Editor’s note: Greg Stier is an evangelist, author and speaker and founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries.
There’s an unstated theory that a relationship with a person is what leads them to salvation, not the Gospel. A predominant lie Satan has foisted on the church is that you can’t just talk to people about Jesus without first developing a long-term relationship.
Far too many Christians think they can’t share the Gospel until they’ve built a strong friendship with someone over time and have “earned the right to be heard.” They subconsciously have bought Satan’s lie that the power to save is in the strength of their relationship with the person they are seeking to reach.
The power is in the message, not the messenger. This is why the apostle Paul described the Gospel as “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….” (Romans 1:16).
Building a deep relationship with the unreached people we know is important. It creates opportunities to share the Gospel naturally along the way. But many Christians end up waiting and waiting for “just the right time” that never actually comes.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we should be pushy. But we should be intentional with every relationship and every conversation. We should look for that natural opportunity in every conversation to turn it toward spiritual things. This could come by simply asking the question, “Is there anything I can be praying for you about?” or “Do you happen to go to church anywhere?”
I’ve used questions like these to open countless Gospel conversations with friends and strangers alike. Some people start sharing their prayer requests or spiritual background right away. Others don’t. Either way I want to try to take the Gospel conversation as far as it can go without unnecessarily turning that person off.
But it has been my experience that most people are open to talking about God and their spiritual beliefs when approached in genuine kindness, authenticity and humility. Of course, not everyone puts their faith in Jesus on the spot, but my goal is to, at the minimum, nudge them that much closer to faith in Christ.
I remember a speaker once lecturing me at a youth leader event, explaining to me how evangelism didn’t work in the current culture. A crowd gathered as he went on and on, telling me that people weren’t open to hearing about Jesus unless a long-term relationship had first been built and firmly established over time.
While I agreed that we must build relationships with people, I told him it’s weird to bring Jesus up later in the relationship instead of early on. After all, you talk about what you love. And, if we truly love Jesus, we can’t help but talk about Him early on.
I also pushed back on his assertion that you can’t just talk to random strangers that you may encounter in everyday life about Christ.
I pointed to Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Within a minute of meeting her, Jesus had segued the conversation into a spiritual one. In less than five minutes she was on her way back to town to share her testimony with her fellow Samaritans.
As this speaker and I bantered back and forth, a crowd of youth leaders grew. They were all locked into our conversation because they had felt that same tension in their hearts when it came to evangelism.
I finally said, “OK, I have a challenge for you. Let’s you and I go out to the streets of Pittsburgh (where we were) and just talk to people about Jesus for an hour. I’ll do all the talking. You can stand by my side and silently pray for them. We will see how willing people are to talk about Jesus if you’re up for it.”
The youth leaders gathered around us started chanting, “Do it! Do it! Do it!” But this leader was not willing to put his theory to the test.
Far too many are not.
I’ve evangelized friends, family, neighbors and strangers for 45 years. Some I had a relationship with. Others I met on a plane, in a gym or at a restaurant and engaged them in a conversation.
Jesus told us that our primary mission is to “go and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:19). This assumes that we take the initiative.
Are you? Are you praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel every single day? Are you seeking to turn your everyday conversations toward Jesus? If not, start today!
For help in sharing your faith in love with anyone check out my five-minute crash course video on how to share the Gospel with anyone, anywhere and anytime.