But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 This could stand as the theme verse for the ‘2WordStory’ strategy of the EACH outreach. Through all the prayer and the ‘2WordStory’ signs and gear we hope to create an environment where people will be asking us for ‘the reason for the hope we have’, and we will be prepared to share our story of God’s loving action in our lives – with gentleness and respect. Someone has rightly said that the goal of telling our story isn’t really to get information to folks but to build a bridge so that they might tell us their story. After all, they don’t so much need to know about how God saved us, as about how he wants to come into their life to save.
So, let’s get prepared (or brush up) on how to share our story in a way that just might get us into those sorts of conversations with folks. Many of us have worked on this before, but unless we are regularly using the skill, we are probably a bit rusty.
First, I urge you to develop 3 different versions!
- A 30 second version – that is really short! Think of it as a trailer for the movie, just enough to give people the idea and be a teaser for more. You can probably slip this into normal conversion without having to ask whether they want to hear your story first. Useful for brief encounters. Write it out and practice it until it is natural.
- 2 to 3 Minute version – this is what you may be used to. You get to put in more information, but still not your whole life story! You will have to work to focus it down to just 3 minutes. Even at this length you should probably expect to ask folks ‘would you like to hear my story’ before you launch into it. It would be good to write out and practice this, too.
- 30 minute version – now we are talking about sitting down over lunch or coffee. Obviously this is for the occasion when people really want to hear more. Even in this case it is good to think beforehand about what to include and what to leave for some other time. You don’t want to bury people with information but to tailor your story to highlight what God has done and to address issues and questions they may have.
Secondly what should you include? The basic outline should be: Before, How, After.·
I think that this quote gets at a very important point about where our emphasis should be as we think about dividing time between these three topics.
Lastly, some practical pointers. These really apply to most situations where we are speaking with who are not yet Christians.
Start praying and thinking, and maybe even writing, now so that you will be ready for the start of the EACH outreach on Easter, and for the rest of your life as a witness! It really helps to do this with others so take some time in your family or small group to work on telling your story in a compelling way so that you are ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’.
May we be part of Everyone getting a Chance to Hear in SE Michigan!