In our “live-and-let-live” culture, persuade is a word that can sometimes feel out of synch with embracing diversity and nurturing individuality. So you may be wondering why I chose persuade as the third stage in THE Cause Circle’s “Pray–Pursue-Persuade” approach to sharing your faith.
Well, I was admittedly casting about for a third “P” word, but I invite you to reflect on the powerful, evocative definition of the word persuade:
1: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action
2: to plead with; URGE (Source: merriam-webster.com)
Can you think of anything in this world (or the next), that it’s more important to purposefully and relentlessly apply our skills of persuasions to than urging others to embrace Jesus’ gospel message of salvation by grace?
We Implore You on Christ’s Behalf
The Greek word for persuade is used eight different times in the New Testament in direct connection with evangelism. This is not a used car salesman-type pitch, but a sincere, yet convincing appeal to the heart and mind of the unbeliever. It’s the same approach that Paul used when he wrote, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Sure, persuasion can easily become manipulation or coercion if done in the flesh. But when we lay the groundwork of “Praying with Passion” and “Pursuing with Love,” then “Persuading with Truth” should pour forth out of a pure heart that is overflowing with the Spirit of God.
Ask – Admire – Admit Style Persuasion
How can we help our teenagers learn to compellingly persuade their friends to consider Jesus and His life-giving message?
At Dare 2 Share, we teach teens to use an Ask – Admire – Admit style of persuasion. You can check out this video that more fully explains this approach, but in a nutshell, here it is:
- Ask: Ask your friends questions about what they believe. Not to “test” them or “trap” them, but to understand them and break down any relational barriers that are keeping them from considering Jesus.
- Admire: Admire everything you can about what they believe in order to help people open up. Don’t affirm their heresy but their honesty. Find areas of common ground you can compliment them on.
- Admit: Admit that the reason you are a Christian is that you know you’ve fallen short and need someone to rescue you. That someone is Jesus.
- Then share a clear gospel message.
Coaching Your Teenagers to “Persuade with Truth”
If we bring an urgency to coaching our students on how to effectively share their faith, the whole idea of “persuasion” fits more naturally. Once they realize their friends’ souls hand in the balance, sharing relationally AND relentlessly makes more sense. In contrast, when we’re casual about prioritizing evangelism, then “persuasion” is more apt to strike them as overbearing or manipulative.
So here are some specific, sequential steps to help you coach your teenagers through the “Persuade with Truth” section of THE Cause Circle:
- Lay the groundwork by communicating the urgency of evangelism.
- Train your students in the “Ask – Admire – Admit” approach to sharing their faith.
- Equip them to clearly share the gospel (consider using the free LI6W app).
- Take some time in your group to role play steps 2 and 3 above.
- Challenge your students to use THE Cause Circle and purposefully reach out to a friend who needs Jesus by actively Praying with Passion, Pursuing with Love AND Persuading with Truth during the coming week.
“Persuade” is not a dirty word. In fact, “live-and-let-live” should take on a whole new meaning in light of the gospel – more like “give-and-let-live.” Because when we give a clear, winsome, persuasive explanation of the gospel to those around us, the doorway to everlasting life opens wide – which is the “A – Accept Christ” part of THE Cause Circle’s ABCs. Stay tuned for more on that next time…