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Using Bridges and Barriers Obstacles to and Opportunities for Sharing the Gospel...

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using bridges and barriers

Using Bridges and Barriers

Obstacles to and Opportunities for Sharing the Gospel...


Worldview issues, along with basic doctrinal truths for salvation, give us clues on how to effectively bring a people from where they are in their spiritual interests and beliefs to a saving knowledge and belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savoir.

Two Important Elements of Worldview are Bridges and Barriers


Bridges deal with those aspects of culture, religion, knowledge and interests that can have a positive influence on a person’s consideration of the Gospel.

Interest comes as the one deals with issues deemed important or significant to the people in their worldview.


Bridges often provide openings for greater interest and relevancy of the message to a person’s worldview.

They are God-given opportunities for witness in which a bridge occurs consisting of an existing interest, concept, concern, situation or other factor which predisposes a person to the Gospel.


Bridges to the Gospel

  • Dreams and visions about Jesus
  • Brokenness due to physical, social, or spiritual causes
  • Testimonies from peers or respected persons
  • Redemptive analogies
  • Cultural stories that parallel the Bible
  • Desire for relief from fear, danger, oppression, etc.
  • Moral or spiritual desire for a better way
  • Exposure to persistent and persuasive media messages
  • Desire for literacy, English as a second language, etc.
  • Curiosity about what the Bible says and teaches
  • Prior knowledge about God, Jesus, Christianity
  • A “failed” religion

Barriers develop from one’s experiences, circumstances and reasoning. What a person sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and experiences during his life becomes part of his thinking and value system.

These become a set of filters through which a person processes, interprets, evaluates, accepts or rejects information.


Barriersdeal with the negative aspects of culture, religion, knowledge, interest and other influences that hinder a listener in his hearing, understanding or acting upon the message of the Gospel.

These issues require more emphasis to disarm them, demolish them, or otherwise nullify the barrier as a hindrance. Not knowing significant barriers can mean ineffective sharing while failing to deal with the real stumbling block issues.


Not all barriers require up-front assault. Deal initially with spiritual barriers and only those necessary to move the Bible story toward the cross.

Some worldview issues can be better dealt with later during discipleship lessons after a basis for a changed life has been established.


Types of Barriers to the Gospel

  • Religious Barriers: cultic beliefs and doctrines; religious persecution.
  • Intellectual Barriers: barriers of the mind, including reasoning ability, philosophies, principles, logic, literacy, thought processes, words and terms that affect one’s understanding of biblical truth.
  • Heart Barriers: worldly affection that prevents one from loving God and truth- love of money, pleasures, sex,vice, worldly concerns and honors.
  • Supernatural Barriers: demon possession, spirit mediums, witchcraft, charms, meditation, spiritism.
  • Physical Barriers: physical and mental defects, deaf mute, poverty, hunger, sickness.

Social Barriers: family persecution, gangs, peer pressure, prostitution, status, power.

  • Psychological Barriers: shame, phobias, biases, insanity, complexes.
  • Artificial Barriers: caused by lack of cultural knowledge, use of wrong words, bad habits, lack of discipline, insensitivity to needs, prejudices, lack of respect, indifference.
  • “Believers” Barriers: caused by Christians living an irresponsible Christian life.
  • Language Barriers: misunderstandings caused by not being able to present the Gospel in the heart language of the people.

General Worldview Barriers to the Gospel

  • Ignorance of Spiritual Truth
  • Apathy: resignation to fate; moral insensitivity; secularism
  • Cultural Traditions: which conflict with God’s Word and not consistent with Christianity
  • Religious Beliefs and Practices
  • Nominalism: Christian by birth; self righteousness
  • Fear of Persecution
  • Fear of Losing Material or Social Benefits
  • Fear of Disturbing Community Harmony
  • Fear of Disturbing Spirit World
  • Misinformation about Christianity, Biases

Learn about bridges and barriers from your study of the target population. Look for the trends and general characteristics within culture, taking time to interview or dialog with representatives of the people.

Talk with those who have made recent decisions for Christ to see what their turning points were and what attracted them to the message of the Gospel.


In short, look at their total culture and think about issues they will have to deal with in becoming believers.

constructing a simple worldview

Constructing a Simple Worldview

Through the Discovery of Barriers to the Gospel


Following are some questions and topics you will want to explore among the target people you work with in order to arrive at a workable barriers to the Gospel list. (At the same time, you will be able to begin constructing an adequate Worldview of the same people.) You will also want to look at the list of general barriers, since there is often a relationship between the spiritual issues and other worldview issues.


Then you are ready to select some older person to talk with who would likely know myths, religious beliefs and taboos. Engage in a conversation about origins and the spirit world. Listen for clues to explore later. Ask what they do when things happen that need changing. Do they seek to appease some deity? How do they relate to the spirit world? Talk with both men and women about their world.


Then consider the issues that need further exploring.Look over the lists of worldview issues, barriers and bridges. Make your own list of questions to those issues you don’t have information about. Remember, you are looking for those issues which are stumbling blocks to hearing the Gospel, understanding, it, believing it, and acting upon what the Bible teaches about salvation.


Also look for any evidences of prior knowledge, especially misconceptions and deliberate misinformation the people may have about the Bible, the Godhead, Jesus, and Christianity.


Before you spend a lot of time asking questions, you should:

First think about all the things you have observed and heard that characterize the spiritual beliefs of you target people.

Next, look for sources of information that have been published about your people and their belief system and practices.