The vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow flickered and glowed hypnotically. Suddenly, she turned to her friend and said, “Do you know that God is like a consuming fire?”. Intrigued, her friend admitted she did not and a conversation about the character of God began.
When my friend recounted this story to me, I was so struck by her ability to quickly relate an ordinary bonfire to her friend who did not know Jesus. She shared a truth about God without passing out a gospel tract or using a power-point presentation. Instead, she used something that was right in front of her to draw a connection back to God.
Evangelism is not always sharing an entire gospel presentation. More often, evangelism is connecting pieces of truth to a moment, or just something familiar.
You can find connections all around you! You can find them in creation, pop-culture, or life circumstances. Jesus practiced this often in His ministry on earth and He used these connections to tell stories in the form of parables. Think about the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9) or how Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) — He was drawing on the centrality of agriculture in His time.
I struggle with this type of evangelism. When I start to explain my faith, I get caught up in trying to explain everything from beginning to end. However, I have found that when I feel the need to explain every particular of the Bible, my audience can quickly become confused and lost in the details.
Rather, I would like to strive to focus on one topic at a time. It could be forgiveness, identity in Christ, the characteristics of God — the list is endless, which is why it is so difficult to explain everything at once. Making life or cultural connections can help you stay focused on a specific aspect of the gospel story.
Here is an example of a connection I made recently. I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (who doesn’t?). I especially love Elizabeth’s quote to Mr. Darcy, when she is thanking him for all he has done for her sisters and family. Elizabeth expresses, “Let me thank you again and again… for the general compassion which induced you to take so much trouble and bear so many mortifications…” If you know the context, you know the deep significance of what Darcy has done. In short, he sacrificed his reputation and his place of honor to bless and love Elizabeth. How many mortifications did Christ bear for us? How like Christ this is!
So how can you find these connections? In one of my high school English classes, our teacher made us keep a journal of “connections” we would find in mainstream culture to the classic American literature we read that year. Every month or so, we would have to submit 15-20 “connections”. I challenge you to do this with Biblical truths.
Pray that God would open your eyes to see the connections in the world around you. Listen to popular songs, or watch a popular show. Hike through the woods or read a novel. Decide how many “connections” you will find each month and keep a journal. Then practice relating these truths to your friends through these connections.
Would love for you to share some of the connections you have found by commenting below!