Once you’ve scheduled your gospel appointment with someone, here’s how to prepare for the conversation.
In part one and part two we discussed the importance of a gospel appointment and how to set one up. Gospel appointments are the single most effective means of creating relational and intentional evangelistic opportunities. Since using gospel appointments as a main means for evangelizing, we have seen a large increase in people coming to Christ.
Once you’ve realized the importance, you then have to get it set up. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Be human. Talk to them. Relate to them and to your spiritual life. Then ask.
Once you’ve got the meeting set in place, you still have some work to do to prepare for the meeting. Yes, it’s hanging out, establishing a friendship. But it is also one of the most important moments of their lives, possibly life changing. So treat as such and prepare.
Here are a few tips for getting ready for the meeting:
1. Pray like crazy.
Fast or set aside time specifically to pray for your friend. Recruit people from your group to pray for you before and during your meeting. When I am meeting with someone, I text a prayer team of over 70 people to pray for me. Pray! Pray! Pray!
2. Confirm the meeting time and location.
Phone call or text is fine, but I prefer texts because they are more casual.
3. Bring materials.
Bring whatever you need to thoroughly present the Gospel—pen, paper, Bible, lessons. And bring an extra Bible they can use in case they don’t bring one.
4. Build a relationship foundation.
Start by talking casually and connecting with them. But quickly transition into deeper things such as family and upbringing. Then walk through their story, your story and God’s story.
• Their Story—Ask them to share their story about their experience with spiritual things as soon as possible. Just say something like “So what’s your background when it comes to spiritual things?” Most people have something to share.
• Your Story—Share a brief testimony. Practice a one-minute version.
• God’s Story—Introduce your gospel presentation. “[There are] Bible lessons that teach the basics about having a relationship with God. Do you mind if I show you one?” (See example here.) or “I have this illustration that explains the big story of God…” are great ways to transition into the meat of the matter.
5. Simply read the gospel lesson with them.
Make sure to sit so you both can comfortably see it. You don’t need to add a lot to it. The lesson should speak for itself. Guides like this are essential to equipping anyone for gospel appointments. If you can read, then you can lead people to Christ.
6. Give a clear invitation to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
Your lesson should have a sinner’s prayer available. After presenting the Gospel, explain what the prayer is. Then ask them to read it to themselves and consider if it speaks to their heart. Give them time to read it and think about it. Then ask “Would you like to commit your life to Christ right now?”
7. Seek out barriers.
If they say no, respectfully ask what is keeping them from making this commitment? Don’t be pushy or try and force a decision. Simply cultivate a relationship. Then ask if they would like to do an investigative study through the Gospel of John.
8. Lead them to Christ.
If they say yes to Christ, show your excitement and lead them to pray the lesson’s prayer or have them pray in their own words. Tell them to feel free to make it their own. They aren’t magic words. It’s the condition of their heart that matters. I open prayer by thanking God for our time, and then ask them to pray to God.
9. Follow up.
Ensure them this is the most important decision of their lives. Celebrate and set up a follow up meeting! Let them know how much you’ve enjoyed meeting with them, and ask when you can meet again. Mention other topics you can talk about in future meetings.
9. Thank and praise God for what he is doing.
It is his grace, his Spirit. Give him the credit he deserves.
Sharing the gospel should be simple, and it can be. Gospel appointments are not a one-time event make-or-break. They are a tool that helps initiate a long term relationship with the person. If you boldly and relationally share Jesus, you will lead many students to Christ and see them plugged into your ministry.
If you have any questions or need help training your students and staff for gospel appointments, shoot me an email at [email protected].
Here are some resources to help you incorporate gospel appointments into your ministry:
What struggles with relational or intentional evangelism have you had in the past?
What benefit could this method have on your ministry if you intentionally trained students and staff to use it?
Paul Worcester is founder and director of Christian Challenge at Chico State University in Chico, California. He is also the author of the free eBook Tips for Starting A College Ministry. This article originally appeared on Campus Ministry Today.