Here’s a tool that uses a simple piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper to interest people and explain the gospel.
The Paper-Folding Evangelistic Illustration – by Dean Chollar
Note: There are 2 parts on this document. 1) The instructions on how to fold the paper and 2) The text of what to say as you fold it
Folding Instructions for the Paper-folding Evangelistic Illustration
- The Sail:
Take an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper. (Or any kind of rectangular shaped paper usually works.) Hold it vertically. Then take the top right corner and fold it 45 degrees so that it is even with the left side of the paper. This should then look like a sail on a sail boat.
Now take the left top corner and fold it 45 degrees evenly to the right side of the page. It should now look like a simple and symmetrical house with a pointed roof on top.
- The Airplane:
Now fold the left side of the house evenly down the middle vertically to the right side of the house and the fold should then be from the peak of the roof to the middle of the base of the house. You are starting to build an airplane. So now fold the sides down to make the wings. The wings should be very even. The body of the plane should be about 1-inch-high and the wings should be a bit more than 50 percent below the bottom edge of the body of the plane. The body of the plane should be even in height in the front and the back. About an inch. So now it looks like a regular paper airplane.
- The Rocket:
Now carefully tear off or cut with scissors the wings along the fold leaving just the body of the plane. This should then look like a rocket.
Now if you did it correctly, unfold carefully the rocket portion that is left.
You should have the shape of a cross.
Text for explaining the Paper-Folding Evangelistic Illustration
Intro: Can I show you something I learned? It’s about a very important question we all need to know: Just what do we have to do to get to Heaven?
- (The Sail)
When I fold the paper this way, it looks like a sail from a sail boat, right? Can you get to heaven by sailing in a sail boat? Of course not! In the same way, some people think that “being good” is the way to heaven. But this is not the way to heaven. Just as you can’t get to heaven by a sail boat, in the same way you can’t get to heaven by being good. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned, and come short of God’s perfection. You may be a very good person, but none of us are perfect. And God’s perfect heaven will be polluted if he lets us in with our imperfections.
- (The House)
So when I fold the paper this way, it looks like a house. God wants you to come to heaven and live in His house. In John 14:1 Jesus says about heaven, that he is going to prepare a place for us and that in his Father’s house, there are many rooms. So how does one get to God’s house in His perfect heaven? Hmmm…
- (The Airplane)
Now our paper looks like an airplane. Can we get to heaven by riding in an airplane? No, of course not. For some, the airplane may represent “keeping the 10 commandments, or going to church, or being baptized.” You know, religious stuff. But just as we cannot get to heaven by an airplane, so it is that we cannot get to heaven by religious activities or other efforts on our part. Ephesians 2:8, 9 says: For by grace (a gift) are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works lest anyone should boast.
- (The Rocket)
Now our paper looks like a rocket, right? Will a rocket get us to heaven? Of course not! Now some may think, if I just dedicate myself to God and surrender or give Him my life in a powerful way like a rocket, this will get me to heaven. But who has done this completely? No, we can’t get to heaven by a rocket or doing something for God. Our good works cannot remove our sin. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us….” (For young children you might want to use goodness instead of righteousness, and explain mercy as God’s kindness.)
So how DO we get to heaven?
- (The Cross)
And as we unfold our paper, we see that now we have the true way to heaven – the cross. You see, it’s through the cross of Christ Who died for our sins on a cross and rose from the dead. He is the one who paid it all and offers us eternal life in heaven with Him as a free gift by His grace. He has done the work needed to pay for all sin and nothing we can do can remove that sin. He took our sins (imperfections) on Himself, and paid for them. Only by trusting in Him can we enter heaven as His child. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (that’s you), that He gave His One and only Son (that’s Jesus), that whosoever believes (trusts) in Him (that’s Jesus), shall not perish but have eternal life.“
Would you now believe, or place your trust in Christ alone, apart from your good works? If so, God will guarantee you eternal life in heaven with him. I John 5:13 says “These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”