There are four different types of conversations we have
with people when talking to them about God and His church.
The first type of conversation we should have with people
is to learn about them and their religion.
We Must Get To Know Them First
As we get to know people, we learn the things we need to
know so we can lead them to Christ.
In our society, it's essential for us to get to know people
before trying to convert them to Christ.
By getting to know them first, it shows them we genuinely
care about them, and we're not motivated by pride or an
ulterior motive. It's true, in bygone days people attended
tent meetings without a personal invitation from a friend,
and responded to the gospel. But those days are gone, and
we are working with different people. We are commanded to
conduct ourselves with wisdom toward unbelievers, with gracious
speech that's seasoned with salt (Col. 4:5-6). We must approach
people with the gospel in the most effective manner God
authorizes, in order to win souls (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
We Gain Credibility
When we let people get to know us, we gain credibility by
letting them see the light in our lives. The result is that
people glorify God -- some even glorify Him by obeying the
gospel (Matt. 5:14-16).
It's reported that 95% of people converted to Christ,
in our day and age, are attracted to the truth after witnessing
a Christian's moral and religious life. This stresses the
fact that we have to let people get to know us, so they
see the effectiveness of the gospel and the power of God
that works in people who believe (1 Th. 2:13).
We Learn About Their Needs
As we get to know people, we learn about their spiritual
needs, rather than assuming what they need.
Before Paul converted twelve men in Ephesus, he had to
learn whether they lacked anything spiritually. So he asked
two important questions whereby he learned they hadn't been
baptized into Christ. He taught them the truth about John's
baptism and Christ's baptism, and converted them to Christ
Like Paul, we must get to know people to learn about their
spiritual needs. After we get to know them, we may have
the opportunity to teach them the truth, and convert them
What Do We Need To Learn About People?
Paul learned about people in Athens, reasoning with them,
understanding their religion and culture, quoting from their
own poets to prove his point about God (Acts 17:16-17, 22-23,
We too need to learn about the people with whom we interact,
so we have the knowledge we need to reason with them in
an effective manner. We have to be good listeners and get
to know them, or we will fail (Jas. 1:19-20).
We need to learn about the religious error people
have been taught, as we get to know them. Priscilla and
Aquila listened to Apollos and learned what was lacking
in his life; then they taught him the truth regarding baptism
(Acts 18:24-26). We also need to listen to people and learn
about religious errors that exists in their lives, so we
can teach them the truth of the gospel.
It's helpful to know if there are any religious inconsistencies
in our friends' lives. If they believe one thing and do
something different, we can showing them the inconsistencies,
and possibly shed light on greater spiritual problems. We
need to be like Paul who corrected Peter, when he committed
the sin of hypocrisy, by pointing out the inconsistency
between his actions and his faith (Gal. 2:14-16).
It's essential to learn the words and phrases people
use to communicate thoughts. So much of the time, we
are not understood by people because we've not taken time
to get to know them, and communicate in a way they understand.
Paul shows us the impact this can have upon people when
he spoke to the Jews in Hebrew, their native language (Acts
21:39 - 22:2). He got their attention, immediately had a
degree of respect, and effectively communicated his thoughts.
It's helpful to learn what religious teaching they've
been exposed to, so we can relate it to New Testament
truth. Paul did this when making his defense before Agrippa.
He said, "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know
that you do" (Acts 26:27). Paul knew Agrippa believed the
prophets; therefore, he tried to persuade him based on what
the prophets proclaimed.
It's helpful to know peoples' prejudices and stumbling
blocks before we try to convince them to turn to Christ.
Everyone who comes to Christ must deny himself and take
up his cross, so it's helpful to know what a person will
deal with if he decides to become a Christian (Matt. 16:24-26).
These are the things Satan will use against them the most,
and the things we must prepare our friends to face.
Lastly, it's helpful to know what has kept them from
studying God's word and obeying the gospel in the past.
It may be their upbringing and their ancestors, as was the
case with Paul (Gal. 1:13-14). They may not be interested
in studying the Bible. They may have been turned off by
religion or a particular church. They may have a debilitating
illness or disability. They may enjoy the passing pleasures
Be A Good Neighbor
If we are good neighbors like Jesus commands, we'll be interested
in people and their souls. We'll want to get to know them,
and understand them well enough to talk about God and his
church in a meaningful way.
Like the good Samaritan, we'll have mercy and compassion
for people, and do everything we can to help them, by reaching
out with the gospel (Lk. 10:30-37).