How Do You Start a Conversation About Jesus With a Total Stranger?

start-a-conversation Lloyd Pulley is the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey and author of Everyday Conversations, Eternal Impact.

After 9/11, Pulley spent time in New York City sitting with those who had been traumatized, listening to them and their stories. During these months of ministry with wounded strangers, Pulley had a revelation from Jesus Himself.

A revelation for those who desire to share Jesus with others as well as those who desire to know that they are loved by God.

During this chaotic time, Pulley was studying the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman. As he read the verses from John 4, he realized that the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus was not only life changing for her, but is an everyday model for us in how we can reach the hearts of the lost.

For the lost who are living in sin and know it. And for the lost who have been battered and abused by life after making one bad decision after another.

Know anyone like that? Were you or are you someone like that?

The things Jesus said to the Samaritan woman and the questions He asked were undergirded by godly wisdom that in turn revealed Himself to her and His love for her. Jesus was intentional in the way He communicated to her.

I want to be able to speak to others like Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman. But how do I start a conversation about Jesus with a total stranger? What’s the best way to talk to people about sin without making them feel worse and turning them away from Christ?

Pulley uses the acronym S.H.A.R.E. to explain how to offer the gospel to others as Jesus did in this story. S.H.A.R.E. means:

S – Sensitive to the Spirit
H – Humbly Build a Bridge
A – Arouse Interest
R – Reveal Sin
E – Explain the Plan of Salvation

With each letter, he explains how to engage others in conversation about Jesus in a genuine way. A way that may or may not lead them to a relationship with Christ, but a way that will let the person you are talking with know that there is a God whose name is Jesus, He is loving and He wants to be in relationship with each of us.

Pulley reminded me that if I let the Lord lead my conversations, I can rest assured knowing that each conversation I have about Jesus is ultimately in His hands.

This book has been a mirror for me; helping me to see times I have hurt others with my attempts to share Christ. It has also shown me times when I thought I messed it all up, and while the outcome wasn’t exactly as I had hoped, I was right where the Lord wanted me to be.

Do you struggle with evangelism and sharing the gospel with others? Are you ever uncertain about when is the right time to talk about Jesus, the need for a Savior, and the realities of sin?

Tell me how you start the conversation and how you approach the subject without alienating the other person.

4 Comments |Add a comment

  1. J.O. October 28, 2011

    Thanks for sharing this. I love the acronym. 🙂

  2. William Whitehead October 27, 2011

    Friends, it is not easy to talk about our faith. Be prepared to face lot’s of rejection. But God will be with us.

  3. Mary Stephens October 25, 2011

    This area is probably one of the most difficult for me personally. I have too strong a need for approval and find it scary that someone might not like me sharing. I loved Lisa’s point that if we truly believe that it is a wonderful message and portray that in our speech and manner that this will have an impact. I also think that in our day to day lives, if we are living as He would have us to including helping those less fortunate than ourselves He will open doors that we may be truly blessed by and then sharing will be natural not forced.

  4. Lisa Miles October 20, 2011

    What a coincidence. My Bible study group spent about half the evening yesterday on John 4. (We’re in Joshua, but we kept ending up back in John 4.) We talked a lot about how Christ’s message is for ALL people, not just some.

    As for evangelizing — I met an individual once, (the son-in-law of a very famous actor), who has a gift for sharing Christ with EVERYONE. And when I say everyone — I mean every last person he meets. The first time I met him, he said, “I was JUST talking to the cab driver about how great Jesus is. I am so excited about it and I want to share with you what I know. Give me two minutes and I’ll fill you in.”

    The way most people would run around telling people they’d just won the lottery — that’s how he told you about Christ. He had such a joyful message that you couldn’t help but smile. It was a message of, “I’ve found something awesome and I want you to have it, too.”

    He said that he met so many people in his business and his travels — and he might literally only have the length of a cab ride to share the good news — but he said he would NEVER pass up an opportunity that was given to him. I always found that remarkable. He really had a gift for sharing the joy of Christ and God certainly found a very good messenger in him.

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