Tools for Cultivating Meaningful Gospel Conversations

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A few years ago, in a taxi going from Chicago O’Hare Airport to a nearby hotel, I had the most interesting conversation. By asking a few questions, I learned the driver was from Kazakhstan and spoke Russian. Several years ago, my husband and I served with Cru in what was then considered the Former Soviet Union and learned to speak Russian. Our job took us to many of the Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan. In the one Russian phrase I still remember, I told him we went there to tell students about God. He suddenly got kind of nervous, and quickly reached for his phone, pulled up a YouTube video and handed it to me. The video showed a Muslim and Christian debating the Virgin Birth—the Muslim clearly having the upper hand. In my mind I was stunned as I realized I was being proselytized by a well-trained Muslim in Chicago! We discussed the topic as best we could in broken English and Russian before arriving at my hotel. As he handed me my suitcase he said, “I believe it was Allah’s will that we meet today. I hope to see you in Paradise.” I replied, “I believe it was the God of the universe’s will that we meet today, and I hope to see you in heaven.” Crazy huh? As I related this story to my Cru colleague who works for the JESUS Film Project, she said, “You should’ve left him with something from our app in his language!” Until then, I was unaware such an app existed.

So, today’s post is meant to encourage you, wherever you are, in your evangelistic efforts. Whether you are in a taxi, on a campus, or planting a church somewhere in the world, Cru has some evangelistic resources that might help you along the way. The first is the JESUS Film Project website and app, which offer a variety of ways to use media when sharing the gospel. The second is Soularium®–an image-based tool available for purchase or online—this tool encourages more in-depth conversations around God and spirituality.

Many of you have probably heard of the JESUS Film—a full-length feature film, based on the Gospel of Luke—developed by Cru in 1979. Translated into over 1,700 different languages, the film has been used to bring over 572 million people to faith in Christ. The JESUS Film Project (JFP) recently released a free app which houses the JESUS Film in its entirety and also in short clips of various aspects of the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In just the amount of time it takes to download an app, you are able to share the gospel in almost any language. Also available on the app are several films and strategic initiatives for reaching women. Two excellent resources include the films Magdalena and Rivkaavailable in full-length and short clips. These films are excellent resources for use on the mission field or in your own backyard.

Soularium® is a favorite of mine. This tool includes a packet of fifty original photographic images with five simple questions that help foster meaningful gospel conversations. I have used Soularium® as an evangelistic tool on campuses in the U.S. and Italy, and I find students are almost always interested in viewing the images and engaging in spiritual conversation. These images are great conversation starters for small group Bible studies and discipleship appointments, and I carry a set of the Soularium® cards with me whenever I travel. Soularium is available without cost in the App Store.

Currently, I’m personally researching what evangelism in a 21st century, North American context looks like. Like many of you, I want to better understand how to share the gospel in our complex society. I serve on a Missiology Council with The Send Institute and have published two articles on Cru’s evangelism research. You might find these helpful as you seek to share the gospel wherever you are in the world. The first, “Cru Research,” provides an overview of Cru-commissioned research launched for the purpose of better understanding our culture. A second article, “Scattering Seeds,” provides some simple ways to engage in spiritual conversation based on our research findings. I hope you find these helpful.

Cas Monaco is a missiologist who stands at the intersection of gospel and culture, encouraging others to join her in conversation along the way. As a staff member with Cru, Cas has served across the U.S. and abroad. She currently serves as Cru City’s executive director of gospel in culture. In addition, she is a Ph.D. Candidate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in applied theology and North American missiology. Cas and Bob, her husband of 37 years, now live in North Carolina. She loves a good cup of strong coffee, exploring Anthropologie and sitting in the sun at the beach.

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