This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Article on Sharing the Gospel while sidewalk counseling.
If the tide of abortion is to turn, the world view and spiritual underpinnings of the abortion-minded woman must make a complete turnaround. When a commitment to Jesus as Lord is made, a true change of mindset almost always results.
When I first began sidewalk counseling ministry, I really had no idea how to effectively share the Gospel. Maybe even more terrifying than trying to communicate the Gospel was how to begin that discussion. How could I break the ice to enter a conversation about Jesus, particularly with total strangers? I was clueless. Maybe that is where you find yourself.
What is Holding You Back
First, it is helpful to identify what is impeding the introduction of Jesus to a discussion. Oftentimes it is fear of rejection. Will the person think I am a “Jesus freak” or a “religious nutcase”? Will they laugh at me? Will they beat me up?
Another common reason to refrain from Gospel sharing is feeling incompetent. I don’t know how to share the Gospel. I am not sure I can really give an organized, coherent presentation of the Gospel in a limited time frame. I never share the Gospel…that is my pastor’s job. I am not trained or equipped to tell anyone about the Gospel. I am a spiritual mess…how could I try to lead anyone else anywhere having to do with God?
Sometimes it is feeling intrusive, feeling you have no right to impose your beliefs on others. If God wants to save this person, He will do it. He doesn’t need or want my help. It is wrong to force my faith on someone else. What makes my “truth” any more valid than her “truth?”
Can I Overcome These Issues?
The Bible says “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7). God also tells us “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
We can be confident that when God has sent us as His witnesses in any area of ministry, He is with us and He will enable us. We are not to be consumed by fear, but to be strong, courageous, and confident in what we offer in His name.
He enables us to accomplish all He sends us to do. Just as He reminds Moses that God will put the words Moses needs in his mouth when he confronts Pharaoh, God will also empower us in our task. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) We do not go forth in our own inadequate power, but in the limitless power and strength of God.
We do not need to worry that others will challenge our right to speak or reject our message. We have only One audience whose applause we desire. If God has sent you to speak His truth, the last thing any of us should do is defy the one who holds eternity in His hands.
“I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” John 8:26
So That’s All Great…Now What?
A woman who is at an abortion clinic is at a desperate place in her life. No matter how she feels about pro-life vs. pro-choice, no woman wants to be there. She likely recognizes that the choices she has made have brought her to a desperate place. A good way to start sharing the Gospel is helping her recognize that on her own power, she has not found peace, joy, or contentment.
Asking questions is a great counseling technique.
Are you happy to be here?
Do you feel peace or joy with this decision you are about to make?
What would God have you do?
Have your decisions led you to a good place?
Does it make you glad that your boyfriend is pushing for abortion?
What are your dreams for what you want for your life?
If she is honest, her answers will allow you to ask her if the path she is on is a path she wants to be on. If your personal testimony relates to following a journey without God to a disastrous result, this can be an excellent time to share that. That easily segues into how you found Jesus. If that is not your testimony, you can ask if she knows where she is going when she dies.
If she says, “Heaven,” you can ask why. That can lead to a discussion of a true understanding of what the Lordship of Jesus means. If she says, “Hell,” you can tell her there is a way to be certain that will not be her fate. If she says she is unsure, you can say you know the way to be sure of her eternal destiny.
Some Principles I Have Discovered
I have found, to my surprise, that most of the women I meet at the abortion center are interested in talking about God. I think a key factor in piquing their interest is being confident that what you have to offer is something they desperately need. These women in crisis want an anchor, an assurance that the misery they face does not have to define the rest of their lives.
I have found that being kind, confident, but DIRECT is a good method of starting the conversation. I lay the groundwork through the questions and discussions listed above. After that, a typical approach I might use is as follows.
“It sounds like you have found that you don’t want to be on the path you are on and feel trapped by your circumstances. It doesn’t sound like you have peace or joy, certainly not in this choice for abortion! Also, it sounds like you are concerned about what God thinks of all this, and even of what all this means for your eternal soul. May I share some truths about God that I feel certain will help you?
Very few women say no. If they do, offer to pray with them and share as much of the Gospel as you can in that prayer.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Our next article will give tips on how to effectively share the Gospel. Be assured that if you know the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells you and will guide you in every divine encounter.