“But I am so afraid to start a conversation,” confessed a pastor during an evangelism coaching conversation.
“I have non-Christian friends, and spend time with them, but I’m so afraid of ruining my friendship.”
Does that describe you, even if you are not a pastor?
To address this fear, let me throw out my list of 7 Habits for Highly Effective Personal Evangelism.
As I live these out, I find evangelism natural and non-destructive.
Practicing these habits knock out a lot of fear.
I’m sure the list would be 10 if I thought long and hard, but these are the first 7 that came to mind as practices in my life.
1. Pray for those apart from Christ
Prayer prepares your heart, and God uses prayer to draw people to Christ.
Not sure how to create a prayer list to help you with that?
When was the last time you prayed through your list of friends?
2. Assess your current friendships regularly
Real simple: Do you have someone with whom you can share your faith?
I regularly review how I spend my time and with whom.
I intentionally cultivate authentic relationships with people who don’t know Christ.
If I don’t have enough non-Christian friends, I look for ways to cultivate some new ones. Always a challenge when a new friend comes to Christ.
3. Look for spiritual thirst
In all my conversations, I look for spiritual thirst.
I have learned to recognize spiritual thirst in how people talk, what they talk about, and how they often initiate a discussion with me.
I’ve come across a tool that can help you see a person’s spiritual thirst. It’s explained at length in Gary Rorhmayer’s book Spiritual Conversations: How to Sustain them without being a jerk.
4. Keep a regular devotional time
Nurture your own relationship with God. Spend time in worship, prayer, fasting, Bible reading. Allow God to speak to you and guide your life.
As you spend time in Scriptures, you’ll be growing spiritually. You’ll be discovering how God is leading you. And often out of the overflow of the current activity of God in your life, you’ll have fresh content to share.
5. Build intentional relationships
Thus, one highly effective habit to be intentional in building deep and authentic relationships.
As you look over your list of friends you are praying for, who do you need to “get to know better” or “spend some time with” this coming week?
I often make some notes after wards if there was some significant spiritual thirst shared with me. I use that in my prayers. I’m often praying for the next step in my friend’s spiritual journey.
6. Debrief every evangelism conversation
Some questions I like to ask myself are:
- “How did God point out that person to you? How did you notice that person?”
- “Where did you notice God was already at work?”
- “What was their spiritual thirst?”
- “What would you do or say differently?”
- “What did you share about Christ?”
- “How can you help that person along in the next step towards Christ?”
7. Make space in your life for impromptu conversations
Phillip had margin in his life for a spontaneous conversation with the Eunuch.
Peter and John had margin in the life to heal the lame man at the gate called beautiful.
Most of us pack such a full day that we don’t have time to notice those spiritually thirsty people whom we encounter.
Leave some room in your life to be available during the day. This happens to me on a regular basis, not all the time.
Let me ask you this?
Do you have a highly effective personal evangelism habit? Share it in the comments.
Better Evangelistic Conversations
Spiritual conversation is an art that you can learn. Over the years, I have learned to have more effective spiritual conversations with serious people searching for “something.”
I have learned and applied these four principles with great effectiveness in helping people discover Jesus.
- To watch for the nudge of the Holy Spirit
- To observe spiritual thirst
- To know where I am in their journey
- To help people take the next steps in their journey to Jesus.
You can learn these same principles and leave the formulas behind.
This Streaming or DVD set, Effective Conversations, is based on the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.