The Four Chapter Story Resource

AUTHOR: Ben Laur

Associate Pastor - Olathe Campus

Sharing the Gospel Using the Four Chapter Story

Sharing the gospel is often really hard. And let’s be honest, it can be really awkward, too.

For most of us, it just doesn’t naturally come up in conversation. When we talk with our neighbor about the weather, what are we supposed to do? Say, “So anyway, did you know that God made the weather, and you can have a personal relationship with this God by accepting Jesus into your heart?” Awkward!

How can we share the gospel in a way that feels less forced and more natural? One way is by exploring how we make sense of the world around us.

Whether we realize it or not, we all tell ourselves stories about the world: what things ought to be like, what is wrong with it, how what’s broken can be fixed, and what will happen if certain things do or don’t occur.

This is the story the Bible tells about the world too, and it is what we refer to as The Four Chapter Story, and the four “chapters” we refer to are: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Renewal.

Creation: How the world once was and ought to be.

Fall: How the world is broken.

Redemption: How what’s broken can be fixed.

Renewal: How the world will be.

Our goal is simply to see how any given aspect of our life experience fits within this biblical narrative. Rather than giving a lecture to your neighbor about The Four Chapter Story, you might simply conversationally explore the way you see the world using the words: Ought, Is, Can, Will.

When you find yourself talking with your neighbor about the weather, or current events, or anything else, you might instead ask them:

What do you think is wrong with ______?

How do you think _______ ought to be?

How do you think _______ can be fixed?

Do you think _______ will ever improve or be solved? How?

The better you know The Four Chapter Story, the easier it will be to connect it to real life. Speaking of the weather, for instance, you might talk about how God originally created order out of chaos. Until creation became disordered and chaotic – including our experience of the weather. There are creative, God-given ways we can mitigate the chaotic effects of the weather or even create order in the midst of a chaotic world. But we can have hope that one day God will renew the creation and our experience of it so that humanity will be able to live in peace, not fearing the chaotic effects of the weather.

Simply dialogue with the other person about these ideas. You don’t need to force a full “come-to-Jesus” conversation. Just have an honest conversation that tries to get to the deeper story that we tell ourselves about the world. As you do, you will encounter opportunities to talk about the world as God designed it and how it ought to be, the ways in which it is now broken, how the story of Jesus shows the way things can be redeemed, and how Jesus will one day set the world right. Perhaps your neighbor will find that this is the one story that really makes sense of all our smaller stories and experiences.

Because Jesus is the Lord of all, there is nothing in all the world that cannot find its place in this story. The hope is that as we and our neighbors see how everything belongs in this biblical framework, we will also find it easier to see how Jesus is good news for this world.

Pick a topic in your life or in the world and run it through the ought-is-can-will framework and see how it connects to The Four Chapter Story of Scripture.
(The sky’s the limit when choosing a topic, but if you are looking for some ideas, you might consider one of these: scarcity, loneliness, work, disease, family, power, sex, art, or any area in the world where you see brokenness.)

Ask the Lord to help you grow in your understanding of The Four Chapter Story, how the details of your life find their place in this story, and for guidance in bringing this into conversations with others.

 

2 Comments

  1. Cate J

    Thank you for providing this framework and connecting it to evangelism. It a good practice for myself I can use daily but also use in conversation with others as we talk about how the may see or experience life as well.

    Reply
  2. Ben Laur

    Glad you found it helpful, Cate! If you’re able to give this approach a try sometime, we’d love to hear how it goes.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PREVIOUS POSTS

Share This