This blog post is in a series of posts designed to help Christians develop a proper heart posture, lifestyle, and method for evangelism. This particular post is about “Bridges to the Gospel”—conversational questions you can use to steer a conversation toward the Gospel.
A Gospel Conversation
As we get missionally involved in the lives of unbelievers and “our 3”, we are seeking their conversion and aiming to personally share the Gospel with them. There are many ways and methods of sharing the Gospel; what will follow in the next few posts is a casual, conversation-based method of evangelism. It will (hopefully) teach you a reproducible, conversation-based way of sharing the Gospel with no need of visuals or (if you memorize a few verses) even a Bible in hand. It’s perfect for an initial Gospel conversation with one of your three, or a Gospel conversation with a providential stranger (someone on an airplane, coffee shop, etc.). In the following posts we’ll learn three basic steps to have one of these Gospel conversations. What follows is step 1: A “Bridge” to the Gospel.
A Bridge to the Gospel
A bridge to the Gospel is a simple, thought-provoking question or statement that turns a conversation in a spiritual direction. If you’re hoping to have a Gospel conversation with someone, you want to begin to move the conversation toward the significant (away from the weather, sports, hobbies, etc., towards family, relationships, and how life is going) and eventually use one of the below “bridges” to the Gospel, or something like them.
There are two purposes of a bridge to the Gospel. First, it attempts to transition the conversation to spiritual matters. Second, it gives the person you’re talking with a chance to talk about what they believe and what they’ve experienced, as a disarming act of love and so that you get an idea of where they are spiritually so you can most effectively share with them. For that second purpose, ask follow up questions if necessary until you have a decent grasp on where they are generally in their spirituality or lack thereof.
The following are different categories, with examples, of bridges to the Gospel. I’ve learned this and borrowed most of these from Timothy Beougher, a professor of evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, but I’ve altered and added a few questions as well.
Particular Bridges to the Gospel
“Are you a religious or spiritual person? How so?”
“Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Why or why not?”
"What is your current level of interest in spiritual things?"
"Where are you in your own personal search for meaning and purpose in life? How has that gone for you?"
"Did you grow up going to church?”
"Do they talk about Heaven much in your church?"
"What does your church teach about the way a person becomes a Christian?"
"Is there a specific question or concern that is hanging you up in your spiritual journey?"
"In your personal opinion, what is a Christian?"
"What do you think of ____?" (God, Jesus Christ, religion, the Bible, meaning of life, etc.)
"Did you know that (name of well-known athlete) is a Christian?"
"I haven’t gone through what you’re going through, but I’ve walked through __________. I don’t know where you are spiritually, but honestly I don’t think I would have made it without my relationship with Jesus. I’d be happy to share with you how He’s helped me.”
"Is there something I could pray about for you?"
"Bill, we've been friends for a while now. We have talked together about so many things, yet there is a very important part of my life I have never shared with you. Could I share with you about my spiritual journey?”
About These Questions
What “Bridge” you use depends almost entirely on context. Generally, I’ve found that the personal experience/opinion questions are generally most effective (especially with the “providential stranger”) because they are disarming and because, quite frankly, people love to talk about themselves. The church-type questions work well in our context because many Charlestonians, wherever they are now, have had some experience with church. The relationship, felt needs, and prayer bridges can be very effective for conversations you may have with non-Christians with whom you have a long-standing relationship.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment to ask one of these questions—always err on the side of boldness. You’ll be shocked how many non-Christians in your life are open to you starting a Gospel conversation. See a future post for the next step!