Book Review – Bill Hybels, Just Walk across the Room

Book Hybels Just walk across the room

  • Link: Amazon
  • Length: 224
  • Difficulty: Easy-Popular
  • Topic: Evangelism
  • Audience: Mainstream Christians

For those who are interested in sharing their faith, who are unsure of the way to go about it and could use some helpful tips to get started, this is a good book. It is easy and enjoyable to read with numerous stories and anecdotes to capture your imagination and fire you up.

Some confrontational methods of evangelism focus on sharing the gospel point blank with people you have never met before, cold evangelism. This book however, works through a series of simple steps to warm people up first, by developing friendships and then looking for opportunities to share the gospel.

This post is one of my book reviews.

Contents – Overview

  • Introduction
  • Part I: The Single Greatest Gift
    • 1 The Ultimate Walk Across a Room
    • 2 The Way to Sustain Evangelism
  • Part II: Living in 3D
    • 3 First, Develop Friendships
    • 4 Next, Discover Stories
    • 5 Finally, Discern Next Steps
  • Part III: The Power of Story
    • 6 Your own Before-and-After
    • 7 God’s Good News
    • 8 Lessons from the Master
  • Part IV: Grander Vision Living
    • 9 Big-Fish Invitations
    • 10 Matthews Deepest Desire
    • 11 Open Doors

Main points

Chapters 1-2 concentrate on getting the reader to focus on their own Christian experience and using it to overcome common obstacles in reaching out to unbelievers.

Chapters 3-5 cover the initial steps to starting conversations, developing friendships, finding common ground and asking deeper questions.

Chapters 6-8 cover some of the fundamentals including giving faith stories (testimonies), sharing the gospel and troubleshooting.

Chapters 9-10 give some practical suggestions for group events that encourage spiritual conversations.

Chapter 11 is on prayer and petition.

Throughout the book Hybels alludes to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I felt this could have used some more explanation.

He frequently refers to the eternal future of not yet Christians and uses this as the primary motivation sharing the gospel.

Each of the chapters has study questions at the end for further reflection.

The best point Hybels makes is an uncomfortable observation concerning average Christians.

Statistics show that shortly after a Christ-follower makes a faith decision, contact with people outside the Christian faith actually decreases. And this trend spirals downward year after year.

The main premise of ‘Just Walk Across the Room’ challenges the reader to reverse this trend. The majority of his stories give examples of this in practice.

His exhortation to work out a simple gospel message is good and necessary. This of course falls back on a persons understanding of what the gospel is.

I would point you to John Dickson’s, The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips (Amazon Link) for some simple examples of how to use small snippets of the gospel story with unbelievers to point them to Christ.

Unfortunately his illustrations relate an unhelpful grace vs. good works antithesis. ‘We are not good enough to earn our way to God.’ I’m not a big fan of this. It’s a bit like saying ‘we cannot fly around the moon to get to God’. Being ‘good enough’ or ‘earning our way to God’ has never been a requirement to start a relationship with God in the first place. I would recommend further reading of the scriptures (particularly the evangelistic sermons in Acts) and less emphasis on protestant tradition for tips on how to share the gospel.

That being said another good point he suggests is not to overtly contrive ways to get them to make a decision. This book was written several years before Scot McKnight’s King Jesus Gospel which makes the same repeated point. Hybels encourages his readers to step out in faith, start conversations, ask questions and explore whether there is an open door, and leave the rest up to God. He focuses on the relationship not the result.

Recommendation

Sometimes I like to think of God’s people today as being in one of two groups.

  1. Those who can spend lots of time with unbelievers, but know little, and
  2. those who spend little time with unbelievers, who know much.

This book works on the latter, pushing us to spend more time in the harvest field while growing in knowledge we can share. If we do this we can maximise our potential opportunities to speak about Jesus. Overall it is a good read and will get you walking.


Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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