How You Can Witness Effectively: The Message

What do people need to know in order to receive Christ?

Bill Bright

What methods will help you communicate effectively?

As I have already indicated, many devout Christians fail miserably in their efforts to introduce others to Christ simply because they do not know how to go about it.

Knowing how often makes the difference between effective and ineffective witnessing. Before you can introduce others to Christ, you must know:

  1. That you are a Christian yourself.
  2. The empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life personally.
  3. How to present the distilled essence of the gospel so that the one with whom you are sharing will be able to make an intelligent decision for Christ as Savior and Lord.

What is the Message About?

For many years in our various evangelism training conferences, we asked those who participated in the training to help us list everything they felt a person should know before he or she could make an intelligent decision for Christ.

Usually 25 to 50 different suggestions were made, all for which were written on the chalkboard. The list usually included the following, along with many others:

  1. God loves us.
  2. People are sinful.
  3. People are lost.
  4. God loved us so much that He gave His Son.
  5. Christ died for our sins.
  6. Christ rose from the dead.
  7. Christ wants to come into every life.
  8. We must repent.
  9. We must be born again.
  10. We must receive Jesus Christ.
  11. To as many as receive Jesus, God gives the right to become His children.
  12. By grace you have been saved, through faith.

After all the suggestions were exhausted, we asked each participant to read with us a gospel presentation called the Four Spiritual Laws and to help us eliminate every point listed on the chalkboard that relates to Law One. These points were then removed from the board. We continued to Laws Two, Three and Four, following the same procedure. At this point, the chalkboard was always clean. The distilled essence of the gospel is contained in the Four Spiritual Laws booklet.

Origins of the Four Spiritual Laws Booklet

Originally, the Four Spiritual Laws was written only for our staff, who were asked to memorize it as a witnessing tool. As a result, the number of people who received Christ increased dramatically.

The content of the Four Spiritual Laws began to crystallize in my thinking during the summer staff training in 1956 at a time when our staff numbered less than fifty.

One of our speakers for our staff training that year was a Christian layman who was an outstanding sales consultant. He emphasized that to be successful in sales, a person must develop a clear, simple, understandable presentation that can be used over and over again. But then he warned us that when one becomes weary of making the same presentation and develops "presentation fatigue," one often changes the presentation and inevitably loses effectiveness.

He then compared the witnessing Christian to the secular salesperson. To be effective in communicating our faith in Christ, he stresses, we must develop a simple, understandable, reasonable presentation for the gospel which we can share with everyone. The better and more often you communicate this simple presentation, the more fruitful you will be in your witness for Christ.

He illustrated his remarks by telling of several well-known Christians who had their own special presentations. Then he zeroed in on me, saying, "Bill Bright thinks he has a special message for each of the different groups of students, prisoners and lay people with whom he works. But, though I have never heard him speak, I would be willing to wager that he has only one message for everyone. Basically, he tells them all the same thing."

To say that I objected to such a suggestion is to put it mildly. The longer he spoke, the more irritated I became. I resented the suggestion that I or anyone else who truly desired to serve the Lord was not led of the Spirit to speak with originality to each individual according to that person's particular needs. Furthermore, I resented his using me as an example before the rest of the staff.

Initial Reaction Gives Way to Inspiration

But when it was all over and I was licking my wounds, the most serious of which was my bruised ego, I began to reflect on exactly what I did share with various people. That afternoon I wrote down my basic presentation, and to my amazement I discovered my friend had been right. Without realizing it, I had been sharing basically the same message with some variation with everyone. What I wrote that afternoon and later polished is now known as God's Plan for Your Life, a twenty-minute presentation for the claims for Christ -- who he is, why he came, and how one can know Him personally.

I asked each staff member to memorize it, and we all began to use it in our personal witnessing. The next year, as we concentrated on sharing this simple message in dependence on the Holy Spirit and His power, our ministry was multiplied a hundredfold.

God's Plan was our first written "how-to" material - that is, material which explains simply and specifically how an individual can arrive at a desired goal, and shows how he or she can, in turn, help others arrive at the same goal. The "how-to" approach is one of the most needed and most powerful approaches to the Christian life and witness. Most non-Christians do not need to be convinced that they should become Christians. Rather, they simply need to be shown how to become a Christian.

Though God's Plan was extremely effective, we felt the need for a shorter version. So I prepared a condensed outline, complete with Scripture verses and diagrams, and each member of the staff memorized it. As more and more people became involved in our training program, it became apparent that we needed to make the presentation available in printed form.

As a result, the Four Spiritual Laws booklet was born.


Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Introduce Others To Christ, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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