“If you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got a great snack in your hand, even if it’s a great snack, are you going to go up to a complete stranger and try to shove it in their mouth?”

Don Everts of Bonhomme Presbyterian Church has spent years talking with skeptical people about the Christian faith. He’s seen the evangelism tactics used to share the gospel with others, and has a word of caution – don’t make people gag in your zeal to share your faith.

“We intrinsically know they’re going to clench their jaw and swat you away because they don’t know you! And they don’t trust you, and they don’t know what you’re doing.”

There’s a curiosity we can invite when we are gentle in our conversations. When we remember that God is the one who acts in someone’s heart to bring them to repentance, we can relax our efforts. We don’t need to act with ulterior motives – which people can pick up on right away. It may feel like someone’s salvation is all up to you, but Don reminds us that God is ultimately its author.

“There’s an element of mystery… and the more that sinks into my head, gets into my stubborn heart, the more prayerful I become in relating with other people.”

Instead of walking the Romans road with someone the moment we meet them, Don suggests a few tips.

• Ask about their story.
• Be quick to listen.
• Ask the Holy Spirit what He would have you say.
• Be patient.

Don emphasizes this last point in his book, I Once Was Lost.

“Sometimes we’re impatient because we’re zealous for other people’s salvation. We’re zealous for the truth.”

It’s okay to be zealous, but try to follow Jesus’ methods for conversation.

“Jesus was great at asking questions. When people asked Him questions, He would ask questions back. He wanted to engage with folks and draw them in and learn where they are.”

Jesus wanted relationship first before He stepped into a religious debate. We can follow His example. Listening and waiting doesn’t mean we’re wrong; it means we respect someone enough to know them.

“We’ve got the best gospel. But we can’t just shove it at people even if we’re well-meaning in that. People need that process. And so we need to be patient with them. And it turns out the more we try to shove it at people who aren’t ready for it, the more allergic they’re going to become.”

Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 18:38-39

Featured Songs: Jesus, We Love You by Bethel Music; No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music; Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli

Engaging with post-modern skeptics

Highlight : The power of curiosity in evangelism