Research tells us that many Christians will never tell others the gospel. In fact, many of us so live in the Christian bubble that we don’t even know many non-believers well. For those who struggle making this connection, here’s a simple way to start: interview neighbors and co-workers, using the outline below. I’ve highlighted the questions and then followed them with my reflections.
“I’m a follower of Jesus, and my church is doing a simple survey to learn what others believe about the church and Christianity. Would you be willing to answer five simple questions for me?”
My experience is that some people are willing to answer these questions if they believe that doing so won’t take long. I don’t usually reveal my church’s name at this point, as that information will become apparent in another question.
“What do you believe about Jesus?”
I’ve heard everything from “I don’t know” to “he was just another human being” to “he was a good teacher” to “he’s the Son of God.” The question itself can lead to discussion if the person allows.
“Do you attend church? If so, why do you attend?”
I sometimes ask “where,” but that information usually comes out in the conversation if the person is a church attender.
“If you don’t attend church, why not?”
Sometimes the answer is as simple as “I don’t really have a reason.” In other cases, the answer unpacks a bad history with congregations. Don’t be defensive here; just listen. This question allows you to hear what obstacles an unchurched person faces.
“Have you ever heard of _____________ Church?”
Here, insert the name of your church. You might be surprised how many people have never heard of the congregation that means so much to you. If the person has heard of the church, you might follow up with, “What have you heard about this church?” One goal of this question is to learn about your church’s witness in the community.
“Jesus means a lot to me. May I take some time, either now or at another time, to tell you why He’s so important to me?”
Occasionally, somebody grants me permission to continue the conversation right then. And even if he or she is not ready immediately, I often secure permission to follow up in another conversation.
Think about setting this goal this week: seek to interview three people you know. Pray first, then take a risk. You never know what God might do.