Presentation of the Gospel
I think most Christians would agree that the most difficult thing about sharing their faith is getting started. Most Christians do okay once they get started. It is that fear of beginning that holds them back.
A Supernatural Love
You must realize that the person you are trying to influence for Christ is not your enemy. Jesus looked at people who were lost and said they were sheep without a shepherd. Ask the Lord to give you a supernatural love for that person, no matter how arrogant, belligerent, or cruel the person may be, and no matter how he may treat you or what he may say to you.
Find Common Ground
It is also important to meet the person on his own turf. Jesus was great at establishing rapport or finding common ground with those He met.
He met the woman at the well and talked to her about water. He met Simon Peter down by the lake drying out his nets and talked to him about fishing. Jesus not only stepped on the turf of those He wanted to influence, but He also knew them well enough to talk about the things that interested them.
Be a Student of People
Rather than being the “Answer Man” as you attempt conversation, be a student of people. Ask questions.
Find out what interests them. Ask about their hobbies. Find out about their goals. During the course of your conversation, you will discover things that will help you relate to them. Don’t be in too big a hurry to switch the topic to your point of view. Take time to develop a strong trust relationship with people. They need to know that you will be their friend, even if they reject Jesus.
Most conversations you have will not get around to Jesus unless you steer them in that direction. A statement which takes a conversation from a purely secular topic to a spiritual topic is called a “transitional statement.” Jesus’ comment to the woman at the well is a good example: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). That statement moved their conversation from the secular topic of water to the spiritual topic of living water.
Jesus’ call to Simon Peter was a challenge fishermen understood: “Follow me … and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus moved the conversation from the secular topic of fishing to a spiritual dimension of fishing for men. Making a transitional statement means you start from their point of reference and move the conversation to a whole new plane of thinking.
To help you see how this works, make a list of the topics that most students talk about in school. Your list may include things like cars, girls, boys, s ports, parties, grades, teachers, clothes, popularity, self-worth, purpose, and the future. Through effective transitional statements you can turn these conversations into witnessing encounters.
For example, suppose you meet a student who tells you his father died this weekend. “I hate to think about death,” he says. You could respond with “Boy, that is really too bad!” or you could say something like, “I understand how you feel. I used to be very afraid of death myself.” More than likely he will want know why you are not afraid now. What an opportunity to share with him how your personal relationship with Jesus Christ has answered the question of death for you.
As another example of the transitional statement, imagine that a friend asks you to a party on the weekend. You may reply, “No thanks, but I appreciate your invitation. I have discovered something that is much more meaningful to me than parties.” Your friend asks, “What is that?”
“It is a relationship that I have,” you reply. He immediately assumes it is a boyfriend or girlfriend and wants to know all about it. It gives you a chance to tell about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that He is your reason for living. Transitional statements provide the springboard for your conversation to move into a spiritual dimension, though they are not the only way to move into a conversation.
People will not often come up to you and ask how they can be saved, or born again. Although some of them may wonder about these things, seldom will they bring it up. If you continually wait for them bring up certain topics, you will have very few opportunities to talk to people about Christ. But there are very effective lines that can be used to begin a conversation about Christ.
One frequently used line is: “Sometime, when you have 5 minutes, I would like to tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me.” This line is non-threatening for the Christian saying it, and for the people hearing it. They may think you are going to tell them about a vacation you took or any other number of things. It can become an easy opportunity for you to talk about Christ.
When the two of you do get together for 5 minutes, avoid opening lines that send up red flags to the listener.
Those lines would include things like, “Have you ever been born again?” or “Do you know where you would go if you died today? “People often feel like they are about to be someone’s victim when they hear those lines. Instead, ask them questions about their purpose in life, their future, their self-worth, etc. They will feel that you really care about them and their well-being. You can then move most naturally into your personal testimony of Jesus Christ.
As you begin to share your testimony, be caring and talk from your heart. You could say something like, “I thought having fun was all that life had to offer until I invited Jesus Christ into my heart.” Don’t be so bound to your testimony that the person with whom you are sharing can’t stop you to ask a question. Once you’ve completed your testimony, focus their attention on the cross of Christ.
Following these verses, ask them if they would like to pray right now and accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Your prayer might go something like this:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that You love me and that You died to take away my sin. Today I accept You as Lord and Savior of my life. I want You to come into my life and take away all my sin. From this point on I will live my life for You. I ask You to help me each day to be the finest Christian I can be. I really want You to become the best friend I have in life. I love You, Jesus, and thank You for hearing my prayer.”