Evangelism: before we start a conversation.

A question we receive periodically is how we start a conversation when it comes to evangelism. Below is an approach to how we do this on this side of the globe.

In the country where we currently are at work, only 0.35% go to a Protestant church. In other words, there is still a lot to do, and we therefore also make choices about how we can use the talents that have been given to us as effectively as possible. The more effective, the better. There is a lot to do and there are only 24 hours in our days as well. Before we often start a conversation, for example, we already check whether the conversation can be a real conversation with real content.

Suppose we have a conversation with someone who is doing very poorly (and most conversations we have fall into that category). The circumstances he / she is in, can be so bad that we ourselves can never give an answer that could be good from a human perspective. Very simply put: we are not God and therefore cannot solve everything / anything. God can do that, so if we want to elaborate on a solution, a conversation about who God is must be possible. So if someone knowingly and immediately indicates that they do not want to hear anything about God, can there be a conversation to begin with??? If so, the choice may be to move on and have a conversation with someone else who is not immediately negative about it.

And, suppose someone has consumed too much alcohol. Then that is not the right time to start a conversation because that conversation would also be “fake” at that moment, and so we do not start it. Another example could be that someone under peer pressure thinks they have to ask for help, but if you ask a little further, that person does not actually seek help at all, but… that peer pressure pushed them to us, although the person actual did not want it to begin with. And there are more things that we exclude. (click)

With those “washing machines” (there are several more, these are just some examples of those) up front, we can be very efficient in the time we have, and we can deal efficiently with the talents we have been given. For example, if someone absolutely does not want to talk about God, we do not see that as a “curse” but as a “blessing”. Better an honest “no” than a false “yes”. And then it comes…

People hate nothing more than you having a hidden agenda / you playing games with them. Sooner or later, they will realize that you have been playing “games” with them, and then the door really closes. We get that. That is why we are very clear about what we do, why and for Whom.

That approach provides opportunities! This also means that we often have good conversations about who God is, even though someone didn’t want to know about it at first. We don’t push anything down anyone’s throat, and just saying that to a person often gives space to have a real conversation. That clarity and honesty seems to close doors, but often opens doors that seemed to be closed before! Yep, that’s something to think about! Be clear and honest about your intentions, and do not hide them. The chance of success in our practice is therefore a lot greater!

Furthermore, it is also easier for us because if someone does not know that you are a Christian, and (fictionally) you have known that person for 10 years, how do you open a conversation about Christ after all that time? That’s quite complicated. It is a lot easier if you are immediately, very honestly, very clear about who you are and what you do, from step 1. That “washes” and “opens doors” that would otherwise remain closed.

And why are we doing that again?

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:14-15

That verse is also part of the “washing machine”. Because you have to tell the Good News. Otherwise it means nothing when we talk about the topic of evangelization. Then you may have a nice conversation with a lot of small talk, but that is not evangelism. A “we’ll see how it goes and if “it” does happen, it will be great” is therefore not the approach we can choose with the verse of Romans 10:14-15 in hand. We therefore try to avoid small talk as much as possible because it quickly becomes ineffective for that purpose if we talk about evangelism. This verse literally states what God asks of us (and you, as Christians), so we do that. Up front, clear and therefore efficient and stress-free.

And then… then the conversation has to begin! And with that, we move on to the next part: how does an evangelism conversation work? (to be continued, that will be online within 2 weeks)