Wednesday 17th July 2024

Initiating Gospel Conversations

Often we are encouraged to share the gospel with others, yet we can struggle at first with how, where, when and with whom to start. However, if we know God and are willing to be used by God, He can use us as He wills and the short answer is anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes starting a conversation can be like getting an aircraft off the ground. It is difficult gaining momentum on the runway, though conversation usually runs more smoothly after take-off. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to become all things to all men to save some (1 Cor. 9:22). There are many ways that we can apply this and begin sharing our faith by using a little forethought, preparation and much prayer that can open exciting opportunities for sharing our faith.

At Church

This might sound really obvious; although if there is someone who isn’t saved (there are frequently unregenerate individuals in regular or occasional attendance for various reasons) this could be a great opening. Be on the lookout for newcomers… If you are sat next or near to someone or you go over and talk to them, you could simply ask ‘Did you find that sermon helpful?’ Or alternatively, you could introduce yourself and simply say why you found the teaching useful to you. Religion, work and politics are so often avoided in many contemporary contexts though if you were at a football match it would be perfectly normal to talk about football, if you are listening to an orchestra you would normally discuss music when they have finished playing, so if you have gathered to fellowship, then by all means with gentleness and respect and without forcing your points, expound in a natural way the hope for the reason within you.

At the workplace

This can be difficult where there is hostility, though you can use people’s general questions as a springboard to share your faith. The ‘how was your weekend?’ question can be answered by describing what you did at the barbecue and that you caught up with friends and then a quick summary of what you did or learnt whilst you met at your local congregation. The response can often be surprisingly positive and can remind others of when they went to Sunday school years ago or they may recall a verse or teaching that affected them or that was lodged in their minds from many years previously. Or you may want to say that you have read a really good book and share a few thoughts from it, especially if your colleague enjoys reading.

On journeys

Train and plane journeys often present opportunities and it is worthwhile having tracts ready either in your coat or bag pockets. Some people love to talk so let them talk for a good while; listen carefully and then ask them what they think about spiritual matters. If people ask you about what plans you have for the coming week explain a little about your faith and how that will affect what you do. If there is an astonishing view in the clouds outside of the plane or outside the train window, comment on it and state how the heavens declare the glory of God.

When abroad

Depending on the location, some cultures are much more willing to state what they believe and why they believe than others. One opening question might be ‘Where do you think you will be in one hundred years from now?’ Often buying something in a culture where items are bartered for involves a longer conversation than you would normally have at home and time scales are less hectic, so following a purchase, take a few minutes to share your faith. There may well be openness on the other party’s behalf to at least listen. If they say they are from another faith, say that is interesting, and ask them what they believe and if they have assurance of where they are going. If they ask about your culture of country, well why not tell them about your faith and how you fellowship with others in that context?

In Education

This could be school, college, further education, adult education, professional courses, mandatory training or an evening class. Subjects such as religious education, philosophy, sociology or theology may well present natural openings and the chance to say something. Any subject involving ethical decisions and the value of human life again afford great opportunities. But sharing something of the gospel need not be limited to subjects that openly discuss religion and ethics. It would be helpful to have an interest of hobby to do outside of regular church related ministry and use that as a means to meet unsaved people and to reach them also.

When someone has completed a job for you

If someone is cutting your hair then you have a captive audience for the duration of your appointment. It is normal for them to ask questions so why not be ready to share something from Scripture, of your testimony or to ask questions that will provoke thought. If someone has carried out some work on your car or fixed something in the house then pay the invoice and give them a tract and say something along the lives of ‘and this is something for your soul’..

Relate the natural to the supernatural

Scripture abounds with parables and metaphors from gardening and agriculture. If you work or have an interest in gardening, farming or anything agricultural there are many ways that you can use examples from seeds, sowing, soil, fruit, trees to relate to a parable or something from scripture. I remember when I was six, I was helping Dad in the garden and he explained the gospel very simply while we were planting potatoes and started along the lines of, as the vine dies, other potatoes are able to live and grow.

When people approach you

How many times have we been approached by someone from the Jehovah’s Witness or Mormons? Asking them about their assurance of salvation can help them to think outside the box of standard responses to standard questions. Consequently it may result in a divine appointment rather than an awkward situation! Similarly if you are stopped by a Market Researcher and have the time, after answering their questions, ask them if you ask them a few questions and leave them with a tract, a website or a scripture reference.

Online

Some people are reluctant to discuss personal beliefs when others are around or because of cultural barriers or they may be wary of appearing ignorant or causing an upset. If you have been witnessing to someone and the conversation has gone so far and they need to go somewhere, you could give them your email address. This can give them time to think through what you have discussed and most importantly provide a means of follow up. Many people that have come to faith have observed that God may have used a number of people or occasions when others have shared their faith and when the gospel is first explained it is inevitably in massive conflict with their current worldview.

Use all means to save some

Paul varied his approach according to who he was sharing the gospel with and how he shared his faith. Though the message must remain and contain the same uncompromising biblical truth of the gospel, the means of making that message known needs to be carefully considered to reach those who need to receive the gospel. Always bear in mind that the message is astonishingly good and vital news and is unequivocally beneficial for them to hear, irrespective of their response. Though someone requiring immediate surgery may be troubled to hear about their detrimental health condition, knowledge and awareness of that condition needs to be explained so that they can be saved and that they can be brought to the only One who can save them.

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