The Paper Cross

Evangelism Tool to Spread the Gospel to the World

"And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end" (Matt 24:14).

I have been using "The Paper Cross" since the early 1990's. Below is an example of how I have applied it to young children, around age 10, teens, and adults. I have even used a sheet of newspaper on a busy side walk and simply announced, "Who wants to see a miracle?" Soon a small crowd gathered and I was asked to "Do it again (& again)!"

IF you show 3 people in 1 week, and they all in turn show 3 more people, and so on, and on, within 19 weeks well over 1 billion people will have shown and told the simple Gospel Story-isn't God good?

My first experience at sharing the "Paper Cross" was when I volunteered to do an RE class at a local school. There were only about 10-12 children in the class (aged about 14). About the third week I decided to tell them the story and show them the "Paper Cross." I had not expected the result, but fortunately I had brought a pack of office paper. They all wanted to fold and tear the paper, over and over again. Soon there was a carpet of paper on the classroom floor. They were so excited. At the end of the class, they each took more paper onto the school grounds and shared it with friends. Next week they told me how they had shown their parents, brothers, and sisters. Likely, the message was passed on to others. (Likely within hours, more than 100 people had heard the Gospel AND knew how to tell others). How quickly the Gospel message can spread when it is presented in a simple easy-to-convey way. Since that time, there have been many opportunities for me to share "The Paper Cross" in Australia and overseas. In every case, no matter who it was (individuals or a few), the response was WOW! It was something they could easily share with others.

Show it to others! Spread the good news. E-mail it, add your name and contact details if you choose. Too often, Christianity is made to be too complicated with manmade rules, procedures, pride, etc. That is not the way Jesus taught it.

One way to introduce this story to people is simply to say, "Would you like to hear a story?"

(As shared by Brian McMichan)

"Today, throughout the world, people are hurting and even killing others who do not believe as they do. In some countries it is prohibited to talk about faith in God.

There was a man living in such a country who was about to be executed for telling others what he believed about God and for refusing to stop telling others.

He told them that killing and hurting people was not how a loving God wanted them to live. Then shared the simple Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus, the Son Of God, came to earth to show people the way to Life with God, and that through His love for all people and His death on the Cross and His resurrection, He paid for all of their wrongdoing and overcame death for everyone.

On the evening before the man's scheduled execution, a senior arresting soldier who had heard what the man had been telling the people, said to him, 'You say that your Jesus loves you and will save you and that He will never leave you or forsake you. You say He died on the Cross for you.'

As he handed the man a sheet of paper, he challenged him, 'We will give your Jesus a chance to save you. If you can make a cross from that piece of paper by tearing it only once, we will release you!'

The next morning the officer came with his armed guards ready to execute the man.

Seeing the piece of paper on the floor of the cell, he laughed and said, 'I see your Jesus has let you down!'

'No He hasn't,' replied the man. 'He has told me what to do.'

Using his right hand, he took the bottom corner of the sheet and carefully folded the bottom edge of the sheet to line up with the long edge. Then with his left hand, he took the point and folded it to line up with the previous crease. Keeping the point on the paper pointing towards him, he turned the folded paper over. With his right hand, creasing from the point to the top of the page, he folded the right hand edge to line up with the other edge. He then folded the right hand edge to line up with the left hand edge. He firmly creased the paper after each fold. He then carefully tore down the length of the folded paper, starting at the centre of the short edge.

He selected the largest piece of torn paper and unfolded it to reveal a cross (a rugged cross). 

The officer and his guards watched in amazement. True to his word, the officer confirmed that because Jesus had enabled a cross to be made, he would free the man.

As the man unfolded all the other pieces, he said, 'You have heard the message of Salvation for all who believe in Jesus. He has now given me a message telling all who refuse to believe in Him where they will spend eternity.' 

He arranged the other pieces of paper to form the word HELL. As he then re-arranged the scraps of paper again, he said, 'But Jesus has given us life and He wants you to have it.' 

He then made the word LIFE (the two slips of paper from H are placed on top of each other - two become one) - Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.

As the officers and the guards read the word LIFE, they eagerly sought to know how they too could be saved.'

John 3:16-18 says, 'For God so greatly loved {and} dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation {and} be made safe {and} sound through Him.'

He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in {and} trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]"

Make copies of these pages and keep them with some blank pages ready to share with others. This is an easy way you can go into the world and preach the (simple) Gospel.

After you have shared the story, the person(s) you have shared with usually will wish to fold and tear a piece of paper for themselves, so have some ready. Give them a copy of these pages. Because children and teens are especially keen to share this with their family and friends (the term most frequently used when they see it is "awesome.")

"Lean on, trust in, {and} be confident in the Lord with all your heart {and} mind and do not rely on your own insight {or} understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, {and} acknowledge Him and He will direct {and} make straight {and} plain your paths" Prov. 3:5-6. 

"For He [God] Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you {nor} give you up {nor} leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless {nor} forsake {nor} let [you] down (relax My hold on you) [Assuredly not!]" Heb. 13:5.

The man in our story knew that Jesus would not let Him down. As he waited in his jail cell he did not worry or frantically seek a way of avoiding execution. He simply trusted in the God who loved him and promised to take care of him and Jesus did not let him down. Jesus also used the circumstance to teach the guards that message.

Brian McMichan
Queensland, Australia 
"If you need a miracle, ask for one and believe! Every behavior is motivated by a belief and every action is prompted by an attitude."

Editor's Note: The Paper Cross is also known as the One-Cut Cross or the Paper-Cutting Cross; both are used respectively in the lessons, Ticket to Heaven and The Story of the Vineyard.

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