Conversational Evangelism: 3 Steps to guide conversations

by Mar 23, 2023Evangelism Training

Conversational Evangelism means using everyday conversations to share our faith.

When we share the gospel via conversation, it can be a safe environment for someone to share their hesitations or concerns. It can also allow us to connect with someone and contextualize the hope of Jesus to their life. But sometimes, Conversational Evangelism can turn into an aimless spiritual talk. How can we winsomely share the Gospel?

Here are three steps to help guide you:

1. Ask

Any good conversationalist you meet will also be a great “question-asker.” A conversation without questions would be pretty weird. Imagine getting to know someone without being asked or asking any questions! In Conversational Evangelism, questions are irreplaceable.

The role of questions is similar to the steering wheel of a car. In the middle of my empty church’s parking lot, I remember my mom saying, “You don’t really need to crank the wheel like you see in movies. Just slightly move the wheel in the direction you need to go.” Questions are the same way.

If you have the time to ask one question, you’ll most likely be able to ask another. (If you don’t have much time, Confrontational Evangelism might be a better approach.) Try to get to know the person by asking general questions.

At some point throughout the conversation, you’ll want to shift to spiritual things. Having a question or two in your back pocket for this transition can make all the difference.

Here are two of my favorite questions to ask for this transition:

  • “Do you go to a church around here?”
  • “I believe Jesus hears & answers our prayers. Is there anything I can pray for you about?”

But questions do more than guide the conversation, they can help you connect. Well, as long as you listen…

2. Listen

Whenever you ask questions, listen to the answer. While this might seem obvious, listening is rare in today’s society.

I’ve played basketball my entire life. When playing defense, the best way to guard someone is by mirroring their movements. Essentially, whenever someone moves right, I move with them. Listening is the same way.

When someone shares something, try to show them you are following them. Two of the best ways to do this are through non-verbal communication (eye contact, head-nodding, etc.) & short, brief verbal statements (“okay… yes… wow…”).  Along with knowing what to do, it can be helpful to know what not to do in order to listen well.

Sometimes we can start thinking about how to respond instead of listening. Although it may be tempting to think about what to say next, fight to listen well. By listening to them, you can show them that they have value.

3. Speak

The end goal of all evangelism is for the person to place their trust in Christ. After asking questions and listening to their answers, you ought to speak. As you continuously pray, seek to share the good news of Jesus & what it means for them.

The key points of the Gospel are:

  • The Love of God
  • The Problem & Penalty of Sin
  • The Remedy of Sin

These ideas can be seen and summarized in Larry Moyer’s classic statement, “The gospel is Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead.

Sometimes a transition statement can be helpful. For example, “Thanks for telling me what you think about Jesus. Can I share with you what I believe?”

You might not get to or through the gospel in your conversation for various reasons. For example, someone might walk away or cut you off or start asking questions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

A helpful tip

One of the most helpful tips in Conversational Evangelism is to be yourself. Now, I don’t mean be sinful, rude, crass, or anything of that sort. I also don’t mean to be self-reliant or self-righteous. Rather, I mean use the personality and skillsets God has given you. You don’t need to suddenly become a stand-up comedian if you’re not cracking jokes outside an evangelistic conversation. Be yourself, your new self being made new in the likeness of God for the glory of God.

By using these three steps and leveraging your personality, skillsets, and design, seek to steer your conversations this week towards the Gospel. You never know what God might do in your everyday encounters.