Several years ago I had the opportunity to help with a Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade. Franklin Graham, the son of the world’s best-known evangelist was speaking at an early morning meeting for our town’s Christian businessmen. I was sitting in the front row when he entered and sat down right beside me. He was an experienced public speaker, yet I noticed the coffee cup in his hand shaking. He was just like the rest of us before speaking – a bit nervous! But when he spoke, his message was clear: When given the opportunity to speak to others, listen first and then use the circumstances in their life as a springboard to bring Christ into the conversation. The Best Example As he spoke, I was reminded of the woman at the well and her encounter with the Lord. Beginning with the simple request for a drink of water, Jesus gave us a great example of one-on-one evangelism: He engaged her in conversation (Jn. 4:7-25); she listened to Him when He said He was the Messiah; then she told her friends how much Jesus knew about all the social, marital and spiritual problems in her life (Jn. 4:28-29); as a result “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony” (Jn. 4:39). The good news was spread by her testimony.
Five Points To Follow
But back to Graham’s message. As he spoke, he developed five points to help these businessmen speak more effectively to others about Christ.
1. Listen to the other person and connect the good news of salvation to his or her situation and needs. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:13-14).
2. Don’t complicate the gospel; keep it simple and to the point. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).
3. Don’t let the enemy sidetrack you from your goal with distractions or side issues. “The disciples returned and were surprised to find Him talking with a woman. But no one asked … ‘Why are you talking with her?’” (Jn. 4:27).
4. There are no inappropriate situations for communicating God’s love to lost sinners. “When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt. 9:36).
5. Pray for opportunities and the right words to speak. “He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field’” (Mt. 9:37-38).
A Real Encounter
Recently my friend Richard told me about an opportunity he had to share the gospel with the housekeeper at an inn in Nova Scotia, where he was vacationing. He asked her why she looked so sad, and she told him she had recently lost her wayward son in a terrible auto accident and feared he might not be in heaven. She said that in spite of all his sinful ways he told her that he had been recently born again, but she didn’t know what that meant. This gave him the opportunity to explain what “born again” means, to assure her that her son was in heaven, and to introduce her to Jesus. While he was speaking with her, others staying at the inn gathered to listen to their conversation. When he told me of this encounter, I saw that he had put Franklin Graham’s five points into practice, and enjoyed the results as well.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org