Opening an evangelism encounter with a complete stranger can be intimidating. But according to Jon Speed, 83% of the evangelism encounters in the book of Acts were with strangers. If you want to share the gospel like Jesus and the apostles, we need to learn how to approach strangers.
Here are ten ways to help you open an evangelism encounter with a complete stranger.
1. Use a Gospel Track
First, ask this simple opening question: “Did you get one of these?”
Then offer the person a million dollar bill gospel tract. You might say, “It is a million dollar bill with a million dollar question on the back. Here’s the question: Do you think you are going to heaven when you die? How about you? What do you think?”
If you are not comfortable with gospel tracts, try one of these other conversation starters.
2. Play the Name Game: I use Dorothy Astoria’s The Name Book to introduce spiritual things. People love to learn about their name because they get to talk about themselves. And this book contains spiritual connotations for each name. Here is the approach:
- Q) “What is your name?”
- A) “Joseph.”
- Q) “Oh, this book says Joseph means wise and understanding. Do you consider yourself to be wise and understanding? What do you think happens after someone dies?”
I once played the “Name Game” with a woman named Renee. Her name means “born again.” You will be surprised how many people’s names tie back to scriptural themes and topics and people. Here’s a video illustration of the “Name Game.”
3. Use the New 10 Commandments Lie Detector Kit:
Ask a stranger, “Have you ever stolen anything?” If you think the stranger is lying, the lie detector buzzes. If you think the stranger is telling the truth, the lie detector beeps in agreement. You control the lie detector responses. But it appears to be scientifically calibrated using sensors, an app, and voice stress monitoring. Walk a stranger through the 10 commandments while using the lie detector kit. Once they realize their sinfulness, you can point them to the Savior. Have fun sharing your faith.
Rebus puzzles are word pictures that represent a common phrase. People are intrigued by the puzzle. You can provide a few hints to help them solve the puzzle. Once you have the conversation going, it is easier bridge to spiritual matters.
Simple Magic Tricks Can Open a Conversation
5. Give me any Three Digit Number. It points to the Gospel.
The stranger picks a three digit number. You process that number with a few simple calculations. Surprise: no matter what number the stranger picks, it leads to Romans 10:8-9 which includes: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. After they read Romans 10:8-9 you can ask them a couple questions. Have you repented and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone? Do you know the gospel?
Here is a quick video with instructions to get you up to speed on the math calculations.
6. Folding Dollar Bill Trick: I use a pair of $1 bills that seemingly turn into a $2 bill and then a $5 bill just by folding and unfolding the bill. The trick always gets a smile. Continue the magic by “turning” the $5 bill into your million dollar gospel tract. Now that the gospel tract is out you read the opening question: “Do you think you will go to heaven when you die?” Here is a quick video of the folding dollar bill trick.
7. Curved Illusion Tract: I like the curved illusion tract from Living Waters Ministry. People are surprised when you show them the trick. The best part is that you give them the trick to share with others. You can even spend a minute explaining the presentation of the trick to them. Here is a quick video of the curved illusion trick.
Identify a Person “Wearing a Conversation”
8. People with Tattoos: If you see a tattoo, give the person a compliment and ask a question about it. You can say, “I like your tattoos. Which one is your favorite?” Many tattoos are about lost relatives and some are about death. They beg the question: “What do you think happens after you die?” John (pic) had over 100 tattoos on his body so he had plenty of stories to share.
9. People Wearing a T-shirt with a Point of View: Maybe they are wearing a T-shirt featuring the University of Kentucky, marijuana, or a rap artist. I just say, “I like your T-shirt. Are you a fan of…”
10. Rubber Bracelets: Many rubber or silicone bracelets are about causes or fatal diseases. I ask, “That is a colorful bracelet. Why is that cause so important to you?”
Reference: Jon Speed, Evangelism in the New Testament (Genesis Group, 2009) 24-27