Recently after a presentation about becoming aware of the un-churched and unbelieving around us I was challenged with the question:
“How do I spot those who might be open to hearing about my faith or my church?”
One of the best “formulas” I have heard in this regard comes from Andy Stanley and the North Point family of churches.
In this formula you simply tune your ear to listen for three “nots” in conversations:
- I am “not” going to church anywhere
- I am “not” sure how I will get through this
- I am “not” doing well right now
The statement or conversation may not use these exact words — but any one of these situations found within a person’s life provides an opening for the church to minister and for the disciple to enter a conversation.
When you hear one of the three “NOTS” your response should be:
“REALLY…..!? Tell me about it.”
The key here is to become not only tuned in — but as concerned. People don’t want to hear about your faith or your church until they know that you genuinely care.
When you ask them to tell you about their non-attendance, their seemingly insurmountable problem, or their feelings of despair — LISTEN! Shut up. Don’t talk. Don’t start planning your gospel presentation. LISTEN! Sympathize. Allow them to talk through the issue.
After you have listened – you will know what to say next. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your responses. You may not be making a convert “TODAY”.
All you want is to open the conversation for further discussion.
- This is where I go to church — want to come as my guest?
- This is how my faith helped me survive a crisis in the past (or currently helping me survive)
- This is the way my faith lifted (or is lifting) me out of despair and low points in life.