Methods of effective evangelism have changed over the years. For example, in the 70’s, EvanTell found that weeklong crusades in churches were very successful, but today it’s often hard to get an unbeliever to visit a church. People also seem less likely to read a tract. Others have grown tired of shirts and bumper stickers with “cheesy” Christian slogans. And, still others are turned off to the gospel because of a perceived hyper-focus on politics in Christian circles.
Does this mean that people aren’t approachable? Certainly not, but it does mean our strategy may need to change. Perhaps we need to think differently.
With this in mind, how can we open the door for spiritual conversations?
The simple answer: Show love for your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and community through the art of hospitality.
Set aside time to welcome others into your life—whether it be through a meal in your home, a meeting in a coffee shop, going to a play or movie, or a walk around the park. Hospitality doesn’t mean your home looks spotless or your meals rival a gourmet chef, but it should mean you are willing to enter into authentic engagement with others.
Sometimes, it’s surprising what sparks a conversation about spiritual topics: a picture on a wall, a book on a table, a magnet on your fridge, or a mug in your cabinet. The truth is that when we engage with unbelievers, they can’t help but notice the subtle clues pointing toward our faith. But for that to happen, we must first invite them into our lives.
Here are a few creative suggestions:
Host a movie night in your home or backyard:
- Make something simple like popcorn or ask your guests to bring snacks.
- Fill a jar with ice-breaker questions pertaining to the spiritual themes in the movie for discussion starters before (general questions without spoilers) or afterward (specific questions about parts of the movie).
Invite your neighbors to go with you to help at a homeless shelter or hand out warm beverages on a cold, winter night. This allows you to demonstrate Christ’s love both to the homeless and to your neighbor.
Attend a performance in which your neighbor or co-worker’s child plays a part and bring them flowers—this can be a meaningful way to show your desire to build a deeper relationship, one that may lead to the opportunity to discuss the most important person in your own life, Jesus Christ.
Educate yourself on cultural events in your community such as annual parades, festivals, shows, fairs, etc. Choose some to participate in and invite others to join you.
Volunteer in an area of your community that matches your interests, such as: coaching a little league team, or volunteering at a local museum, park, or school.
When you wish someone a “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, go above and beyond. Don’t just post a quick phrase or a picture of a cake. Write an encouraging message about why you are thankful God put them in your life or perhaps even post a short, encouraging prayer.
When you go out to eat, ask your waiter or waitress if they have any prayer requests before your mealtime prayer.
Offer to do yard work for an elderly neighbor or mow someone’s yard while they are on vacation.
Let your kids invite over the neighborhood kids or their classmates. Keep your fridge or pantry stocked with snacks for visitors. Let your home be known as a safe haven.
- When cult members come knocking on your door, answer and use the opportunity to share your testimony. If you struggle with what to say, keep a stack of gospel tracts or literature near your door and ask to read and discuss your own pamphlet with them.