AUTHOR: Bill Hybels
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006, (224 pages).
Beginning with a look at how Jesus ministers to the people then, Hybels notices the apparent natural and non-manipulative ways of Jesus. Jesus was able to strike up normal conversations with people from all walks of life. After going through some of the 'evangelistic fads' over the past few years, Hybels opts for the need to live in the Spirit, and to move in the Spirit in our evangelism. He offers the 3-D model:
- Develop Friendships;
- Discover Stories;
- Discerning next steps.
It is important to be able to tell our own story first. After opening up a conversation, Hybels gives four criticisms of how some good stories can go bad. Some Christians tend to be long-winded that they lose their audience. Secondly, they are too fuzzy in their messaging that listeners lose the point. Thirdly, some Christians use too many 'Christian' language that non-believers find hard to understand. Fourthly, some Christians come across as arrogant in their sharing. Hybels suggests the following:
- Keep it brief: Brevity
- Keep it clear: Clarity
- Keep it simple: Simplicity
- Keep it humble: Humility.
I like the three illustrations he gives about why people come to Christ.
- Bridge Illustration: Jesus is the bridge to link people to God
- Do vs Done: We are saved by grace, and need to simply trust God's work already 'done' on the Cross.
- Morality Ladder: Why try to bridge the gap on our own good works?
In learning how Jesus evangelizes, Hybels learns several lessons. Firstly, see how Jesus is able to bridge the gap between God and the hearers. Secondly, notice how Jesus asks questions out of ordinary circumstances. Thirdly, see how Jesus is patient with the Samaritan woman. Fourthly, learn from Jesus how he manages to stay on track, and not be easily distracted by the words of people. Finally, see how Jesus gives hope to the hopeless. The way Hybels highlights Greg Ferguson's song, the 'Peacemaker' is brilliant.
This book can be used in small groups because every chapter ends with a set of discussion questions. It can also be used as an idea generator for evangelistic training. It deserves to be one of those books on any Church's library, especially the outreach section.
I highly recommend the book for its simplicity, wisdom, and very practical steps to practice walking our faith and sharing the gospel.