The BIG IDEA
Bringing up the good news of Jesus Christ is the third “sound barrier” to break when seeking to have an impact for Christ in a person’s life.
It feels safer to talk about spiritual things in general than it does to talk specifically with someone about what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Trust God for the power to bring up the gospel with people, knowing that it has the power to give them forgiveness of sin and eternal life with God.
Why THIS MATTERS
The gospel is the power of God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). There is more to talking about God than just inviting people to church or a Christian meeting. We have the awesome opportunity to help people experience his love and forgiveness as we take steps of faith to talk about the gospel.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: It’s worth taking the step of faith to bring up the gospel in conversations because of the impact it can have in a person’s life.
- EXPERIENCE: Excitement about the opportunity to talk about the gospel with people; conviction that it’s a key step of faith to take.
- DO: By taking steps of faith in the power of the Spirit to talk about the gospel with people.
Note to Leaders: Because of our use of technology and the way many people relate to others, it can be hard for students to have a conversation in person with someone they don’t know very well. Sometimes it is even hard for students to talk with their friends. These four lessons in the Sound Barriers series will give students a chance to develop and practice their skills which will hopefully lead them into talking to others about their faith in Jesus Christ.
There are four sound barriers that can make it hard to talk with people about Jesus:
- BREAKING THE ICE – starting conversations with people
- GOING DEEPER – talking about spiritual things with people
- SHARING GOOD NEWS – bringing up Jesus in conversations
- DECISION TIME – helping someone say “Yes” to Jesus
Today we are talking about how to bring up the subject of Jesus in a conversation.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
One day Jon asked Ivan about his religious background. It was a lot easier than he thought! Ivan told Jon his mother took him to church once in a while as he was growing up. But that was about it. Yet Ivan seemed interested in spiritual things and asked Jon questions about what he believes. Jon thinks it would be a good idea to talk to Ivan about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, but he wonders how to do that. What would you tell him?
Help them think through ideas of how they could relate to Ivan if they were Jon. They might say things like; sharing their personal story; answering questions about the Bible; taking him to church or telling him about Cru. We hope this study will take the students even further by sharing actual steps in how to know Christ personally.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
This lesson talks about the word gospel and how it connects to having a conversation with those we meet. THE GOSPEL MEANS THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST AND HOW TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. In the story about Jon and Ivan, Jon talked about a relationship with Jesus, which is a big part of the story of the gospel. The following four passages give us insight into the meaning of the word even though they do not use the actual word “gospel.”
1. What can we learn about the gospel from these four passages?
- Why is it important to bring it up with someone when you have the chance?
John 1:12 tells us that those who believe in Jesus and receive him into their lives become his children.
John 3:16 explains that it is because of God’s love for us, shown by giving his son to die for our sins, that we are able to have life forever with him in heaven.
John 14:6 makes it clear that Jesus is the only way to God.
Romans 5:8 reminds us that Christ died for us even before we could get our life cleaned up.
When we talk about the word gospel in the Bible, it means the good news of Jesus Christ and how to have a relationship with him. To have this knowledge and keep it from others we care about would be like not telling a sick friend about the cure for his illness.
2. One issue that comes up when talking about the gospel is the problem of sin. How would you define sin, and what does it have to do with a conversation you might have with someone about the gospel?
Sin is anything that is contrary to or against the will of God. We all have a natural tendency to sin which Romans 3:10 explains. It is this problem of sin that keeps us from having a relationship with God. This is a key point to talk about when we are in conversations with others about our faith. If we didn’t all have to deal with our sin, we wouldn’t need Jesus.
3. What is the answer to this problem of sin according to the passage we read in Romans 5:8?
It was an act of great love for God to send his son Jesus to take the punishment for our sin instead of us paying for it ourselves. God’s provision of Jesus Christ to forgive our sin is what makes the gospel the good news. This is the story Jon hopes to explain to Ivan.
4. Sometimes when we share the gospel we talk about four main things we want people to know. These four symbols each represent one of those points. What do you think they each stand for?
Leaders, have your students try to figure out the meaning of the four symbols. If they need help, use the notes below.
- God loves you and created you to know him personally (John 3:16).
- People are sinful and separated from God (Romans 3:23).
