This page is designed to help college students and staff learn how to effectively set up and do gospel appointments. We want to help you develop a culture of evangelistic momentum in your ministry through gospel appointments. Though this page is geared toward college ministry, the principles can apply to youth and adult church ministry as well.
What are Gospel Appointments?
It’s an appointment to share the gospel! For those of you who want a less sarcastic definition, it’s a planned time to get to know someone and share the gospel personally.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS?
We believe that gospel appointments could be the most effective way to personally share the gospel because they are both intentional and very relational. Gospel appointments are highly relational because you are spending time getting to know the person and building trust. They are also intentional because you are clearly explaining the good news and giving them a chance to respond to Christ.
They are simple to set up. All you need to do is ask them to join you for lunch or coffee. Keep reading and we will share how
They are way to discover their story and share your story.You can build trust and show the person that you sincerely care. At the beginning of the meeting you can focus on getting to know the person as an individual. Then you can ask them about their spiritual background. This leads in very naturally to to you having the opportunity to share your experience with God.
They minimize distractions that often come when sharing Jesus in other settings.
They emphasize the importance of what you are talking about.When you set up a meeting with someone about a particular topic it demonstrates the importance of that topic, that it is worth the time investment.
They give you plenty of time to share a full gospel presentation or illustration.Setting a specific time aside gives you the space to be able to insure the presentation is understood. It leaves time for questions and discussion about each point.
They lead naturally into follow-up meetings or friendship evangelism.At the end of the meeting, if it goes well, the gospel appointment can naturally lead into an opportunity to meet with the person again for appropriate next steps. For example, the person may want to study the gospel of John before receiving Christ. Or, if they receive Christ at the initial gospel appointment, a next step could be an introduction to some of the basics of Christianity (i.e. baptist, how to study the Bible on their own, foundational Christian doctrines, etc.). Even if the person expresses no desire to follow Christ or no desire to even meet with you again, the gospel appointment gives you the opportunity to state where you stand and demonstrate the fact that you are a safe person with whom he/she can talk about faith.
Anyone can be trained to do this!All you need to be able to do to execute a gospel appointment is invite someone to meet for a meal or coffee, listen to someone’s story, and know how to share a simple gospel presentation.
They are effective!There is something powerful about sharing the gospel clearly with people. Most ministries who have trained in this method immediately see 2-3 people come to Christ the first week of adopting this method! If you share the gospel you will lead people to Christ!
TRAINING VIDEO OF THE BENEFITS OF USING GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS
Gospel appointments help us connect more new people to our ministry. In four years, we have never had anyone offended by this method! We have heard many people thank us for taking time to meet with them. I believe that if you attempt to set up a gospel appointments with all the new people who come to your ministry you will lead a lot more people to Jesus and see a higher percentage of visitors getting connected.
If you are at a spiritually neutral setting such as on campus or at a party…
Start a conversation and guide the conversation to determine where they are spiritually.Use FIRE
Find Common Ground
Experience with Spiritual Things
Take advantage of any opportunity to identify with Christ.This can be something like, “Yeah, I am involved in this campus ministry called ____,” or “On Sundays, I’ve been going to church at ______,” or “ We just got back from a fun trip that helped my relationship with God.” Just find a way to indicate that you are active spiritually.
Ask them a quick spiritual question.Ask, “Did you grow up going to church or anything like that?” The idea is to listen for their spiritual background.
Try and set up a meeting.No matter what they answer you can follow it up with something like “That’s interesting. Hey, I have been learning some pretty helpful things about having a relationship with God. Maybe we could get together sometime for lunch or coffee and talk more about this?” Wait for their response. If they say yes, then do your best to schedule a time as soon as possible.
Go back to a casual conversation and just hangout with them.Maybe something like “so what are your plans for this weekend?”If you are at your ministry’s large group meeting, small group or a social event.
Start a conversation about any topic.
