“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thess. 2:8
In part 1 we described the Dreaded Evangelism Zone as a place where you stop being human. Your blood pressure rises, you get tunnel vision, and you just have to get it right..
Ever been there? It doesn’t have to be like that. Relax! Being human is actually an asset.
Ask lots of questions… and then listen
A great way to maintain your humanity in evangelistic conversations is by asking questions. Some of us like to talk a lot. Talking is good, but it’s hard to effectively care for people without listening to them too.
It’s important that you know your strengths and weaknesses here. If you regularly talk too much and listen too little, ask God to give you patience to listen first. If you’re the opposite, ask God to give you conversational energy and freedom to speak for Him. The Holy Spirit loves to give us words to speak about Christ (Acts 4:31). You don’t need to change your personality. But you do need to be willing to speak the gospel. And part of that may be growing in your willingness to talk about yourself — being open enough so that people can see that you’re real, not an evangelism machine, or a perfect Christian who only has one-way conversations.
It might be helpful to ask your unbelieving friends a few of these questions. Try to get to know what their beliefs are, or what sort of background they’re coming from.
- Would you be willing to tell me about your religious background?
- How would you describe the difference between religion and spirituality?
- Why does religion seem negative to so many people, and spirituality so positive?
- Did you grow up going to church?
- If you don’t attend a church anymore, why did you stop going?
- Have you read much of the Bible? What do you find interesting? Hard to understand?
- What would you say is the core message of Christianity?
- So who do you think Jesus really was?
- If you could ask God anything, what would it be?
- How would you describe your spiritual needs?
- What do people in your country generally think about Christianity?
- If you could advise religious leaders, what would you want to tell them?
- What do you wish churches would do in their communities?
- Were there any specific points in your life that you were turned off of God?
If you have a hard time listening, ask these questions and then be quiet. If you have a hard time talking, ask a few of these questions, but then answer them also as you talk together.
The goal is to be like Paul who spoke the gospel…and shared his life as well.