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Speech and Salvation: Conference Package

I recently led a series of talks and discussions at our church’s weekend conference. I’ve put the whole conference together here into one package for others to use (it would work with a small group or a larger church group).

flickr: Darwin Bell

To kick off, I started with the question, “Are all Christians commanded to evangelise?” But I quickly decided that it was the wrong question to ask. There are far more important and productive questions we should be asking ourselves. Questions like: “What is the gospel?” “What does the gospel have to do with human speech?” and “How can I speak the gospel, given my own life situation and gifts?” These were the questions I sought to address in the conference.

This is not a series of steps, or a bunch of sure-fire tips or recipes for evangelism. Rather, the aim of the package is:

  • To provide a biblical and theological grounding in the concept of human speech and its relationship to God’s salvation.
  • To learn from one another about different ways to speak the gospel, taking into account our different experiences, gifts and backgrounds.

The package is organised around a series of objections to the proposition: “God wants you to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ to other people.” I deal with each objection in turn, showing that the gospel itself renders the objection invalid. Here are the objections:

  1. “I’m not good enough to speak to other people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  2. “I’m not gifted enough to speak to other people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  3. “I’m not really a ‘speaking’ kind of Christian.”
  4. “I can promote the gospel better by my good works.”
  5. “I can’t do it! I’ve seen people who speak the gospel, and I just can’t do what they’re doing.”
  6. “My gifts are different; I can fulfil my role in the church in a different way.”
  7. “I’m more comfortable speaking the gospel to insiders rather than outsiders.”

Booklet

The booklet includes both talk outlines and discussion questions (the talks and discussion questions are designed to go together as a single package):

Talks and discussion groups – outline of program

The following program assumes a weekend conference, but of course it can be adapted to other situations:

  • Prelude (Friday evening): Getting the Question Right.
  • Session 1 (Saturday morning): Saved by the mouth
  • Session 2 (Saturday morning): Speech, not works
    • Download the talk as an MP3 (35 minutes, including Bible reading). For an outline, see the booklet (above).
    • The talk should be followed by a 20-minute discussion (see the booklet for questions)
  • Session 3 (Saturday afternoon): Learning how to talk
  • Session 4 (Sunday morning): Gospel speech, insiders and outsiders.
    • Download the talk as an MP3 (approx. 35 minutes, including Bible reading). For an outline, see the booklet.
    • The talk should be followed by a 30-minute discussion (see the booklet for questions)

Listen online

Further resources

Written summary

The conference was based on a series of articles I wrote for the Briefing:

  1. Are all Christians commanded to evangelise?
  2. Shut your mouth
  3. God puts the words right in your mouth
  4. Saved by the mouth
  5. Do you feel the need for speech?
  6. Speech is in your DNA
  7. Insiders and outsiders
  8. Learning how to talk
  9. Appendix: a role for pastors?

Book recommendations for a bookstall

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