The Gospel, the “Good News”, is a story. It is the greatest story in history that changed the world. The Gospel story is not about religious institutions, church programs or rules and regulations. The gospel is a story about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The whole narrative of scripture climaxes at the empty tomb where the gift of life is extended to every person on earth. The story doesn’t end at the empty tomb, it continues with disciples who make disciples focused on the good news sharing the good news. The story that God is telling involves everyday people finding Jesus in the everyday stuff of life.
In short, the Gospel is simple yet very complex. When it comes to connecting our story with God’s story, we must start with three main elements found in every story created.
These three plot lines are founded in scripture, seen in Jesus’s life, and expanded to believers and non-believers alike. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have been through, you have these three elements in your story.
Knowing these three things in our story will help us share the Good News to those around us that do not yet know the saving Grace of Jesus.
Everybody has an origin story.
Where did you come from? How were you raised? We all have a story of how we have become who we are today. For Christians, we believe that God is the author of our creation story. For many non-believers, they may have many different beliefs about their creation story. The point is, they have one. We are not trying to convince them that we are right; we simply want to hear how our creation story connects with their creation story. In these connections we build bridges of trust and find common ground. Connections like, “My parents divorced when I was a kid too,” or “My dad coached my little league baseball team too.” These connections build relationships.
Most people believe that the world is not as it should be.
As believers, when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord, they were punished. At that moment in time, the world was no longer as it should be. Something is wrong. For believers we hold to this story and know this was the reason for separation between man and God. This is why the world is not as it should be and ultimately why God sent Jesus to restore our relationship back to the Father.
For non-believers, they may not believe Adam and Eve, but most would agree that the world is not as it should be. Most of them will probably give you a reason to what is wrong with the world. For some, it might be the political system and for others, it may be more benign. No matter what they think the reason, we can connect our story to their story. We can find empathy with why they think the world is not as it should be. This gives more opportunities to build connections.
Everyone understands love in some capacity.
Love is the most powerful currency our world knows and sees. Because God loved us, He sent Jesus to reconnect our relationship with Him. While we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins. In the middle of this love, we know that God is Love. It is an element of the story that we see throughout scripture. It’s a characteristic displayed openly by our Father in heaven.
Love is a powerful story. We all have many stories of love. It is fundamental to relationships. To connect with every person, we come in contact with, we simply offer Love. To build trust connections with those who do not believe, the best things we can offer is love. We must find connections between our love story and theirs. While we may disagree on some ways in which love is expressed, love is love and we know it and can connect with anyone using it.
The Gospel summed up is a story of Creation, Fall and Love. This story is our story. This story is our neighbors’ story. How we leverage these elements are important to how we share the Good News to the world around us.
Questions to Consider
Finally, here are some questions to ask yourself and help you think about the not–yet–believers around you. The key is to keep asking questions about their story and build trust. The Holy Spirit will lead them to the Good News; we just have to be ready to share it when he does.
- What is my origin story?
- If they were to make a movie about my origin story, who would be the actor/actress?
- Why do I believe that the world is not as it should be?
- What are some outside factors to why the world is not as it should be?
- Define love in once sentence.
- What are some ways love is abused?
- Whose story do I need to stop and listen to?
Most of this content is found in “Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life” by Jeff Vanderstelt