Evangelism Principles

Six Degrees: Transitions to the Gospel

The Compass


For a lot of people the hardest thing about talking to someone about Jesus is just getting started. How do you bring it up? Awkward transitions feel forced and make a scary situation even more so. This may preven be the #1 reason you avoid talking about Jesus.

Here is a very simple concept based on a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The game mentioned above is based on the idea that every person is connected to every other person through a surprisingly small number of intermediaries. The game works by trying to find a connection (based on films that both parties starred in) between any actor or actress and our hero, Kevin Bacon. For instance, let’s say we start with O.J. Simpson. He was in The Naked Gun with Priscilla Presley. She in turn was in Ford Fairlane with Gilbert Gottfried, who was in Beverly Hills Cop II with Paul Reiser. Finally, Reiser was in Diner , with, you guessed it, Kevin Bacon. If you can get me there is six steps or less you win.

An experienced player however knows that it’s not really six degrees of Kevin Bacon that you want to play. Rather it's five degrees of a bunch of other people. Specifically, it’s five degrees of Tom Hanks or Gary Sinesse (who co starred with Bacon in Apollo 13 ), or five degrees of Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland ( Flatliners ) or five degrees of Meryl Streeep ( The River Wild ). And on and on. This way you get a much bigger target to aim for. If you can get to Hanks or Roberts or Streep (or Nev Campbell or John Lithgo or Elizabeth Shue), you are a step away from victory. Like the Six Degrees game, the objective in any given conversation is not to figure out how to move the conversation to the gospel, but rather how to move the conversation to any one of half-a-dozen preconceived topics that put you a step away from the gospel. Many of those connections will be about your life and provide a bridge to your testimony. Others might connect directly to a need you know Jesus alone can meet.

For instance, since I’m on staff with Cru, anytime I am talking about work with someone it’s easy to talk about the gospel. People commonly ask me what I do for a living. It’s super easy to tell them that I work with college students helping them understand that God loves them wants a relation ship with them. From there we’re off and running. Ditto if we talk about international travel. I’ve been overseas a couple of times on mission trips to East and Central Asia, which aren’t exactly common vacation spots. It’s not uncommon for people to ask me what I was doing over there. Since they ask, I tell them.

What are those key connection points for you? Think through some key connection points, that are only a step away from the gospel. If you have five or six topics and the knowledge of how to move to the gospel from them, you’ll be prepared in any conversation to talk about Jesus.

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