Benefits / Drawbacks of Different Conversation Starters:
1) Million dollar bill tract (or other good tracts)
· Even if the conversation is cut short, people are left with something to read later on.
· I can almost always begin a conversation with a laugh or a smile.
· Tracts can help identify me and give me credibility as an evangelist, especially with those who are suspicious of why I want to talk with them.
· However, tracts can also take away my credibility as a Christian because some people will put me in the same category as other evangelists who may have been ignorant or ungodly or even cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.
· Tracts can help quickly get to the heart of the issue using the question on the back - "Will you go to heaven"?
· Tracts are good for shorter conversations like in a crowd or at a bus stop where time may be limited.
· Million Dollar Bill tracts are available for purchase from http://www.livingwaters.com/ - usually $5/100
2.) Informal interview (or just asking an interesting question)
· Beginning with questions about what others believe shows that I'm not preaching at them but listening to them.
· I avoid getting lumped into a negative category before people realize I truly do care about them.
· People can’t just give me the answers they might think I want to hear because they don't know me.
· Beginning with what others believe usually leads to a longer and more personal conversation.
· However, it can take more time to start a conversation as people try to figure out my motives.
· This is best used with people and situations where there is more time to talk. However, if a person is truly interested, they will stop what they are doing to continue the conversation so we shouldn't always rule out people who look too busy.
3.) Informal conversation - friendship evangelism
· Using a natural conversation and transitioning to a spiritual one seems more natural and less confrontational. However, natural conversations tend to wander from one subject to another and it becomes very unnatural and manipulative when you try to force the conversation back into a spiritual direction. It is very hard to hide one's spiritual agenda in a conversation (and dishonest) so why not be open and honest about it from the start?
· How long do we need to wait before we have "earned the right to be heard?" The more we invest in a relationship the more we have to lose, and the harder it becomes to talk about our beliefs.
· Unbelievers think logically too, based on what they know or believe to be true. They might think something like this: "If you as a believer truly believe that my eternal salvation is at stake (whether it is true or not) and tomorrow is not promised, why would you wait another minute? I might conclude either that you don't care about me or you don't believe it yourself."
· We don't have to choose one over the other. We need both. I began to witness to strangers so that I would be better able to share my faith with those I know and love, and I find that I am now better at both - "in season and out of season". More on "friendship evangelism" from Tony Miano at The Lawman Chronicles