I am an unashamed golfer. I grew up around the game and began playing competitively by age 6. For the longest time, it’s all I ever knew. From the feeling you get when you hit a perfect shot to draining a long putt (or doing something like this), golf has always been my favorite sport. For the longest time, it was my god, so to speak, and God changed that.
However, in the game of golf–just like with any other sport–there is a certain amount of mental strength involved. With golf, I would say, you need the most. Golf is inarguably 90% mental and 10% physical. Yes, you need talent. You must have good coordination. But more than anything, you need to be mentally tough. Having a bad hole shouldn’t bring you to despair; making an eagle shouldn’t make you want to leap over the moon because there are still holes to play.
When a golfer addresses the ball, he or she might have several different thoughts. Make sure my feet are aligned; press my hands forward; keep my eye on the ball; take it straight back and straight through; don’t be too quick. These are all valid swing thoughts to have; however, when you tell them to yourself while you’re about to hit, it makes for a cluttered mind that isn’t focused.
Good golfers only have one thought over the ball.
It doesn’t matter what the thought is, but simply have only one. Even if the thought is “keep your eye on the ball,” that is still a thought. With only one thought, you are more focused and better your chances of hitting a good shot.
The same is true in evangelism.
When we think about evangelism, it’s highly understandable that we get nervous. What will people think about us? What will they say? Will they get angry? Will they get offended? How should I approach them? What should I say?
Like swing thoughts, these are all important questions to ponder — before you get to that point. That is why Christians should study evangelism and the most effective ways to do it.
But having all of those thoughts right before or as you’re having a gospel conversation with somebody is a no-go. It’s not sin, of course; rather, it simply makes for a clustered mind that is not truly focused. You need to have one “evangelism thought” when engaging in these conversations.
And what thought is that?
Share the gospel.
There are many instances when we make the gospel more offensive by our behavior; this is undeniably true, unfortunately. So you should absolutely have in mind the context, among other important things.
But when you approach a conversation with a million things in your head, you will lose focus of the main goal. Yes, make sure you are not coming across like a know-it-all and ensure that you are showing empathy for others. But above all else, obey the Great Commission.
Share the gospel.
Evangelism technique is not one-size-fits-all. Whether you’re simply handing our gospel tracts (which continue to be shown to work) or preaching at the street corner, make sure that people hear the good news of Jesus Christ dying for their sins. As the Apostle Paul says, it is truly the most important thing in this world (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4). No other message compares!
However, I will recommend one way to share the gospel. You may have seen Ray Comfort use this technique thousands of times in the multitude of witnessing encounters he’s had. If you are unsure about how to do it, I suggest watching his videos. He is phenomenal. Not only does he get to the gospel, but also shows his love for other people in the process.
When beginning a gospel conversation, start off with introductions. Introduce yourself and ask about the other person. This is simply etiquette. Don’t get straight into the gospel. Treat them like a person and ask their name, what they do for a living, etc.
But then ask the big questions: “Do you consider yourself a good person?” More likely than not, the person will say yes.
Once he or she answers, ask them if you can test them to see if that profession of goodness is true. This is where you go into four of the Ten Commandments: Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of how small? Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever lusted in your heart?
I could go on and on about how these conversations go, but this is the fast track to create a gospel conversation and eventually getting to the good news of the gospel. Begin with the law–let it expose their sin–and then bring them to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Don’t overthink it. Just share the gospel.
God is glorified in your sharing of His gospel, whether it was done perfectly or not. Your job is not to convert sinners, but merely be a messenger of good news.
So be the messenger and don’t think too much.