It’s on the list of things you know you should be doing, but it’s awkward and scary. Telling people about what God has done in human history, and how God has invaded your life typically feels forced and uncomfortable. But I’m about to make your evangelism work much much easier!
Simply start by asking anyone in your sphere of influence, “Where are you from?” Even if you already know where they are from, you can ask them, “What’s it like where you grew up? What’s trendy there? What are people passionate about in your hometown?” During this part of the conversation you simply listen and allow yourself to be sincerely curious, and therefore don’t be surprised when follow-up questions start to occur (that’s normal). At some point they will tell you something that resonates with your story, at which time (when you see an opening in the conversation) you can say, “That is similar to my upbringing!”, and then you can elaborate a bit on your story. If you’re nervous about interrupting the other person, then simply let them finish speaking, and they will probably return the question “Where are you from?”, or you can very naturally begin telling them about where you’re from on your own.
This is where you will explicitly begin to tell them about what God has done (the Good News!). But in this case it isn’t going to feel like a canned, memorized, formulaic presentation. It’s going to be personal, genuine, and comfortable. You will begin simply by telling them where you’re from. For example, Paul would say, “I was born in Tarsus in Cilicia.” I would say, “I was raised in Southwest Kansas.” Then tell them a little bit about your formative influences. For instance, Paul would share, “I was educated at the feet of Gamaliel.” I would say, “I was immersed in a society of ‘basically decent people,’ and I was convinced that people of German Lutheran descent living in SW KS were ‘especially decent, moral, and hard-working’ (i.e. a blue-collar meritocracy understanding of God and life).” Then say something about the zeal of the society in which you were raised. Paul would say, “Gamaliel and Co. trained me to be zealous for strict adherence to the Torah – passionately committed to the opinion that we could adequately perform and keep the law; and extremely hostile to any who spread ideas of unmerited favor.” I would say, “The culture of SW KS is one of exterior “dignity”, “decency”, and duty – but the interior is shame, insecurity, fear, and contempt. Therefore, it is a culture zealous about gossip, self-justification, and caring deeply about the perception of others (all the while attempting to deny and downplay these realities).”
Then you segue into the narrative about God’s invasion of your life. For Paul the story goes like this, “One day I was on my way to Damascus, and about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me! I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Why are persecuting Me?’ I asked the voice, ‘Who are you!?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ I asked Him what I should do, and He said, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And from that moment on I ceased guiding and governing myself …my agenda for my life was eclipsed and superseded by Jesus!” For me the story would go like this, “One summer I went to Frontier Ranch in Colorado, because I foresaw significant opportunities to boost my popularity, accumulate more status security, and potentially get a girlfriend (or at the least – get more exposure and experience flirting with the opposite sex). Three days into my time at Frontier, a man named Tiger persuaded me that God was real, and asked me if I was honestly ready to meet this powerful and perfect being who created me? I had heard people ask questions like this many times before, and my interest level (or concern) never rose above an intensity higher than indifference, but now – for some reason – I was terrified! I was desperate for status, security, and even satisfaction in the presence of this mysterious, invisible, and infinitely ominous being who had formed me and forced me into existence. I yearned for the assurance and certainty that I would survive my meeting with The Maker. And what I got was inscrutably beyond mere survival …I was given a copy of God’s Word to mankind, and in this series of stories, poems, laws, and prophecies I read of God’s decision to purchase me for Himself (in order that I might be His treasured possession), and my status in God’s presence wouldn’t simply be that of ‘property’, but the personal – and irrevocable – place of adopted son! This is my identity, worth, and liberty – this is what now (and for all eternity) dominates and defines my existence – I am an atoned and adopted son of God!”
Of course, (#1) you must tell your own personal and experiential story of introduction to, and interactions with, The Maker, and (#2) the person you’re talking to certainly may categorize your testimony as “insane” or “foolish.” But you will feel good because you were able to share what you have sincerely seen, heard, and experienced in relationship with your eternal Husband, and you will have a clear-conscience knowing that you sincerely/curiously listened your conversation partner, and knowing that your listener’s blood is not on your hands!