A lot of people say they hold back on sharing the gospel with strangers because they wouldn't know what to say or they're afraid they will get a question they cannot handle. I struggle more with starting the conversation. I'm a quiet person by nature. I don't start a lot of conversations. I can handle silence in a room, so I don't usually fill it in with conversation either. With this in view, approaching people and starting a conversation about the gospel has really been a struggle for me. I had to learn how to share the gospel, and I had to learn how to start a conversation in general.
Here's a few of the ideas that have helped me get in the mindset of starting a conversation.
- When walking down the street or in a public venue, I look people in the eye.
- As I'm walking and looking people in the eye, I smile at them.
- I say "hello" to strangers as I walk by them.
- If I'm standing behind someone in a line at the checkout and I observe something unusual about them, I say it out loud and ask questions if appropriate (Example: "Wow. That's a lot of eggs. I'm curious what someone would do with so many eggs.")
- If someone has a tattoo, I ask about it. ("Hmmm, that's an interesting tattoo. Tell me what it means?")
- Because I am hesitant to start a conversation with other people, if a stranger starts a conversation with me, no matter what the subject, I make sure they walk away from me with a gospel tract in their hand (usually the one I wrote). It feels less intrusive to me if they started talking to me, so I try not to miss the opportunity that God has laid in my lap.
- Stay in God's Word constantly, so you are prepared for the opportunities He gives you.
- I try to deal with sin quickly by confessing it and looking to the cross for my help. If I am ignoring sin in my life, I am likely to avoid my Bible. If I am ignoring sin in my life, I am likely to pass up an opportunity to evangelize because I think to myself, "Who I am to tell them what to do."
Those are a few tips that have helped me to get in the pattern of starting conversations with other people. When I'm out seeking to evangelize and that is my sole purpose for the evening, I still have to start the conversation from scratch, and there's still a level of awkwardness to it, but developing the habit of engaging in conversation has made the process easier for me.