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Francis of Assai said “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.”  Our whole lives are opportunities to demonstrate God and His power to save and transform.  But there are times when WORDS are necessary to communicate the message of salvation.  People usually don’t learn about the Good News by osmosis!

As Christians everyday we encounter people who may need to know the Good News about God.  How do we go from “ordinary” conversation to talking about God?

And how do we go and talk to complete strangers about God?

People are hungry for encounter with the real God.  Within each person is a desire for forgiveness and innocence.   Salvation isn’t an optional extra for life, it is a necessary essential, just as a parachute is a necessary essential for people about to jump out of a plane.  As saved people we are called to tell others about the wonderful kindness and eternal rescue that we have experienced.  God didn’t give the job to the angels but He gave it those who live the Gospel to tell the Gospel.

“Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.” Keith Wright

We are called and empowered by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to GO but sometimes taking that first step can be the hardest obstacle to get over.

Here are a few simple things that we can do or know that can set us up for successful conversations about God with strangers.

Know what The Message is.

We don’t need to be Bible scholars, able to exegesis about the greater meaning of the third toe on the beasts left foot, but I think it is important to know your Bible – for personal reasons, you’re learning not just facts about God, but you are learning His promises and guidance for your own life, but also so that you have some answers to peoples questions.

1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have

Some people have religious backgrounds, others have studied philosophy and in this postmodern age everyone has an opinion on spirituality but the Word of God reveals to us WHO God really is and WHAT He has really done.   The answers found in the Bible will challenge and convict and get all the way in because they are just not ordinary words but contain power from God.

Know WHAT the Gospel is.  What did Jesus do and why?  Prepare yourself to answer people’s questions.

And perhaps more importantly – believe it.  Know it and believe it.

Know who YOU are, and what your style is.

Really?  Yes really.  In a way we’re all tailor-made with keys and strategies that help communicate the Gospel.   I’m not talking about just personality and being an extravert, but about a way of connecting with people and communicating the Gospel.

For myself, if I am out talking to strangers along Eastern Beach I often start with the question “Are you interested in God?”  This was a question and strategy that God gave me one morning while I was praying that I have found very effective.  Most people ARE interested in spiritual things!

I asked some of my evangelistically wired friends what they do when talking to pre Christians, if they had a personal style in evangelism.  One friend replied that he likes to use creation and science to open peoples eyes to the reality of God.  Another likes to pray and introduce people to God through Holy Spirit encounter.  Ray Comfort, international evangelist, uses the 10 commandments and tracts to communicate the need for a Saviour.

Discover your own personal style and then flow with that.

Recognize conversation TRANSITIONS

This is especially important in everyday interactions and conversations with friends, workmates etc, but can also play an important part in talking to complete strangers in an evangelism context.   Learn to recognize the moments in a conversation where you can talk about God, or flow the conversation in another direction.   Learn how to ask open questions about what they believe and then reply with your own testimony.  It takes practice to learn how to do this, and often in hindsight you can more clearly identify something that could have springboarded into talking about God.

It’s a PROCESS

Revival is about as much of a miracle as a crop of wheat. If you don’t plow, sow, water and reap you will never see a revival. If you plant the seed God has given you and pray over the place where you live and partner with the Holy Spirit you will watch God move in your region this year.  Andrew Robertson

Remember – our job is to plant seeds and water seeds others have planted – it is God who grows the plant!  Every conversation you have is doing something!   Each time you talk to someone God is doing something.  He is doing a hidden work in their hearts to draw them to Himself.

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Just do it!  Just start.  Fight the fear and just do it.  When the opportunity arises to go to the beach with someone to invite people to church go along and join in.  Go and watch someone in action.   Some people are wired to love evangelism and talking to strangers, but most people aren’t.  There is no out clause on the Great Commission though.  It’s totally fine to feel nervous about stepping out.  But don’t let that restrict you.  Overcome the fear.   It’s easier than you expect.

Above all else, it goes almost without saying, be in love with Jesus and know His everlasting love for you.  Be always falling more in love with Him and be transformed by His power.  This will be communicated, without words, to those you talk to and are with each day.

Evangelism is simply sharing what you’ve been shown. Simple. Let’s not complicate it.  We are called to be witnesses and ambassadors of the Good News of salvation, found only in Jesus Christ.  Let’s get out there and do it – there is a whole world ready to hear!