Reposted with permission, view original post at go.powertochange.org
As I first walked through the doors of Power to Change to begin my internship, I was met with their mission statement.
It charges us to “glorify God by making a maximum contribution toward helping fulfil the Great Commission”; a point further emphasized by the text of Matthew 28:19-20 interspersed every other line. Of course, the Great Commission is not meant just for Power to Change employees. It’s meant for all of us.
Now, show of hands: how many of you feel like you’re making a definite contribution to the Great Commission?
Okay, some of you are out there, and that’s great to see. But I’m sure there are a fair number that didn’t put their virtual hand up. Hey, I include myself among you, and I grew up in a Christian home, attend church regularly, go to a Christian university and intern at a Christian organization. Despite all that, I still struggle sharing my faith with others. I’d expect that many of you feel the same way. In this day and age, evangelism can seem incredibly difficult.
Where does one even begin? The solution, it seems, requires simplicity and the ability to open conversation. Power to Change (the Canadian arm of Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, International) has been behind one of the simplest evangelistic tools ever created: the Four Spiritual Laws.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
The four spiritual laws (in summary) are:
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
- People are sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
- Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin, and through him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord in order to know and experience his love and plan for our lives.
Within the booklet, Bible verses offer clear support for the laws, and simple diagrams provide a visual representation of concepts such as the divide between God and humanity and the need to put Christ at the centre of our lives.
It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? It makes sense then that the Four Spiritual Laws has been one of Power to Change’s primary evangelistic tools for nearly fifty years.
The story of a little yellow booklet
The Four Spiritual Laws owes its existence to Bill Bright, the founder of the original Campus Crusade for Christ organization. However, it wasn’t until a few years after Campus Crusade’s founding that the little booklet came into being.
“Bill Bright first trained people to write out and diagram the gospel just using a piece of paper,” says Mike Woodard. Mike has been working for Power to Change since 1977, and the first thirty-four years of that were in the student ministry.
Mike notes that because Campus Crusade was growing so quickly, transferability became an important concept for the ministry. The Four Spiritual Laws was created for that purpose. The simplicity of its message made it easy to train volunteers to engage others in conversation and then train those who came to Christ following that conversation.
“If you want to build a movement of people who can impact the world,” says Mike, “you have to have simple, transferable tools to help them do that.”
Explaining the gospel in any context
Since its introduction, the Four Spiritual Laws booklet has become widespread as an evangelistic tool. Its success comes from living up to its goal of being simple and transferable.
When Mike was attending university, he first came into contact with the Four Spiritual Laws when a friend walked through the laws with another person in a conversation. For Mike, who was struggling to find a way to share his faith, this was a godsend.
“It was really designed to be a conversation guide,” explains Mike, “which is why [the booklet] starts with questions.”
The conversational style influenced Mike’s personal evangelism method. His standard opening line is asking, “Do you ever think about God?”
On one occasion he asked this to a woman sitting next to him on a plane and it turned out that she had spent a lot of time with Christian friends but still had no idea of how to accept Christ. “Part of the beauty of [the Four Spiritual Laws] is that it includes an invitation.”
Mike finds the versatility of the laws especially important. He mentions having had conversations that lasted five minutes and ones that lasted two hours, because of the different circumstances.
“I’ve found that as I share it, it really equips me to explain the gospel in any context . . . and then if you couple this,” he says, picking up the booklet, “with your testimony, that’s really powerful.”
Keeping up with the times
Now, some of you may be wondering: is a nearly sixty-year-old tract really still a useful evangelistic tool today? I’m convinced it is. It expresses simple statements of the basics of Christianity. The message of the gospel is timeless.
That being said, a closer look at the text itself reveals some of its age. The tone feels a bit rigid for this postmodern era, and regardless of how you feel about it, that can be a problem when that is the society to whom you are speaking. Luckily, I’m not the first person to have recognized this. In the second part of this article, I’ll explore the Four Spiritual Laws in its current context and some of its more recent approaches.
Mackenzie recent served as a Marketing intern at P2C’s National Office in Langley, BC.