I listened to the training found here on Church Planting Movements. These are highly reproducible discovery bible studies that eventually turn into self-replicating churches (warning: this is a simplistic definition, but it's not the main focus of the post). While I disagree with some of what he teaches, all in all, this training has really inspired me to treat my evangelism a little bit differently.
One of the things he suggests is having a cache of "micro" bible studies. Something that could be shared in a minute or less. He suggests you state something like "God taught me something today," or "I learned something new about God today." If the person asks "What?" then you have permission to share a micro-bible study.
One study he presents would go something like this: "God knows all of my thoughts. That's frankly kind of scary. I have thoughts that I wouldn't want anyone to know about. What do you think about this?" The goal is not walk through your gospel summary or outline, rather over the course of 6mos to a year going through enough content that the person would know the gospel message.
I asked my small group to pray that I would be bold enough to try this at work. Here are my results.
Micro-Bible Study 1: Someone had shared about a hard time a family member was having with long-term illness. I shared out of Romans 8:18-28, pointing out that all of creation groans for redemption. It is clear that there is something wrong with the world; suffering is in a sense, wrong. Secondly God does redeem suffering, and he uses it for good. So in the midst of suffering that seems so wrong (and it is!), it can be used for good.
MBS 2: Romans 10:1-4. I shared the passage and tried to drive home the idea that we can't be righteous on our own. Nothing that we do will ever be good enough. We can only stand justified before God because of Christ's righteousness.
Selection: I selected the passages pretty passively. They were part of my bible reading plan and as I read a passage I thought of these people. I had to know what was going on in these peoples' lives in order for the passage to jump out, so you have to talk to people.
Opportunity: I just looked for times when I was basically alone with the person. At the end of the day I have my own office and people are usually filtering in and out throughout the night. I just took advantage when one of them were in there. Each time, someone else walked in while I was reading the bible passage to them. I just kept going and they left. So far I haven't heard anything about it.
Ice Breaker: I was pretty clunky. I just told them I was reading something and I thought of them. Would it be OK if I shared it with them. They both seemed fine with it.
Room for Improvement: I read the passage out of my pocket NT and the layout was different. It through me off a little. I remembered where on the page the passage was, but I didn't remember the exact verses. So know exactly which verse it is, or look it up in the bible you're going to use.
I was somewhat nervous. Need to get more casual about this sort of thing. I need to pray more.
I shared the second one and the person basically responded "Yeah, and it's good to do "_______." This is the exact opposite of what the passage states. Maybe I should have picked a clearer passage for this? I tried to gently correct, but I knew my goal wasn't to push for a decision tonight, rather to keep feeding gospel truth over the long term, so after a little bit of back-and-forth, I let it go.
I didn't pray enough. It was really foolish on my part. I prayed for opportunity and boldness, but I didn't pray for receptivity. Dumb.
How I Changed the Approach: I don't think he actually reads the passage to them, he just shares something true about God. I think both are good and I should write/think of some that could be useful, but I like being able to share the actual Word of God with them. Secondly, he asked a question to get them to interact with the "nugget" or the truth that he shared. I just opened it up for conversation and had more of a religious discussion with one of them than I had ever had. The other was one more opportunity to share what Christ has done on the cross. I should consider which questions would be good to ask.
All in all, it was more than I did last week, so I praise God for that. I pray I keep it up with them, and add new people as well. What do you think of this approach? How would you do it?