Sharing the gospel—telling someone about the free gift of eternal life—is arguably the most important thing you can do. But what if you don’t know how to do it?
There are several tools, such as simple illustrations or standard questions, that people often find helpful to use in explaining the gospel to others.
Starting the Conversation
Sometimes people don’t share the gospel because they don’t know how to begin. They can explain the gospel if it comes up in conversation, but what if it never comes up?
You don’t have to have a smooth segue to share the gospel with someone. God can work through anyone, including those who aren’t expert communicators (Exodus 4:10-12). However, it can be less intimidating and less awkward if it flows naturally out of what you are already talking about.
You can use questions to steer a conversation toward spiritual things, making it easier to then share the gospel with them. For example, if it is around Christmastime or Easter, it is natural enough to ask someone if they are doing anything to celebrate. You can ask them why they do (or don’t) celebrate that way and talk about why the holiday matters to you. Or, if you are having dinner out and are about to pray for your meal, ask your server if there is anything you can pray for them about.
And there’s the ever-popular question, “Do you have a faith?” which gets them talking about their beliefs first rather than seeming to “push” your own beliefs on them. It’s always preferable to get to know people first; it shows that you are interested in them and care about them as individuals. It also allows you to tailor how you share the gospel based on what they believe.
Another way you can use questions as a starting point for sharing the gospel is through what we often call “diagnostic questions” (originally popularized by D. James Kennedy). The two diagnostic questions are:
- “If you were to die today, on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get into heaven?”
- “If God asked you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say?”
If they answer anything other than a 10 on the first question, it means they have doubt about where they will spend eternity. The second question identifies where they are placing their trust—whether they are trusting in Jesus’s work on the cross, or trusting in their own works to be “good enough” for God. You can then share your own answer of how you know you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).
The Romans Road is a way to explain the gospel using just a few Bible verses, all of which are found in the book of Romans. It provides an easy way to remember and share the gospel, because you only have to memorize a few short verses (or just memorize the chapter and verse numbers, and then flip through a couple of pages in your Bible).
The basic version of the Romans Road includes these verses, in order:
- Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That’s the problem everyone faces. That’s the bad news.
- Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The first part of the verse lists the punishment for the sins we’ve committed: death. The second part of the verse starts to get into the good news of the gospel.
- Romans 5:8: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the solution to the problem of sin and death: Christ died in our place, so that if we believe in Him, we don’t have to suffer the eternal wages of sin.
- Romans 10:9: “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is how we are saved, through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His victory over death.
- Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We are no longer condemned; we are pardoned for our sins and set free.
There are additional verses you can include in the Romans Road; you can get a more detailed version (and a video explanation) here.
If you want to start by only memorizing one of those verses, try Romans 6:23. It’s possible to explain the gospel using only that verse: we’ve all sinned, and the wages (what we’ve earned, and what we deserve) from that sin are death. However, we can have eternal life instead of death—not through doing something to earn it, but as a free gift from God through Christ Jesus. You can learn more about one-verse evangelism here.
For the visual learners among us, the Bridge Illustration is a simple drawing (no art skills needed!) that helps explain the gospel in a way similar to (and often in combination with) the Romans Road or one-verse evangelism. We’ve created an animated version of it here that you can learn from or share. Or, watch this to see how you can draw it out by hand.
Probably the easiest and most powerful way to share the gospel is through using your own testimony. You already know your story; there is nothing you have to memorize or learn. It’s also natural, especially if you ask questions and get them talking about their own story first.
Your testimony can be as short or as long as you want, but it should include discussion of your life before Christ, how you came to trust in Christ, and your life now. You can find some written examples in our Watermark News stories, or learn more about what makes a good testimony here.
Remember that it is not your job to convince anyone; that is the Holy Spirit’s job. Your role is just to be faithful to share the good news with them.
Your biggest evangelism “tool,” therefore, is prayer. Pray for opportunities to share, and pray for people to be open to the message. Sometimes your conversation will just plant a seed, giving the other person something to think about. You might not see the results yourself, but they might later come to a decision based on the seed you planted. Pray for the people you have shared the gospel with, that they would respond and put their trust in Jesus.
If you are looking for more opportunities to share the gospel (and get training in how to do so), consider joining our next Unashamed weekend. Also, check out our articles on how to share the gospel with your neighbors and coworkers.