No need to transition. Simply try and set up a meeting.Say, “It would be great to get lunch or coffee sometime and we could get to know each other and I can tell you more about what our group is about?”Consider trying to set up gospel appointments with EVERYONE who comes to your large group meeting, small groups, and socials. The fact that they are present shows they are already interested in, or at least open to, spiritual things. The phrase “I can tell you more about what our group is about” is great because our groups are all about the gospel!
Training students and staff to set up meetings with all visitors (whether you know if they are a believer or not) will make your ministry much more “sticky.” It will help you connect to more new people.
“In four years, we have never had anyone offended by this method! We have heard many people thank us for taking time to meet with them.” – Paul Worcester
An attempt to set up a gospel appointment with all the new people who come to your ministry will result in more opportunities to share the gospel. And sharing the gospel more leads to more people following Christ.
TRAINING VIDEO OF HOW TO SET UP GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS
So you got a gospel appointment! Praise God. Here’s what you do.
Pray like crazy!Set aside some time to pray for your friend. Text, GroupMe, or Facebook your fellow leaders and ask them to pray for you before and during the gospel appointment. Remember, it’s our job to share and it’s God’s job to save, we need the Holy Spirit to move in our gospel appointment for it to be powerful.
Make sure to confirm the meeting time and location the same day through a phone call or text message.
Be prepared to share and bring whatever you need.A great thing about gospel appointments is that they work with any gospel presentation. If you use The Bridge model, bring a pen, paper and Bible. If you use a gospel booklet like “Gospel Lessons” don’t forget it!
Start by getting to know the person a bit more.Catch up a little and get to know them better. The adage is true: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” After you’ve built some rapport, jump into talking about deeper things such as family and upbringing. Remember, they agreed to meet expecting to talk about spiritual things so don’t skip that part!
Use the three story method.
Their Story: Ask them to share their story about their experience with spiritual things and really listen. You could ask, “So what’s your background when it comes to spiritual things?”
Your Story: Share your story briefly. Try and do a one-minute version. It could be about how you became a Christian or how your faith came alive in college.
God’s Story: Introduce the Bible lesson or gospel presentation. Say “The ministry I am a part of does Bible lessons that teach the basics about having a relationship with God. Do you want to read it together?” or “I have this short booklet that explains how to start a relationship with God. Do you want to read it together?” Another example could be, “I know a short illustration that gives an awesome summary of what I believe is the main point of the Bible. Can I share it with you?”
Begin discussing the gospel presentation.Make sure to sit close enough that both of you can comfortably see it or have one for each of you. You don’t need to add a lot to it. Simply take them through it. Try not to get too sidetracked with too many side comments and questions. Many questions will be answered by the booklet or forgotten about once they understand the entire message. We tell our students “If you can read then you can lead people to Christ!”
Make the invitation clear.Ask them if they want to become a Christian. Give them time to read it and think about it. Then ask “Would you like to commit your life to Christ right now?” Be prepared for a few moments of silence as they ponder such a heavy decision. It probably means they are really considering it. Don’t answer for them.
If they don’t receive Christ, don’t pressure them, but keep investing in them.It’s not a failure if they don’t instantaneously receive Christ. It’s actually a personal win because you have obeyed Jesus. Now they know where you stand and have a better idea of what you believe. Often in our secular culture it takes people a while and several times of hearing the gospel before they will be ready to really give their lives to Christ.
If they say yes to Christ, show your excitement and lead them to pray to God.You can have them read the prayer, or they can pray in their own words. Since there are no magic words, encourage them to make the prayer their own as an attitude of their heart. You can even begin the prayer yourself by thanking God for your time together and then ask them to pray.
Celebrate and set up a follow up meeting!Tell them that this is the most important decision of their lives! Then say “This was fun! There are some other things like this that we could look at if you want to start meeting. Does this same time next week work for you?” Make sure you have a time to meet again before you leave! Also invite them to come to your college ministry or church with you this week and encourage them to start reading the Gospel of John on their own. Thank and Praise God for what he is doing!
