ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–The hardest part about witnessing is turning a casual conversation into a spiritual one. Someone I once heard called it, “Going from golf to God.”
As an obedient follower of Christ, I should want to have these kinds of conversations. The key is to think about ways to do so in advance. It’s not incredibly difficult, but like a high school boy learning how to ask a girl to a movie, it helps to plan ahead.
Let me share with you a new way I am learning to do this. It’s based on three questions that I learned from an evangelism strategy called CROSS Training.
Question number one is an ice-breaking question. “What is the most important thing I need to know about you today?” I asked a young lady this question the other day and she told me she got engaged over the weekend. I had a great time listening to her recount this wonderful event and she loved telling it.
I particularly like to use these questions in a restaurant. After I get the answer to the first question, I tell the person helping me, “I’ve got another question to ask you. I don’t know if you can handle it, it’s pretty deep, but if you’ll remind me when you come back to my table I’ll ask you.” Have you ever heard the phrase, “Curiosity killed the cat”? Most of the time the person helping me can’t hardly wait to get back to me to find out what this “deep” question is.
In the rare event the person doesn’t remind me about the question, I’ll say, “By the way, are you ready for that question I was going to ask?” I’ve never had someone not want to answer the question. You might have that experience, but it hasn’t happened to me. At least, not yet. If it does, I’ll simply say, “Thanks for thinking about the question.” I would go no further with the conversation. Then after my meal, I’d leave a great tip and a Gospel tract.
Question two, the deep question, is a spiritual one. “What is the most important thing God has ever done for you?” One man I talked to said that God had allowed him to live with his mother after his parents’ divorce. He said living with his mother provided stability during a very unstable time for him.
A common answer to this question is, “He allowed me to wake up today.” That’s a safe answer, but not necessarily a fake answer. You never know what events have just transpired in that person’s life. One of our state convention staff was in a horrible wreck. The same vehicle that struck him killed a pregnant woman in another car. Waking up the morning after the wreck had more meaning to him than waking up the morning before the crash.
The final question is the kicker, the crux of the matter. “In your opinion, what does God require for a person to go to heaven?” The word “require” is the key word, no matter how you phrase the rest of the sentence. If a person gives a works answer, you can say, “That’s a great answer. That’s what a Christian does, but that’s not what God requires for a person to go to heaven.”
A few days ago, I said this to a woman who was helping me and she immediately said, “Really? Well, what does He require?” In just a few minutes, after sharing the Gospel message, I was leading her in a prayer of surrendering her life to Jesus.
If she wouldn’t have responded so quickly, I would have asked, “May I share what God requires with you?”
I know this way is only one way to transition a casual conversation to a spiritual one, but I have discovered something important. The evangelism strategy that works the best is the one I USE. If I don’t share what Jesus has done for the world, I never get to see anyone get saved. If I do share the Gospel, I get to experience God at work in someone’s life.
Why don’t you plan to take a conversation from golf to God today? You’ll be glad you did.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.