People often wonder how to open a Gospel conversation. There's tons of openers on other sites. This page is just going to give a few specifically for opening Gospel conversations, even with strangers. Pick one or two, memorize it, practice it with friends, and/or use it in public in stores. The worst that usually happens is they say they're not interested. Don't let their rejections get you down. God only expects us to attempt those shares, keep improving on that, draws us closer to Christ through it, and rewards every attempt (even No's) later in heaven. Keep running that race! If ever doubting, remember His promises, our hope, to draw strength.
"My name is (name). What's yours? Nice to meet you." or "How are you doing? My name is Jose." or "Excuse me, can I have a minute?"
(Then, make small talk about something you observed, a common topic, or whatever.)
In a service business. Two people talking to a restaurant seater:
"We don't need a table. We're actually going around talking to people. We saw you on your phone and thought you might be bored. So, we're going to entertain you!"
"So nice to meet you." or "Been real cool talking to you." or "Thanks for your time today. I've enjoyed hearing your thoughts on (topics) and getting to know you better."
1. "Have you encountered God before?" Met or experienced God? Encountered Jesus?
This can go one of two ways. By asking about God, you can get their views on spirituality. If you ask about Jesus, they might shut the conversation down faster but you've mentioned His name. I don't know best approach. Starting with God increases the odds you have an actual conversation with them. You can get to know who they are, what they believe, and how to best introduce them to Jesus.
2. "Are you near or far from God right now?"
Most people will say something in the middle. They'll often focus on their works, or things they're doing. You know they need the Gospel if they say anything but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How to get to that question: "Once in my life I was far from God with plenty contempt for others, He changed my life, put love in my heart for God and for others, and now I love to bless others. Especially through prayer. I know He listens to my prayers because I'm close to Him. What would you say, are you near or far from God?" And important follow-up: "Why?" Their answers will hint how to proceed from there.3. "Do you know Jesus? Do you have a relationship with Him?" If they say yes or Lord and Savior, add "what does that mean to you?" to see if it's real Gospel.
This is a head-on question. A missionary told me it works well with foreigners or in places without lots of churches. They might be hearing about Him for the first time. They're often genuinely interested. People that don't want you to share might give you a quicker No with this one. Saves both of you time. If they say "yes," ask follow-up questions to see if they believe in the true Gospel.4. "Have you ever heard the Good News?" (What good news?) "The goodness of God towards you where He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sin." Or something about the Gospel.
This one is really effective at getting attention but can irritate some, too. The opener gets them ready to hear something good. The follow-ups let you immediately deliver a piece of the Gospel to them. I always include Jesus' name so they know who sent us.
This can be an opener, closer (even for No's), or something from your heart. In Dollar General, the first stranger I opened with declined but accepted prayer. He had just lost his Uncle Clarence. Since he said he believed, I offered we pray for his family together. We did it on the spot. Prayer is a powerful tool to show love, build people up, share the Gospel with non-believers, and ask God to intervene in people's problems. God sometimes answers in a way so obvious that it draws both non-believers and straying Christians toward Him. That's also usually an act of mercy He gives to a human being we were just caring for, but couldn't help ourselves. Just knowing He might move in their lives makes offering prayer worth it. In rare cases, they return to you with exciting news. You can enjoy the moment with them, get to know them better, and maybe share Jesus, too.
As an opener:
"Hey, I'm just (activity like shopping) and going around talking to and caring for people in (location). Times are rough so I try to help who I can."
You can attempt the Gospel openers right there. Otherwise, start with prayer. Just modify above to add something like.
"Times are rough so I try to help who I can. May I pray for you? If you could have a miracle from God or He could meaningfully impact your life, what would you ask for?" If they look like they'll say nothing, add, "Maybe it's family, school, health, inner struggle? I'm happy to listen in detail or just in general. Whatever you prefer."
Before leaving, you might offer:
"Before I leave, is there anything I can pray about for you?" Mix that with what's above.
If a rejection, offer them a tract with prayer. My tracts have the Gospel and proof it's true. So, I literally say this with Gospel taking priority over prayer offer:
"(Rejected.) Ok, that's fine. Before I leave, may I give you this (offer tract) that has the Gospel and proof it's true? (Might reach for it.) And is there anything I could pray on for you. If God could impact your life or work a miracle, I'll ask Him for you but what would you ask Him for?" (list examples like family, etc.)
If it's a rejection, I'll remind you that you're mainly exiting since they gave you the red light. Watch their body language carefully as you ask these questions. If they're shaking their head or clear no, just stop immediately to exit politely. We can at least show them a follower of Jesus who behaves respectfully. I normally take a step back as I say "Before I leave" so they know I'm leaving. I offer them the tract as I say it. If they take it, I make the prayer offer either from same position or as I continue to step back slowly. The point being that I'm conveying I heard what they said, respect their wishes, and making a smaller attempt to share on my way out. Most people responded well to this when I was in Walmart, etc approaching strangers.
Many people falsely believe they're supposed to just take some story on blind faith. Whereas, the Bible says God empowers His Word to get results that we experience somehow. I'm experimenting with countering the blind faith myth by straight-up telling them the power of the Gospel. This can be used to open a share or after it to reinforce it. One of these is mine. The other was a Voddie Bauchum gift that I built on and put into the Evidence page.
"The Bible says Jesus is the way, truth, and the life. The only way to God. We know Him through God's Word. He knows nobody is going to just believe some story. In His Word, Jesus says God draws people to Him. He speaks to our hearts where we know they're hearing something true. That there's something convicting or different about it. All we have to do is listen with a humble attitude, humble before God, asking He speak to us. And He will." (If before, may I share the Gospel with you so you can see for yourself? It only takes 3 minutes.) (If after, did anything about that speak to your heart or sound true?)
"Psychology or marketing experts will tell you people will adopt something if it meets their needs or motivations with the advertising tailored to the audience, telling them what they want to hear. The Gospel is a message from 2,000 years ago we share as is, it works against most motivations, and therefore should just disappear. Unless it has power like God says it does. Well, what happened? The Word of God impacted over two billion people from all backgrounds in over 197 countries. Thousands of people groups, men/women, people who used to be transgender, straight/gay, rich/poor, atheists, people who tried everything... all types impacted and transformed by Jesus Christ through His Word. In terms of people, that probably makes the Word both the most powerful and inclusive work ever made. These people also valued who they found so much many even chose death over giving Him up. Isn't something that powerful worth listening to? May I share the Gospel with you?"
(Ok, I just threw this section together. I'll have to work on it later.)
If it went well, offer to get together some time. This can be a meet-up in the same place, lunch somewhere, or an event. Maybe treat them to it. If really open or were Christian, offer to do a Bible study with them. Lead them through the Word of God in a way that lets them see its deeper meaning. Maybe let them pick a topic of their own or from a list. Just invest time in people in ways that let you get to know them, let Jesus show His love through you, and draw people closer to Him. Even those that didn't accept Him are people we got to meet and minister to. We're still multiplying the love of Christ out there with Him working through it in peoples' hearts in ways we might not see.
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