Don’t let the simplicity of this method dissuade you from giving it an honest try!
Don’t look at gospel appointments as a one-time event but a way to initiate a long term relationship with the person. If you boldly and relationally share Jesus I believe you will lead many students to Christ and see them plugged into your ministry.
HOW TO DEVELOP A CULTURE OF EVANGELISTIC MOMENTUM THROUGH GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS?
“I used to think there was nothing more exciting than sitting across from someone and witnessing them giving their lives to Christ. But I was wrong. The only thing that trumps that is when I get a text from a student saying that they were able to lead someone to Jesus at a gospel appointment. That’s when I know our ministry has developed evangelistic momentum. Here are some ways to develop evangelistic momentum using gospel appointments.” – Paul Worcester
MODEL THE URGENCY & TAKE THEM WITH YOU.Students may not do what you teach them to do, but they will do what you do. The most effective type of training could be called “monkey see monkey do” training. Take them with you to a gospel appointment, show them how, and then debrief the experience.
TRAIN THEM WELL & OFTEN.Students need to be reminded often of the need for sharing the gospel as well as the methodology your group is using. Even when you begin to feel like you are communicating the vision and your process so often that people are tired of hearing it, it is essential that you keep training. Every year. Every semester. Every opportunity you have.
MAKE SHARING SIMPLE.Sometimes evangelistic tools such as booklets or simple illustrations get a bad reputation as “canned.” This may be true if your training never progresses beyond using just one tool, but the simple task of giving people something to start with helps tremendously.
“The best kind of evangelism is the kind that you do.” – Steve Sjogren
If you keep your tools simple they will be more easily reproducible. Whatever gospel presentation you use for gospel appointments make it simple and easy to access.
USE EVENTS TO GET GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS.Large group and fun events are easy places for students to schedule gospel appointments. Big events provide countless students for our student leaders and staff to choose from with whom they can schedule gospel appointments.
CELEBRATE THE STORIES.If anyone that you are training takes the smallest step towards sharing the gospel, you should vigorously celebrate those steps. You accelerate what you celebrate. If you create a culture where people have an opportunity to humbly tell their evangelistic stories you will be surprised by how the stories will keep rolling in week after week. You can share stories through texting, GroupMe, Facebook, and at your leadership meetings. The more stories your team shares the more the members of your group will be swept up in the momentum.
START TRAINING NEW BELIEVERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.Provide the opportunity for training in evangelism and disciple-making as soon as possible for everyone who accepts Christ. Sharing Jesus is one of the best ways for a new believer to grow in Christ.
“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philemon 1:6
New believers are some of the best evangelists because they have the most non-Christian friends. Also new believers don’t know any better than to share about the One changing their life! Some new believers will be “persons of peace” for you and will open new networks of people!
MOVE WITH THE MOVERS.Don’t bang your head against the wall trying to motivate everyone in your ministry to be bold evangelists. Focus your training on those who actually want to do it. Spend the most time helping equip the people who are the most motivated. If you have a couple of students in your ministry who consistently share the gospel with others, spend the most time with these students. They will thrive from additional training, encouragement, and help in following up on those they lead to Christ.
TRAIN STUDENTS TO TRAIN STUDENTS.Start equipping your most motivated evangelists to train others. Even if it would be easier or more effective for you to do all of the training yourself, give people the opportunity to take over the training task. This will speed up the multiplication process. This training works best in one- on-one settings or small groups. You must empower them to lead.
MAKE A PLAN FOR HOW TO HELP ALL OF THE NEW BELIEVERS!If you and your team are abiding in Christ and consistently doing the steps above you will likely see many people come to faith in Him.
“If you share the gospel you will lead people to Christ. If you don’t share the gospel you will not lead people to Christ.” – Brian Zunigha
Expect God to use you and make plans for following up with each of the new believers!
TRAINING VIDEO OF HOW TO DEVELOP EVANGELISTIC MOMENTUM THROUGH GOSPEL APPOINTMENTS