We are looking at the word “faith” and examining the five basic steps to effective outreach so we can better tell others about Jesus and His offer of salvation and new life. We have looked at the first two letters:
“F” stands for Find someone to talk to – watch for opportunities the Lord is giving to you
“A” stands for Assume they like you – we are called to love our neighbours as we love ourselves
Today – Let’s look at the “I” in the word ‘faith.’ The “I” stands for Initiate conversations freely, frequently and naturally.
People today are good at sniffing out times when they are being played or manipulated. They want things to be natural and authentic – including relationships and conversations. Authenticity in our outreach conversations is perceived by others through our genuine compassion drawn from the example of Jesus.
So, to engage someone in a conversation about Jesus we need to really care about the person and not just see them as a target for your gospel presentation. You need to genuinely care for them because God does. Once people know you care, the best tool I know for initiating conversations is asking powerful and sincere questions. A few weeks back I was out with a small group of young high school teens and I asked one of them what he thought happened after death – and what would happen to him after he died. I sincerely wanted to know. And, he openly shared his thoughts and beliefs even though it was the first conversation we had ever had.
Jesus used questions all the time – no less than 12 times in the Sermon on the Mount alone. The questions we use with others communicate the level of interest we have in them. And one of the things many people find quite irresistible is genuine interest. Dale Carnegie once said, “You’ll gain more friends in three minutes by getting interested in others than you will in three years of trying to get them interested in you. In order to be interesting, you must be interested.” The apostle Paul said something similar when he told the Philippian Christians to “put the interest of others before your own interests.” (Philippians 2:4).
The truth is that while a good question can open a conversation, a great question can open a soul. Effective outreach flows best from the lives and voices of those who are genuinely interested in others, from those who care the most.
So, be sincerely interested in others and initiate conversations freely, frequently and naturally.