What emotions or thoughts come to mind when you hear the word “evangelism”? Is it excitement about the privilege to tell others the best news they will ever hear? Is it uncertainty about how to go about sharing the Gospel? Is it doubt that God could use you to impact someone’s life? Is it fear of stepping out into potentially awkward and uncomfortable situations or rejection? We have all had these emotions when thinking about sharing our faith. But we don’t have to be uncertain, doubtful, or fearful to share Christ in our everyday lives with people we know or even with strangers.
Airplane evangelism seems to be very popular among Christians. For some reason, Christians become super bold and courageous in sharing Christ when they are flying 30,000 feet above the surface of our planet but we lose that boldness and courage when our feet are planted on the ground. The Gospel is too good to keep to ourselves and sharing it should be a part of our daily lives and not limited to certain situations or airplanes. And we want you to know that sharing Christ with strangers doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or awkward. The Pocket Testament League exists to mobilize and equip Christians to Read, Carry, and Share the Word.
Don Sunshine offers some tips that will help you share Christ with strangers in a non-awkward way in your everyday life.
Evangelism: It's not just for airplanes. 10 Tips to bring up Christ to strangers in a friendly non-awkward way.
1. Pray for God to Open Doors
Sharing Christ can feel awkward and unnatural when you feel like you have to force a conversation or force the Gospel onto an unsuspecting stranger. You might feel like you need to knock down closed doors of people’s hearts to share Christ with them. To overcome this, you must recognize the power of prayer in evangelism especially as it relates to God opening doors for the Gospel. Paul asked the church in Colossae to, “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). Evangelism is awkward when we try busting down doors but it becomes natural when God opens doors for the Gospel. Take the edge off of evangelism by praying every day for God to open doors for you. Pray and you will be amazed at how many opportunities He will open up for you to share Christ in a natural way.
2. Look for Ways to Meet a Need
Be on the lookout to meet a need everywhere you go so you can share the love of Christ with strangers. At the grocery, meet the need of the mom with one child in her arms and one clinging to her leg throwing a tantrum by loading her groceries for her. Be safe and discerning but help someone broken down in the road to push their car out of harm’s way. Randomly pay for a stranger’s lunch or coffee. By now you get the point. There are opportunities to show the love of Christ to people in simple ways throughout the day. As you share the love you also might get the chance to share the Word.
3. Use a Pocket Testament
When we share the Gospel with strangers, we often picture walking up to people on the streets and engaging them in long conversations. That is a good goal but in a busy world that may not happen as often as we would like. It is simple to walk up to a stranger and give them a gift like a pocket-sized Gospel of John from The League. It is even easier to leave them in public places and pray for those who pick them up to read them and trust in Christ. Our pocket testaments give you a quick, simple, non-threatening and easy way to put the Gospel into people’s hands.
4. Show Interest and Respect to the Person
We often approach evangelism by only thinking of people to reach for Jesus as “lost”. This is true but we must also remember that they are “lost people”. The people that we want to share Jesus with are people just like you and me with families, careers, dreams, stresses, problems, heartaches, and fears. They are also people created in the image of God. Don’t just look at those you share Christ with as “projects” to be completed but “people” to be respected, engaged, and loved. Show them you care about them and respect them to gain a platform in their lives for the Gospel. Many confrontations and awkward encounters could be avoided if we showed just a minimal amount of compassion and love towards others when sharing Christ with them.
5. Answer “The Question” Differently
What is “The Question”? We ask others and others ask us “The Question” many times in our day. The question is, “How are you doing?” We usually answer with a simple “fine” or “good”and blow it off. Answering this question differently could open a door for the Gospel. How should you answer the question? By responding, “Better than I deserve.” This will often invoke a curious response as to why you answered the question that way and open a door for an opportunity to share the Gospel by communicating that you don’t deserve God’s love but He has freely given it to you in His Son Jesus. Try it this week and see what happens.
6. Ask Simple Questions
When you engage strangers in conversation, ask them simple questions that will give you an indicator of where they are spiritually. If you meet someone new in town you might ask them, “Have you found a church yet?” You will learn a lot about their spiritual condition depending on their answer. You could also invite them to your church. To engage in conversations simply compliment someone on their car or clothes and ask questions about them such as, “how fast does that car go?” or “where did you get that shirt?” You never know how engaging in simple conversations with people might be God’s way of leading you to share Christ with them.
7. Pray for People Who Serve You
When you are at a restaurant, tell the server that you are about to pray for your meal and ask them if there is anything that you can pray about for them. Most people don’t mind you praying for them and this can often open doors for you to ask more questions about them and share Christ with them. It might also reveal a need in their life that you can possibly meet. Leave them a great tip and even a pocket Gospel when you pay.
8. Share Your Personal Testimony
People love hearing stories about redemption and transformation. Once you engage someone in conversation, you can share your story of God’s work in your life while also saturating it with Gospel truths. This will allow the person to get to know you while also hearing about the transforming power of the Gospel in your life. Take some time to prepare by writing out your testimony and practicing it. Keep is short and sweet and be confident to share the work that God has done in your life.
9. Remember it’s always a Win, Win, Win
We often don’t share the Gospel because we are afraid of the response we are going to get. When the response isn’t what we expected, we can get discouraged and quit trying because we think we are failures. But remember that whenever you share Christ it is never a losing situation. Mark Cahill explains in his book, “One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven”, is that it is always a winning situation regardless of the response or result you get when sharing Christ. If they respond in faith in Christ, then it is obviously a win. If they have no response at all, then you have won by planting a seed. If they respond with hostility and open rejection, then you have still won because God was glorified in the sharing of the Gospel. Trust God with the results and always remember that you win every time you share the Gospel.
10. Just Do It!
Strategies, preparation, and tactics are good and necessary but sometimes you have to just get out and share Christ with people. We all know we need to and we all want to. We can come up with many excuses but at the end of the day we should follow Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT. Sharing Christ is an act of faith. So just step out and be faithful while trusting in a faithful God to lead you and open the hearts of people you encounter in your day. By the way, God has already done some of the work for you as He has already convicted the world of righteousness, sin, and judgment (John 16:18) and has written the law on men’s hearts (Romans 2:15).