1) The biblical Gospel. The “good news” is that God has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. You have broken God’s law but Christ died on the cross for you. If you repent and trust in Christ alone for your salvation, God will forgive your sin and impute his righteousness to you.
Salvation is the gift of God. We are saved by grace, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christians may use different words (repent, believe, confess), but the bible is clear that you have to repent and put your faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross: not your church or your good works. Then because you are grateful to God, you will serve him and transform your life to become more like the Savior.
2) Compassion for the lost. According to Jesus, most people are going to hell (Matthew 7:13). Unsaved people need the Savior. And faith comes from hearing (Romans 10:17).
3) Willingness to approach strangers. This may be a challenge. But if you are going to share the gospel like Jesus and the apostles, you have to speak to strangers. According to Jon Speed, 83% of the encounters of Jesus and the apostles in the four gospels were with strangers (not friends). If approaching strangers is uncomfortable for you, we provide Ten Ways to Open An Evangelism Encounter with a Complete Stranger.
4) Courage to ask the first spiritual question. If you can ask the first spiritual question, the rest of the conversation is easy. Here is Evangelize Cincinnati’s list of the Top 3 Questions that lead to the savior.
5) Willingness to challenge non-biblical thinking. Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, you must be willing to challenge a person’s thinking about sin, righteousness and Jesus Christ. God may use you to help someone see their need for the Savior. Remember, Jesus challenged the thinking of Nicodemus, the rich young ruler, and the woman at the well. We destroy arguments … against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:8).
We use The “Good Person” Test from Living Waters Ministries to challenge people’s thinking about their righteousness. It includes a review of the 10 Commandments and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, it establishes a person’s need for the Savior.
6) Prayer. When the great evangelist Charles Spurgeon was asked why he was so successful, he responded, “My people pray for me.”
7) Holy Spirit. We don’t save anyone. We know that the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin. And God gives the increase after we plant or water the seed. Praise God that He chooses to work in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
You can be a little uncomfortable … but get good at this. The more you engage the lost, the more your confidence will grow.
Jon Speed, Evangelism in the New Testament (Genesis Group, 2009) 13-15.