1. Get the gospel right.
Strategy doesn’t matter if churches don’t get their message right. And people can’t share the gospel if they don’t know it. “Get the gospel message right,” he says. “And then be confident in that message. Not in your delivery but in the message. Here’s what we do—we love well and we share the gospel.”
2. Admit your faults.
Self-righteousness is one of the biggest turnoffs for nonbelievers, says Chandler. Don’t pretend being a Christian makes you superior to other people. “If you really understand grace, it’s not us and them,” he says. “It’s us. The ground at the cross is flat. The gospel of Jesus Christ has set me free to not pretend that I am perfect in front of you.”
3. Don’t try to scare people into following Jesus.
Chandler’s not afraid to talk about hell. He says it’s an “awful reality” that can’t be avoided. But avoiding hell isn’t the main message of the gospel. “If hell is how you are trying to motivate people toward heaven, then you have missed a key component of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ,” he says. “Namely He has justified us, sanctified us, and is adopting us as sons and daughters. You have missed the entire delight piece—where God delights in those He has rescued.”
4. Focus on the gospel instead of arguments about non-essentials.
Chandler tries to steer clear of arguments over issues like creation, evolution or the age of earth, where he’s not an expert. “If you think you don’t have all the answers,” says Chandler, “Just say ‘I don’t know. But here’s what I do know—Jesus changed my life.’ A passionate belief in Jesus Christ that has changed your life is still the best apologetic.” Remind people their job isn’t to save nonbelievers. Instead, they need to share the gospel and let God do the work. “I have tried repeatedly to lay out the reality that it is God who saves,” he says. “God saves. That takes the pressure off of people.”
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