

Eternal Conversation

Following their response to your question about the church, begin to ask a lot of descriptive questions in order to help you better understand their worldview. If they respond “no” to having grown up in church, ask them if they ever think about spiritual things and who God is. 

If they respond “yes” to your question about the church, begin asking them about their experience in church and whether going to church is something they are hoping to continue in college.

We have waded into spiritual conversation, but we have yet to truly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the person we are sharing with. Then, to initiate explicit gospel conversation, I rely heavily upon one of the questions crafted by Evangelism Explosion, an evangelistic movement that started in the 1960s. I will typically preface the question with, “I was asked this question my freshman year of college to help me think through spiritual things. Do you mind if I ask you too?”

From there, I will ask, “If something were to happen to you today, and you were to stand before God, and He asked you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’, what would you say?” The ultimate purpose of this question is to determine where the student’s confidence lies for salvation; who or what is their ultimate hope?

After they conclude their answer to this question, share with them your personal testimony. As Paul outlines in Acts 26, his testimony includes what he was like before Christ, what he came to realize about Christ and the gospel, and how his life has changed since. Then take the time to explicitly communicate the gospel.

Transitioning to the Gospel from our brokenness.. 

As you have a conversation begin looking for a problem, issue, or hurt that they might have. You can use this in the funneling method above. Instead of asking about church when you move into internal conversations began searching for a problem, stress, or a past-hurt.  We all live in a broken world and as we have conversations these things will naturally come up.  This flows naturally into the 3 circles method as we talk about living in a broken world.  

You can transition to a gospel conversation by asking questions like:

 

  1. I haven’t been through that specific problem, but I’ve been through similar things, can I share with you something that’s really helped me. 

  2. I deal with that a lot myself. Can I tell you how I have been able to handle that situation? I have learned to depend on God.

  3. When someone expresses insecurities) You are really valuable. No matter what anyone thinks of you, God thinks you are so valuable. Can I share with you what He says about you and how much He loves you from the Bible?

  4. (When someone expresses hurts) Can I share with you where I have found hope (for life)?

  5. Do you feel satisfied? It may feel like these things are satisfying, but I know of something that will meet the deepest needs and longings of your heart.

 

 

From there you could transition to sharing the gospel with questions like these:

 

  1. Would you like to know God in a real and personal way?

  2. Can I share with you something that has changed my life? (Share your 3 minute testimony)

  3. What do you believe about God? Can I share with you what the Bible says about God and how to know Him?

  4. Do you ever think about God or spiritual things?

  5. What do you think it means to be a Christian?

  6. Would you mind if I shared with you what I’ve learned about knowing God personally?