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5 Elements for Creating an Evangelism Ethos

3. Models

The best way to learn to share Christ is by watching someone else. That’s how I learned!

I watched my dad and other believers share the gospel. A book cannot in itself be a “model,” but Hybels both offers stories to encourage us and pushes us to learn from other Christians.

4. An Ability to Share Your Story Concisely (115–131)

Entrepreneurs have what they call an “elevator speech” for their product: Even though they could talk for hours and hours about it, they force themselves to condense things down to a 45-second summary.

We should have an “elevator speech” for our story too: 100 words or less that explain how Christ met our “felt” needs, which sets us up for a sharing of the actual gospel. (NOTE: Your story of how Christ met your felt needs is NOT the actual gospel, just an intro to it.)

5. An Ability to Share the “Actual” Gospel Concisely (133–140)

Just as we need to have a polished “elevator speech” of our story, we should be able to express the gospel in 100 words or less too. Far from making our presentation insincere, this helps us to appreciate the gospel in fresh ways.

Hybels mentions some classic presentations that I’ve seen and used: the bridge illustration (Jesus bridges the gap between us and God) and the do/done dichotomy (religions are all about doing; the gospel is all about what Christ has done.).

Hybels does not do, in my opinion, a great job of helping you understand gospel doctrine in this book. He is superb at equipping you for evangelism that engages hearers on the plain of their felt needs, but less helpful at equipping you to share as a “gospel-prophet” commissioned to warn others of impending judgment and preaching salvation in Christ. Both are necessary dimensions to being an effective evangelist, which is why I’d encourage you to read Dever’s The Gospel and Personal Evangelism along with this one.  

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.