Prestonsburg—A perfect opportunity to share the gospel with the lost will rarely present itself, Timothy Beougher, associate dean and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, shared during the Kentucky Baptist Convention's REFOCUS evangelism equipping event.
Therefore, "we need to seize good opportunities," Beougher urged at the event that was held in six different locations across the commonwealth.
Training was broken into two sections: 1) Preparing for gospel conversations and 2) Pursuing gospel conversations.
To "prepare for gospel conversations," one must prepare his or her heart and eyes, Beougher said. He suggested preparing in the following ways:
Devote yourself to prayer
Devote yourself to Christ
Pray for compassion
ray for open doors
Pray for open hearts
Pray for spiritual sensitivity
One's eyes can be prepared by cultivating relationships. He shared a chart that showed various "concentric circles" of relationships, including self, immediate family, relatives, close friends, neighbors, business associates, acquaintances, and person X.
"Lift up your eyes to see who is in your circle of influence," Beougher urged.
Beougher recounted the countless times he's heard people say they don't know how to share the gospel.
"What people are saying when they say they don't know how to witness is that they don't know how to start (gospel conversations)," he responded. "If we're to have spiritual conversations, we have to start them."
Beougher presented his method for sharing the gospel, which includes exploring, stimulating and sharing.
His "toolbox" for building bridges to the gospel from secular subjects include 13 topics. Church, personal experience or opinion, current issues or sports, and prayer or relationships are some of his "go-to" methods.
But, he added, "Don't get hung up in arguing about method. If there's a method of evangelism you don't like, don't use it. Don't spend all your time and energy criticizing it and criticizing people who use it.
"Find one that will work for you and use it," he concluded.
Organized to accommodate church leaders of all types, including bi-vocational pastors, the goal of the gospel conversation themed conference was to "encourage, inspire and equip pastors, church staff, church planters and directors of misisons to be more intentional in personal evangelism, as well as in leading the church to be evangelistic," said Todd Gray, evangelism and church planting team leader with the KBC.
Two more REFOCUS conferences are scheduled for 2018 covering the topics of evangelistic Vacation Bible School and evangelistic preaching and gospel invitation. (WR)