Many people today reject moral absolutes, are deeply skeptical of religion, and know very little about the Bible. All of that makes evangelism in this new millennium more difficult than before. Often, people won’t be willing to listen to the Gospel until you’ve first engaged them in conversations that prepare their hearts and minds to hear it. Here are some ways you can use conversations to help people get ready to respond to the Gospel:
View evangelism as a process rather than an event. Sharing your faith is a process that’s best done gradually through a series of conversations with people, building trust with them over time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Drop seeds one at a time.
Pray for more passion. Ask God to give you more passion for lost people so you’ll be motivated to engage them in conversations that relate to their relationship to Christ.
Focus on availability rather than ability. You must remember that it’s the Holy Spirit who ultimately draws people to Christ. Your job is simply to lead them and give them opportunities to respond. If you will make yourself available to God His Spirit will empower you to speak the truth to others. Quit hiding behind “I don’t know enough.”
Ask Questions. Rather than always telling them what they should believe, tactfully ask probing questions in ways that allow them to see the truth for themselves. If someone says, “I’m a pretty good person so I’m going to get into heaven,” you could ask, “What do you mean by ‘good’?” If they say, “All religions are the same,” ask, “How is it possible for all religions to be the same when some of them contradict each other’s key beliefs?” Pray for wisdom to know which issues you should focus on.
Be a builder. Find common ground with the people you’re trying to reach, and use those areas you have in common as the basis for meaningful conversation. Build bridges from a point of shared beliefs toward the Gospel. Build “heart bridges” by showing people how Jesus satisfies the longing of their hearts and helps them realize their hopes. Build “head bridges” by helping people come to understand the Christian faith better.
Always be ready. Be prepared to answer people’s spiritual questions at any time. Realize that opportunities may just come at any time and any place. Use every encounter you have with non-believing friends to help them take another step closer to Christ.
—- Adapted from Conversational Evangelism by Norman Geisler and David Geisler
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship