Gordon MacDonald discusses an approach he takes to nudging people into a spiritual conversation. In a relaxed conversation, he asks, "Would you tell me the main events of your life story, the highs and the lows, in three minutes?" How the person answers is crucial and if our intent is to share Jesus with that friend, we have to pay close attention. Does he talk about past pain? Does he mention more highs or more lows? Does he speak of accomplishments?
Does he mention God in any form or in any way? Pay close attention to that one. And be ready because if you ask your friend for a three-minute, highs and lows, life summary, he'll probably ask you for the same. Share as much as you ask him to share. And maybe the discussion will be an opportunity to talk about God, faith, and most importantly why everyone needs Jesus.
I bring up the matter of evangelism, the sharing of our faith, because it is a Biblical mandate (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). Straight from the mouth of the risen Jesus, we have our walking orders. In Acts, we see early Christians fulfilling this command. Peter, John, Philip, Steven, Barnabas, Paul - they evangelize and they do it effectively. How do we obey Jesus' command to "go and tell," and how do we do it effectively?
MacDonald's question about the 3-minute life story is a good conversation starter. The article in which he shares that technique and other approaches to discipleship & evangelism is free online - http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/communitylife/discipleship/whatdowithstranger.html.
And, California pastor Mike Fleishcmann encourages us to reach out to all people - even those who statistically don't often experience conversion. The old adage is 85% of the people who accept Jesus turn to Him before they turn 18. Adult unbelievers are highly unlikely to accept and then follow Christ. But, we don't give up on them. We pray. We love. We walk alongside. We double our efforts. And we keep evangelism as a high priority. Fleischmann's article is also available and worthy the 10 minutes it will take you to read it. Here's the link - http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/communitylife/evangelism/outsidersfindfaith.html.
In 2008, I challenged my church to develop a personal evangelism strategy. Each of is different from one another and we are sharing our faith with different people. Sometimes an intellectual approach is the way to go. Sometimes emphasizing the forgiveness Jesus offers. Sometimes, an inspiring worship time draws one to the father (I never understood the logic that one couldn't worship until after he was saved). Sometimes someone discovers the heart of God through service (like volunteering for construction type mission strip). It is personal, and there must be intentionality, a strategy. One of our associate pastors teased that this was Rob's "P.E.S. dispenser" (like the Pez candies). Whatever! I don't care how it's labeled. We - believers in all churches - have to be the light of the world that shines as a beacon, drawing lost people into the safe harbor of Jesus.
I hope you'll check out these articles I referenced. They are but a mouse-click away and they ignite in the reader evangelistic thoughts; thoughts we should each entertain each day.