Most people who’ve spent time in church are familiar with the “Romans Road” method of evangelism — simply take a person through Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, and 10:9-10 (and I add 12:1-2) to introduce them to Christ.
Unfortunately, the days of simple evangelistic methods are long gone. What we used to be able to “assume” people understood can no longer be assumed. I like the Romans Road verses, of course, and I still encourage every Christian to memorize them to assist in their sharing of the faith.
However: an entire generation has grown up without any frame of reference to creation, sin, redemption, heaven, hell, repentance, or faith. These Chrisitan buzzwords have little or no meaning to those with no church upbringing.
In light of this, the burden of explanation must fall upon us — we must clarify our presentation of the Good News to the world. Rather than expecting a person to profess faith in Christ after a five-minute message and testimony, it may take patient sharing, trust-building, and Bible teaching.
Personally, I find the book of Ephesians to be a very effective evangelistic tool. Not only does it talk about the grace of God, sin, faith, the Cross, forgiveness, and eternity, but it also gives a clear understanding of what the Christian life is all about. Chapters 4-6 show how Christianity changes a person’s attitudes, relationships, family, workplace, and life mission.
“But Dan, that’s too complex. We’ll take care of that ‘learning and growing’ part later – today they just need John 3:16!” Let me put it to you this way: if I wanted you to buy my house, and I told you how wonderful it was, followed by a quick four-point informational tour (it has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, a deck and a backyard), would you be ready to sign on the dotted line?
Wouldn’t you wonder about the details? What is life really like in the house? And even more importantly, how much will this thing cost me?
You would wonder, and you’d be right to do so. Only a fool would make such a life-altering decision on such scant information. Enter Christianity. Should we really ask people to make a lifelong commitment to Jesus, when they know nothing about Him, His lifestyle, His teaching or His commandments? Should we give them “just the basics” then let them read the fine-print later?
Jesus gave His answer clearly in Luke 14:25-33 — those who consider following after Him ought to count the cost.
Walking an unbeliever down the “Ephesians Road” may take longer, but such changes in our approach to unchurched people will give them the opportunity to make an informed decision about Jesus Christ.
Challenge: Read the book of Ephesians in the New Living Translation (online | print copy) this week. Consider how you might use it as you explain the Christian faith to others. (Note, I’ve found NLT to be the best major translation for beginner believers, a great tool for sharing your faith or teaching basic discipleship to people).