Scattering Gospel Seeds: Moments and Conversations
With Franklin Graham coming to our area, and efforts underway for
Saturate Spokane, many hearts are turned towards evangelism. And
considering the spiritual condition of our city, the need is great.
The challenge, however, in that not everyone will attend Decision
America. Not everyone will receive a video, and not everyone who
receives one will watch it. As wonderful as such strategies can be,
they can only accomplish so much. Which is why this new article by
Cas Monaco and Dr. Gary Runn, originally published by Send
Institute, is so exciting. It builds on the research Cru has been
conducting, giving practical real-life and simple ways to engage the
people in your life who are willing and ready to engage in spiritual
In a recent article entitled “Cru Research Reveals Insights for
Gospel Conversations” I noted that over half of the 400 respondents
claimed no religious affiliation, and described Christianity as
either offensive, inauthentic, unsafe, or simply irrelevant.
The research also revealed some very good news: of the 400 surveyed,
84% are ready and willing to engage in spiritual conversations.
Conversely, many do not believe Christians are ready or willing to
participate in a conversation with someone with a different point of
This research, coupled with our own experiences, underscored the
challenge of initiating gospel conversations in light of the current
milieu. As we pored over the research the following five behaviors
began to emerge as viable starting points for gospel conversations.
Together, these behaviors help to form a posture of genuine humility
toward and interest in the other person.
Five Necessary Behaviors Emerged as Starting Points for Gospel
• Be present and listen—Follow the conversation and not your
• Find common ground—Build a relational bridge
• Walk in their shoes—Understand their story
• Talk like a real person—Use words meant for real people and not
• Create a better story than the one they’ve heard
While many of us want to share the gospel, we are hesitant—even
afraid—to engage in gospel conversations. And yet, life’s
challenges, the stress and tension in our culture today provide
ongoing opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Furthermore, the
grand narrative of Scripture reminds us, time and again, that God
created human beings in his image—imago Dei—hard-wired for a
relationship with him. He often uses the sufferings of life to
uncover these deeper needs. Not surprisingly then, our research
unveiled three core longings, longings woven into the fabric of
• Peace—the absence of anxiety
• Prosperity—the longing for stability
• Purpose—the deep desire for meaning
These three longings were apparent in Emma’s life, a college student
Cas talked with on a recent flight. Emma had given up on God because
he allowed her aunt to die, so she walked away from Christianity and
began searching for meaning in New Age spiritualism. Cas opened up
about her mom’s untimely death and some of the ways Jesus carried
her through, answered prayer, and offered her and her mom eternal
hope. The conversation was personal and rich.
By cultivating an awareness of these core longings, numerous
pathways for gospel engagement will open up. The following offers
three simple ways to intentionally bolster gospel conversations:
1. Cultivate your relational network
We tend to think of our relational network consisting of about 8–10
people–-a few close neighbors and maybe some work colleagues, but
according to sociologists, we interact with about 100–150 people
regularly. Consider all of the people with whom you interact on a
regular basis–-people in your yoga class, the woman at the dry
cleaner, your mechanic, or the barista at your favorite coffee shop.
In other words, who do you see regularly?
While these people will certainly fall along a relationship
continuum, they are part of our lives for a reason. God has placed
all of us in our own unique network. We simply need to ask God to
open your eyes to see what he sees. Try it! Write down the first 25-
50 names (or occupations) that come to mind. Begin praying for each
person on your list. Consider this a first step toward meaningful
2. Initiate the power of sometime
A number of years ago, after extensive research surrounding the
topic of gospel conversations, Cru’s campus ministry developed a
small-group guide entitled: SomeTime. This approach encourages
friends to ask, “I’d like to hear more about your spiritual journey
sometime—would you be willing to share?” Most people eagerly accept
this invitation, and as we follow the conversation, and build a
relational bridge, and take the time to walk in their shoes they
will more readily listen as we create a better story.
Think of someone in your relational network and tap into the power
3. Demonstrate and declare -God is relevant
In addition, research revealed that people today question the
relevance of Christianity and God. If they think about God at all,
they wonder, “How does he make a difference in my life?” As
believers in Jesus Christ, we actually have countless opportunities
to declare and demonstrate the relevance of knowing Jesus.
Undoubtedly this requires transparency on our part, a willingness to
open up and talk about the reality of God’s presence and work in our
A simple way to prepare for these moments is to create a “three-
statement” story. Notably, this is not a three-minute testimony
about how you came to know Christ in the past, but a three-statement
story describing ways in which God is relevant in your life right
• First, where do you experience anxiety, long for stability, or
struggle to find meaning in your life?
• Second, how does Jesus meet, encourage, or give you peace?
• Third, explain how walking with Jesus gives you a sense of hope
for the future.
Here is an example of Gary’s three-statement story:
• “We have had several anxious days trying to help my in-laws
through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey—they lost everything.”
• “But recently, as I was reading the Bible, God reminded me that he
is in control of all things and is a God of peace.”
• “This actually gave me a great sense of comfort and hope that we
can keep moving ahead in helping them recover and resettle.”
Our research essentially confirms the truth of Scripture. People all
over the globe are in search of peace and safety, Jesus promises the
kind of peace that surpasses comprehension. Anxiety and fear abound
for all sorts of reasons, Jesus acknowledges the reality of
tribulation and declares victory. People everywhere search for love
and relationship, Jesus waits with open arms. “For God so loved the
world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
him will not perish but will have eternal life” (John 3:16).
These uncertain times are no surprise to God. He continues to
provide countless opportunities to tell the True Story of the Whole
World with fresh vigor. His story gives meaning to all the little
stories, including yours and mine and theirs.