I can’t believe I have to say this(pun intended), but if you are going to truly share the Gospel with someone you are going to have eventually speak the truth of sin and God’s love and sacrifice for our sin with someone who is lost.
Many Christians have forgotten this. While this fact is a problem there is a diagnosable cause and therefore a solution.
A while back it became very clear that Christianity had an image problem. For many reasons, we were seen as judgmental and too focused on people getting saved among other things. I will not go into full detail but if you are interested in this I suggest reading the book unChristian. It is a fascinating research study on the topic. But I will say that one of the driving forces behind these feelings was people who thought the best way to reach lost people was to treat them as marks and do a lot of yelling. To counter these terms like relational evangelism and showing your faith came to prominence. These things are great as they are focused more on the Biblical principles of loving people and the example of Jesus who would show people love and they would be drawn to the fact there was something different about Him. But this shift brought up another problem. Christians loving people to Hell.
Okay, I do not know how widespread the usage of this term, where it originated from, or if it had a different original meeting. But we used it and I will tell you what it meant to us. This was people who would use the terms relational evangelism or showing people Jesus as a copout so they did not actually have to share the Gospel. Whether they were scared of offending someone, or just plain scared, they would never actually share the truth of who Jesus was, what he had done for them, and what He could do for the person they had developed the relationship with. So while they were being loving, they never actually shared true love by sharing the Gospel with someone.
This is true for a lot of people, and it may not be their fault. There is always the possibility that along the way we accidentally shared a message of setting an example, building relationships, but failing to share the truth, even it might have been unintentional.
But if we know what the major problem is then we can come up with a solution. I believe the solution might be to plant in our hearts and minds, and the hearts and minds of our students and leaders, two challenges.
Challenge #1: Do Not Miss The Moment
If you are building relationships with someone and living like Jesus then your end goal is that at some point they are going to ask, “What is different about you?” It may be subtle and not exactly worded like you thought it would be. Regardless, you have to be prepared to speak the truth when the moment comes no matter what is going on in your heart and mind and what fears you have. Because as I said in a previous post, fear does not come from God. One mistake I see people making here is not necessarily being silent but instead taking credit. I know I am guilty of this. I can remember when I was in my 20’s teens would assume I went out all the time to the club. I did not because God changed my life and I wanted to honor Him. But instead of pointing towards Him I would leave God out of the story and talk about lessons I learned or financial reasons. Do not make the same mistake. Remember that your story does not exist without God, and what He did for you through His son Jesus. So make sure to focus on the main character.
Challenge #2: Do Not Be Afraid To Create The Moment
Sometimes the moment you are waiting for will never come. This because you are actually planting seeds because at some point the Holy Spirit is going to lead you to create the moment. It could be when someone finally opens up about their hurt and struggles. It could be when they talk about a sin in a bragging fashion. It could be something different altogether. But the most important thing is that you need to realize more than likely when it comes to sharing the Gospel, God is going to open the door and you are going to have to step up and start the conversation. One of the biggest lessons I learned that helped me was realizing that we all have a hole in our lives that only God can fill through that relationship we get when we believe and trust in what He did for us through His Son Jesus on the cross. But just as important this hole is not the same for all. Sometimes this hole is a broken relationship that finally makes someone realize this world cannot satisfy them. Sometimes it is an addiction and someone has tried everything else. Sometimes it is struggling to find purpose and meaning in life. Whatever it is, being sensitive to what others are really saying, and how God can fill the hole in their lives will help you, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to see and seize the moment.
Yes, build relationships. Yes, live like Jesus. But do not miss the life-changing opportunity someone has been waiting for and fail to speak the truth.