I had been a disciple of Jesus Christ for less than a year when I first heard "the gospel question." It was May 1988, and I was spending the summer following my freshmen year of college working as a counselor at a Christian sports camp in the Missouri Ozarks.

Before the campers showed up, we counselors arrived early for a week of preparation and training. After long days of physical labor, we would gather in the evening to worship and listen to teaching designed to prepare us to lead our young charges toward God and athletic excellence. The topics ranged from end-times prophecies to prayer, sex and dating to evangelism and discipleship—all in the context of learning to throw a tight spiral, land a back handspring, or field a grounder.

On one such night the camp director stood before several hundred of us and asked the gospel question. Not the proverbial, "If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure where you would spend eternity?" Instead he said, "If ...

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