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First things first: - I Ask myself, "Glenn, are you motivated by love?--if not, keep your mouth shut until you are. - I ask my self, "Glenn, how do you know this person is an unbeliever? * Because I saw him drink a beer, heard him speak a curse word, lie and cheat. Because I never see him go to church? Because he is in jail? This is a poor, albeit judgmental approach Glenn-- Stop it! I ASSUME THAT EVERY PERSON I SPEAK WITH KNOWS AND LOVES JESUS MORE THAN ME. I don't meet unbelievers. I discover by their own testimony what their relationship to God is. I might ask them how old they were when they received Jesus. I might ask them the greatest blessing they have ever known from God. I might pray with them concerning a particular prayer request. I almost always leave the words church and religion out. That's right. Because church and religion becomes a mask and deflector. They disguise themselves and parade as the relationship with God they are not. Being religious or "spiritual" or attending church does not make one, nor prove one a Christian. My task with everyone I meet is to be a loving servant who doesn't pre-judge or assume by appearance. If they are not a Christian--better that they discover and acknowledge it than be "informed" by someone who is neither qualified nor responsible for such information. My job is to communicate love in the form of humility. I am not better than anyone, though I may well be better off as a Christian. Who I am and my attitude about grace freely given to me will precede and dominate any words I may speak. If I come across as anything less than "one beggar sharing bread with another", then I will confirm their certain assumption that Christians believe they are better than everyone else. There may well be times when we find ourselves as believers in the midst of those who openly profess their disassociation with Jesus, the bible and all things Christian. Their own profession is clear. In such case Paul advised the believers at Colossae, "When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions." (Colossians 4:5-6) ---Make good use of the time. Be sure you are not soliciting and the conversation is not requiring them to talk on company time. --Be pleasant. (this is the love part--love is always pleasant) --Hold their interest. This means to talk little and listen a lot. Don't we all love to find someone who will genuinely listen to us and actually care? --Speak the message. The old saying of St. Francis is true, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words", But a time comes when we are to Speak the Message! (John 3) -- Choose your words carefully. If all you have is a stale, mechanical, rote paragraph from memory that makes you came across as a cheesy salesman, perhaps you need something else. No two people or moments are ever the same. Listen to your heart and speak freely from the right now. --Be ready to give answers. When we listen and care long enough several things happen. 1-We earn the right to speak 2-We know this because they feel free to ask us questions."People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care." 3-We have built a relationship in which the Spirit of God is welcome. The Spirit always knows what to say. (Romans 8:26-30) Finally, know your bible. Study and become a mature disciple. 1-You will know how to avoid arguments. (II Timothy 2:23-25) 2-You will become wise to knowledge. (I Corinthians 8:1-3) 3- You learn that the message you preach is senseless to the lost, though precious to you. (I Corinthians 1:18) 4-You learn to rely on the power of God and not your own efforts. (I Corinthians 1:19-28) Saying less is more. Love is the first word of your conversation. Relax in prayer throughout the entire meeting. (I John 3:19) Glenn W. Harrell
When you start a conversation about God with a non-believer, you should first get into their culture or life. Many Christians think they are true Christians and wear white dresses, without jewels, etc... But their life is so ugly--as God says, a graveyard with white wash on the outer side. First we must love the neighbors as yourself and pray for their life and then get into them with conversation. You are the light of God and you should be the temple of God. Your life should be first a live witness to the non-believers.
Assuming that the conversation you want to speak on is about God, then I say make sure you are within the right setting. If you are witnessing at work, ask yourself if there are work policies against it. Then timing, if you are standing in a movie theater line and having a conversation with another couple, and the movie has nothing to do with a God or a godly subject, but you just take it there with no prompting or opportunity. You run the risk of just coming off as plain ole weird. However, if you are standing in that same line and holding a conversation with that same person and they mention anything where the Holy Spirit lead you to witness God's glory, power and name then go for it. You will not always have opportunity to get to know the individual. Once I had a stranger woman approach me in a line where I was visiting my son who is incarcerated. I was seeking a word of God needing to be comforted. She approached me needing a word too, I honestly did not have one for her from the scriptures, because I was still but a babe myself and trying to learn. Today, I would have pointed her to Roman 8:28 and tried to explain to the best of my ability how things happen for a reason beyond our understanding. As Christians we are mandated to witness, and I believe the Holy Spirit will guide us when, what or how to witness, if we will only be alert when the Spirit within us is guiding us to act.
There are many ways to start a discussion. I will mention a few easy ways. > start with any thing of common interest. Weather, current issues, Introduction of self, topical issues e.t.c > Testimony of your personal encounter with Christ is one sure way as led by The Spirit of God. > you can start a discussion on a vivid issue that reveals the person needs Deliverance, healing or visitation from God. > You can start a discussion where you notice an error in the other person. For instance a wrong interpretation of the bible or wrong doctrine. Note that You must be well studied your self to dictect errors. > You can start by pointing the way to Jesus as savior of the world. > You can start by asking a simple question like, Do you believe in heaven And he'll? If you die today will you go to heaven? Are you a good person? These are just to mention a few. Hope they are helpful.
Preach the Gospel at all times, and when absolutely necessary use words. St. Francis Assisi
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