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Chess, Not Checkers: Part 4

Continuing our series on the "Text-Driven Soul-Winner" and the analogy of chess, this week, we'll observe moves and methods in the evangelism encounter. Last week, the objectives of each phase of evangelism were given, and how to evaluate moves and methods were observed. Make sure to read that here: This week, helpful moves and methods will be recommended, but remember that evangelism is about addressing a person, not running a method. You may enter an evangelistic encounter where none of these moves and methods are helpful, and that's okay. Also, make sure to listen to last week's Text-Driven Podcast for a discussion on more methods (


Moves and Method in the Opening

As a reminder, moves and methods in the opening are used to get the soul-winner into an evangelistic encounter and determine whether the evangelized has experience with the gospel. One method is suggested below, as well as its pros and cons.


"Baiting the Hook"

"Baiting the Hook" is another excellent method to begin an evangelistic encounter. "Baiting the Hook" aims to get the evangelized to ask the soul-winner a question leading to an evangelistic encounter. When the soul-winner is on a plane, at a neighborhood block party, or a kid's sports game, he introduces himself to someone there, and as he gets to know the person he wants to evangelize, he "Baits the Hook" by including overtly Christian things about himself. The details would be things like: "I'm a pastor at ___ church," "I'm a student at ____ seminary," "I'm a member of ____ church," or anything else that is overtly Christian and not typically mentioned in polite conversation. The soul-winner leverages the normal "get to know you" conversation into a gospel conversation. "Baiting the Hook" often leads an unsaved person out of politeness to ask a question that the soul-winner can use to share the gospel and begin a conversation.

There are pros and cons to this method. A pro of "Baiting the Hook" relieves much of the tension of the evangelistic encounter and makes the conversation less confrontational. On the other hand, a con to this method is not a guarantee to a gospel conversation. The soul-winner hopes the evangelized makes the first "move" of the "chess game," and the evangelized sometimes doesn't.


Moves and Methods in the Middlegame

As a reminder, the moves and methods in the middlegame are meant to keep the necessity and availability of the gospel central and to answer objections. Two moves and methods are suggested, one answering an objection and another to move to the endgame. For methods that keep the necessity and availability of the gospel central, make sure to listen to the conversation on last week's episode of the Text-Driven Podcast.


Objection: Was Jesus Real?

A common objection to the gospel is whether Jesus was even a real person. This objection can derail an evangelistic encounter, but there is historical proof of Jesus. Here are the facts to answer that objection: There is more historical evidence that someone who existed by the name of Jesus had garnered a following than there is evidence of Plato. The historical reliability of a document is based on the time between the death of a person and the first writing about them. The smaller that gap, the more historically reliable. The only evidence of Plato is in written works, but Plato has only one historical biographical work about him written 500 years after his death.[1] In contrast to those men, the four Gospels were all written within 80 years of Jesus's death and resurrection. The book of 1 Corinthians was written within 15 years of Jesus's death and resurrection, and it refers to eyewitnesses who saw Jesus risen from the grave (1 Cor 15:1-4). Non-biblical sources bear witness as well. Tacitus wrote in the first century about how Jesus (he calls Jesus "Christ") was given the death penalty by Pontius Pilate. Pliny the Younger wrote about Christians who worshipped Jesus as God in the first century and believed in what Jesus did.[2]

From this evidence, the soul-winner can return the necessity and availability of the gospel by telling the evangelized that because Jesus was undoubtedly a real person who had disciples who were persecuted for proclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead, then it is reasonable to believe that He did and that the sins of the whole world can be forgiven through Him.


"Look for Check"

An important method in the middlegame that the soul-winner should use in almost every evangelistic encounter is looking for check. Looking for check means that the soul-winner should look for opportunities to ask the evangelized, "Do you want to receive Jesus as your Savior and confess Him as your Lord?" This question may be asked numerous times throughout the middlegame, but the soul-winner wants to purposefully and wisely present the evangelized with the opportunity to receive salvation. The soul-winner should never ask this question if it appears the evangelized would use the question as an opportunity to get out of the gospel conversation. If the evangelized says "no" to this question, the soul-winner returns to the middlegame, presenting the gospel again, using methods to probe the evangelized, and answering objections. If the evangelized answers "yes," then the endgame begins.


Moves and Methods in the Endgame

As a reminder, moves and methods in the endgame are meant to ensure that the evangelized understands what it means to be saved and how to be saved. The endgame discusses Jesus as Savior, then Jesus as Lord, and finally leading the person in the Sinner's Prayer.


Jesus as Savior

After the evangelized has said he wants to be saved, an excellent question for the evangelized to ask is, "Why?" This question may seem strange, but the soul-winner wants the evangelized to say he wants to be saved because he's a sinner. The question of "Why?" causes the evangelized to want Jesus to save him from his sins and see Jesus as Savior, not merely as a religious figure that will make the evangelized slightly better.


Jesus as Lord

After the evangelized understands he needs Jesus as Savior, the soul-winner wants to lead the evangelized to be willing to submit to Jesus as Lord. Dr. Allison, in his book "Personal Evangelism," writes that asking the evangelized if he's willing to do anything that Jesus asks of him. This question will gauge if the evangelized is willing to submit to the Lordship of Jesus. Another question that can be asked is: "Are you willing to let Jesus convict you of sin and change your sinful habit?" These two questions will help the evangelized understand what confessing Jesus as Lord means.


The Sinner's Prayer

If the evangelized, after those two steps, wants to receive Jesus as Savior and submit to Him as Lord, then the soul-winner can lead the evangelized in a sinner's prayer. Asking the evangelized to use his own words is best, but if he needs help, you can use this one Dr. Allison wrote. "Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I have done wrong. Forgive me of my sins. I believe in you, Jesus. I believe you died on the cross and rose from the dead for me. Come into my life and be my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me, Lord Jesus."



These are only some of the many moves and methods the Text-Driven Soul-Winner can use. These are tools that the soul-winner can use but must never be ruled by. Go and use these moves and methods to share the good news of Jesus Christ!


Article written by Klayton Carson

The "What is the Bible" series is also on the Text-Driven Podcast. You can listen to the Text-Driven Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or at


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