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This material has been developed from Bill Hybels’ book “Just Walk Across the Room,” copyright 2006, by Zondervan Publishers of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have quoted Hybels extensively, written numerous thought-provoking questions, and added Scripture to create an evangelism study for a small group setting.
Welcome to “Session 5” of the study Just Walk Across the Room. I ended our last session by saying, “Next we’re going to talk about the power of story; for after becoming a resource provider you must share both your story and God’s story.” Stories are a powerful tool for sharing our faith in Christ. Bill Hybels says, “Stories captivate us with characters who seem so much like us, plot lines that give us fresh eyes to see life around us, vivid descriptions of parts of the world we’ve never visited, and probing questions that force us to declare what we really believe” (p. 115).
Hybels continues to elaborate that Jesus was well aware of the power of a good story, as we can see by His use of parables. As “the greatest storyteller ever to walk the planet, Jesus spun sagas about everything from great banquets to mustard seeds, and from trees that bore fruit to missing sheep and lost coins” (p. 115).
Chapter 6: Your Own Before-and-After
In our next session we will discuss sharing “God’s story,” however, tonight we will begin by looking at sharing “our own story.” I want to take a moment to discuss in detail the power of communicating our own personal experience.
Turn with me in your Bibles, and let’s read John 4:39: And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”
This verse is found in the story of “The Woman at the Well.” John 4:28-29 tells at that when Jesus had finished speaking with her, “The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’”
• What effect did the Samaritan woman have on the residents of the city as she shared her own personal experience with Jesus?
Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, says, “Your personal testimony is more effective than a sermon, because unbelievers see pastors as professional salesmen, but see you as a ‘satisfied customer,’ so they give you more credibility” (p. 290). Warren also says, “Your testimony . . . bypasses intellectual defenses. Many people who won’t accept the authority of the Bible will listen to a humble, personal story” (p. 291).
Your own first-hand account of how Jesus worked in your life is a powerful thing in effecting heart change in another individual; but the question is this: Are you prepared, ready and willing to share your personal testimony? Listen closely as I share a “hypothetical scenario” presented by Hybels, and his related commentary and insights:
Hypothetical Scenario: Suppose you and your unconvinced neighbor have forged a friendship over the last few months. The more you interact, the more open and honest the relationship becomes. You’ve tested the spiritual waters
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