I think most popular forms of presenting the Gospel begin with a question like, "If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?"
That is an important question. A crucial question. And I think in times past – an effective question. It's just not one people are asking or interested in answering.
I'm just not sure it is an effective approach these days. I don't know that people in our culture think about death, much less what happens when you die. They think about it at a funeral, and they hate funerals and can't wait for them to be over and think about something else.
But if the best strategy you have for presenting the Gospel is "If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven or hell?" – then I doubt you've had much success.
Although people's eternal destiny is crucial, perhaps we need to begin where they are living. Instead of asking, "if you were to die tonight…" Maybe we need to ask what they are living for? If we are trying to answer questions they aren't asking, they won't stick around for the answer.
Maybe we need to help them see how life makes sense only under the banner of biblical theology. Maybe when they see the difference Christ makes in our lives today, they will be more willing to hear how He makes a difference for eternity.
When I was growing up, I felt like all I heard from guest speakers at my church was, "What if you died tonight, where would you go?" That's still a good question, but I'm not sure anyone is asking it who doesn't know Christ. And if no one is asking it, how effective is it? Maybe we should ask, "What if you wake up tomorrow in this rotten world, with people dying around you? How do you live?"
Just a thought.