Conference to discuss redemptive relationships

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Conference to discuss redemptive relationships

Musgrave earned an undergraduate degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 2013, both from BJU. Photo submitted by Musgrave

Dr. Jeff Musgrave, an evangelist from Parker, Colorado, will speak at Bob Jones University’s evangelism conference, which will be held during the chapel hour Monday through Wednesday, April 26-28.

Musgrave was invited to be the sole speaker by BJU president Dr. Steve Pettit, Musgrave’s friend of many years.

Musgrave said he hopes to motivate students to be a witness for Christ. “My desire is to really help young people . . . capture a vision for how God could use them to impact their world with the Gospel,” he said.

On the first day, Musgrave said he will lay out his philosophy for witnessing, a model based on talking and listening to potential converts. The evangelist believes relationship-based gospel conversations have a much higher chance of receiving a positive reception, pointing to a survey that found 62% of those in their 20s would be willing to study the Bible with a friend.

“If I want to talk to someone from my heart, I’m going to be much more effective at doing that if I let a person be close to me and trust me,” Musgrave said. Steps to build that trust will be a key focus of his first message. According to the evangelist, listening to other people and showing them respect are crucial.

“[Listening means] giving them your heart, giving them your ear and letting them know that you care about them,” Musgrave said. “Shared experiences plus respect equals trust.” Musgrave said it takes different amounts of time to build trust with different people. Believers can tell when unbelievers trust them enough to have redemptive conversations by examining what topics they are comfortable talking about, according to Musgrave.

“[Listening means] giving them your heart, giving them your ear and letting them know that you care about them.” — Dr. Musgrave

“The heart has certain soul needs . . . and when a person begins to talk from those soul needs, it’s much easier to talk to them about their need for Jesus,” Musgrave said. “You can simply say, ‘It’s my relationship with God that helps me with that need. Can I tell you about Him?’” Musgrave considers loneliness, emptiness, fear, love and guilt to be the five easiest soul needs to identify.

Musgrave stressed the importance of following up evangelism with discipleship to help new converts. The evangelist compared not discipling new believers to parents who give birth to a baby but then decide the child is no longer their responsibility. “Look at a baby Christian who has just put their faith in the Lord and recognize that they are in that vulnerable place . . . in which they don’t have the tools they need to develop themselves,” he said. “They need a caregiver, just like an infant needs a caregiver.” Without a more mature Christian advising them, Musgrave believes it is hard for baby Christians to grow spiritually.

On the second day of the conference, Musgrave plans to demonstrate how to use The Exchange Message App, an interactive digital tract for witnessing created by his organization, The Exchange, to share the Gospel with someone. Anyone curious about the app can download it from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store.

Musgrave earned an undergraduate degree in 1980 and a doctorate
in 2013, both from BJU. Photo submitted by Musgrave

On the final day, Musgrave will challenge students to act on their faith by fulfilling the Great Commission, wrapping up the conference with application.

Musgrave planted Highlands Baptist Church in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, where he served as pastor for 23 years. In 2010, the evangelist transitioned from leading the church to founding The Exchange, an organization dedicated to helping Christians fulfill the Great Commission. According to the organization’s website, “The Exchange seeks to raise up believers who are confident in using the most effective means of evangelism the world has ever seen—relationships.”

Musgrave travels for three weeks each month, speaking at evangelism seminars in churches across the world. He also wrote a four-book series of evangelistic and discipleship Bible studies bearing the same name as his organization.

Musgrave spoke at BJU’s evangelism conference in April 2016 as well.

Musgrave acknowledges he will have to fight end-of-semester distractions for students’ attention during the brief chapel services. “I’m aiming at a specific group of people—those with a genuine heart who want to be used of God,” he said. “I want to give them hope that God can use them. I want to introduce them to some tools that I believe will be a help to them as they try to interact with the Gospel.”