- Jesus Christ died in our place so we could know God and live with him forever (Romans 5:8).
- We each need to choose whether we will personally receive Jesus Christ by faith as our savior and lord (John 1:12).
5. Sometimes when we think about sharing the gospel with someone we get worried or scared about doing it right or getting the person to understand. What is our part and what is God’s part when we are in a conversation with someone like Ivan?
Our responsibility is to pray for the person we want to talk with and make sure we are filled with the Holy Spirit, while giving a clear presentation of how to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s part is giving the person the desire to know him and the understanding to make that decision.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
6. How is bringing Jesus up in the conversation like plugging in an electrical device?
Jesus is the one that will bring real power to their lives. He can forgive their sins and change their hearts. You could talk all day about “spiritual things” and never change anything. Just like you could play your Xbox all day with no power and nothing would change. Bringing up Jesus is like plugging it in.
7. Who in your life would benefit from you bringing up the gospel with them?
Give them a minute to think about it and then direct them to the people they have already mentioned in the first two studies in this series. You can also help them think about possible friends, family members, classmates, teammates, and co-workers.
8. What are some questions you could ask to go from a general discussion about spiritual matters to a specific discussion about the gospel? If nothing comes to mind there is a “cheat sheet” at the end of this lesson, but first try to come up with some of your own.
Encourage brainstorming as a group and then refer to the ideas at the end of the lesson. Also a good way to be more specific is to share your own personal story of how you put your faith in Jesus Christ.
Show your students a copy of the “Connecting with God” or “Knowing God Personally” booklet, or find a copy in the God Tools App. One benefit of tools like these is that they focus attention on the basics of the gospel. Suggest they carry copies of one of the booklets in their backpack or have the app downloaded to be prepared for a conversation.
If they have a phone, try downloading the God Tools App, find a good tool, and then practice using it with a partner.
9. When would be a good time to discuss the gospel with the person you identified in Question 6 and what would you be most comfortable using to explain it?
Students in your group may respond generally (as soon as possible) or specifically (Friday after the football game) to this question. Either way, encourage them to take this step of faith as soon as possible. We never know how long a person will be in our school, in our city, or even on this earth, so it is the greatest act of kindness to share it. This is a good time to pray about their fears and for the openness of the person they want to talk to.
CONVERSATION CHEAT SHEET
It can be hard to know how to break through these four sound barriers when you’re talking to people. Below, we have some ideas for how you can move through them so that you can have better spiritual conversations. Use these, come up with your own, or brainstorm other ideas with a friend. Just keep the conversations moving toward Christ.
STARTING A CONVERSATION
(Ideas for going from no conversation to a conversation)
- Hi, I’m_____are you new here? I don’t think I’ve seen you around.
- Did you see the game/Super Bowl/Olympics/March Madness/World Series/etc last night? Who did you want to win?
- What kind of music are you into?
- Do you want to sit with us at lunch? I noticed you have a new schedule.
- Hey, I saw your t-shirt. Are you a ______ fan?
(Ideas for going from a conversation into a spiritual conversation)
- Is your family religious? Do you believe the same way they do?
- Do you ever think about God or want to know more about Him?
- Do you go to church (or temple or mosque) anywhere?
- If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?
- Have you heard of Cru? It’s a group of students who get together and talk about how God relates to their lives. Would you be interested in checking it out sometime?
BRINGING UP JESUS
(Ideas for going from a spiritual conversation into a conversation about Jesus and the Gospel)
- From what you know about Jesus, who do you think he was?
- Using a scale from 1–10, how sure are you that you will go to heaven when you die?
- Can I show you a few things that have helped me have a relationship with God?
- Jesus has made a big impact on my life. Can I tell you about it?
- In Cru I’ve been learning about how to have a relationship with God. Can I tell you what I’ve learned?
If someone wants to receive Christ with you, you could lead them through a prayer like this…
“Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.”
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN HAVING CONVERSATIONS
- Take the first step.
- Talk about the other person, show an interest and be encouraging.
- Listen carefully, care about them as a person and what they have to say.
- Ask open ended questions (not yes/no).
- Breaking through these sound barriers is awkward. That is why we call them “barriers”. Don’t worry about having all the right words, just push through the awkwardness and start the conversation.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.