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Leadership 2009



Big-Picture Evangelism
A new tool that emphasizes transformation and not just decision.

James Choung is director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's San Diego Division. His book True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In (IVP, 2008) introduces an evangelistic tool called "The Big Story." The four-circle diagram explains the gospel in four phrases: designed for good, damaged by evil, restored for better, and sent together to heal. asked Choung about his diagram and why he believes the church must share a broader gospel message.

How are the four circles of "The Big Story" different from The Four Spiritual Laws?

The Four Spiritual Laws was a great tool a generation ago. It was really an attempt to help nominal Christians. It was an invitation back into a relationship with God through Jesus, but it seemed to make everything about the individual. "The Big Story" tries instead to recapture a more communal, social focus. It also emphasizes transformation more than decision and the "mission life" more than just the afterlife.

We hope that, through these shifts, "The Big Story" will capture a larger picture of what the Bible is saying, what Jesus is saying. We're trying to present the biblical worldview in as simple a way as possible.

Is there a danger of shortchanging the atonement in this diagram?

I don't think so. The atonement doesn't just cover a person's individual salvation. I love the way Colossians 1 puts it—how all things under heaven and on earth are reconciled back to God through Jesus' blood shed on the cross. So I just think that it actually expands the atonement. It makes it even better news, even broader in its scope. It means that everything that isn't right on the planet can actually be put right through Jesus' blood shed on the cross.

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