I was recently attended a seminar on church planting and the speaker was talking about evangelism. He said: “lead with the driver.” He was using golf analogy in which the gospel was compared to the driver. He was contrasting that with other approaches to evangelism where relationship is the driver and we make the gospel the putter. In that approach, the relationship is the big gun… the heavy hitter.
The point he was making was that the gospel is the power of God for salvation… not our relationships so why not lead with with the gospel. Our relationships don’t get people to heaven, the gospel does. He was not suggesting that relationship is unimportant or that you should never seek a relationship with lost people. He was simply saying that we have to trust the gospel as the power of Christ for salvation…. so why not lead with it.
It is not possible to second guess which person is ready to respond positively so why not start with the gospel and find out. There is a temptation to read body language or figure out the mental state of a person we are evangelizing and move slowly because we assume they are not ready but who would have thought that Saul was ready? Who would have ever guessed he would respond positively to the gospel. Paul was certainly not seeking friendships with Christians… he was killing them. Yet within minutes of getting knocked off his horse, he was a new creation in Christ.
There is no way to second guess who might be the next Apostle Paul. Lead with the driver.
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