What do you believe about Jesus?
Do you know the ‘territory’ of the Gospel? Let me explain.
Did you know that the London Taxi Drivers need to memorize 25,000 streets and 50,000 points of interest before they can qualify for their license?
The Taxi Drivers call this training, “The Knowledge”. The Knowledge enables them to “get you to your destination much more quickly and more efficiently, avoiding sudden traffic jams, roadwork or one of the many protest marches that regularly disrupt traffic flow in the British capital.”1
The Knowledge training takes three to ten years to complete, and there is a 70% drop-out rate. But the results are the proof the value: the licensed drivers don’t get stuck in a protest while their GPS is “recalculating…”.
The drivers don’t get stuck in a protest because they know their territory.
Sharing the Gospel
We communicate best, when we understand the ‘map’ in another person’s mind, and know our territory (subject) well. When we know our territory we can guide our listener from where they are to a common meeting point for both of us.
Not knowing how to share my faith, I enrolled in an on-the-job training program that taught me how to share the Gospel. The material was good, but ‘sharing the Gospel’ became an event for me.
It became an event because I had to manipulate conversations specifically so that I could ‘do the presentation’. I couldn’t share the Gospel in a natural way, because I still did not ‘know the territory’—I only knew one route!
How well do you know the Gospel territory?
Jesus knew His territory so well that when He spoke to the people, He spoke in ways in which they could relate. He used verbal pictures of farming and house-cleaning; birds, animals, and the flowers of the field.
Because He knew the territory, He flowed in His conversations. His message blended into their conversation in a natural way.
A beautiful example of such an interaction, is the story of the woman at the well.2 Jesus flowed as the conversation flowed. He knew His destination and He knew the territory, so navigating several detours en route, was not a problem for Him.
What actually is the Gospel?
Do you remember the old Hymn, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story?” This hymn has a verse that always troubled me:
“Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.”3
Do the words of this verse resonate with you?
What would happen, if you went to a counselor for help to resolve continued conflict with a colleague at work, and the counselor told you that Jesus died for your sins so that you can go to heaven?
Would such a response be a comfort to you? Would it be helpful to you? Or do you, like me, think it’s a weird response?
Yet the words of the old hymn, should resonate with us, for Paul stated that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.4
But what does ‘salvation’ mean? Is this just saving us from hell so that we can go to heaven?
Is our salvation only relevant to the rapture, or to what happens after we die?
What did Jesus really come to do?
How well do you know the story around that Babe in the manger, and the purpose for His coming?
Does your map correspond with God’s map of the territory?
Do you know the territory well enough to keep focused on where the listener is, while guiding them to a meeting place with Jesus, regardless of the detours you need to take en route?
How well do you know the territory of the Gospel according to God’s map?