Is cold turkey evangelism suitable for introverts? Of course not, right? If you’re an introvert you may think that cold turkey, walk-up evangelism is for those with the “gift of gab”, the bold, the slightly crazy, the extroverts, the gregarious people, or the natural salesmen.
As an introvert you’re not stimulated by external sources. You’re stimulated by your internal world of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. You get your energy and inspiration from what goes on inside of you, and you value your alone time. Cold turkey evangelism is probably one of the last things you want to do, or at least one of the last things you think you can do well.
In addition to your natural reticence there’s a fear many of us have of talking to non-Christians about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You may be thinking, “clearly my disposition is not suited for this type of thing. Put me behind the scenes somewhere to serve!” I used to think this way as well when I first considered ways to serve Christ. However, you have strengths that I believe can make you successful in communicating the gospel to those you know and don’t know!
Lead With Your Introversion
When engaging in evangelism with a stranger or anyone else for that matter, you can be yourself! One of the things that can strip us of our confidence in evangelism is feeling like we have to be exactly like someone else. Maybe you think you have to be a preacher, or the Christian who can easily talk to anyone around them, but nothing could be further from the truth!
God has uniquely wired each of us, and He uses that uniqueness in our service to Him. As an introvert you probably like to talk about deeper subjects that stimulate your thinking and prefer not to spend much time on small talk, but if a thought provoking topic is introduced in conversation then you’re interested and focused! This is a key in having your introversion work for you instead of against you. Use your affinity for talking about deeper subjects to begin conversations about the gospel.
Some may disagree with me on what I’m about to say, but it’s perfectly okay to begin a conversation with a stranger by asking a direct or thought provoking spiritual question. You don’t have to be circuitous in your advance or begin with small talk! This may come as a relief to you and maybe even energize you!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked around looking for someone to have a gospel conversation with, all the while racking my brain with “What do I say?!?, How do I start!?!, ahhh!!”. Just find someone and toss out your question! “Let it rip”, as some would say, and let God work in the conversation!
When I first began approaching evangelism this way I remember explaining it to my church small group and someone responded, “You can’t go around asking people a direct questions about this. It’s like shining a flashlight in their eyes!” “So? What’s wrong with that?”, I thought to myself. Nothing because the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end”. The concept of eternity is written in each of our hearts, so when spiritual questions arise they connect with us in a way that it’s not so weird to talk about even with strangers. People are willing to talk about Jesus, God, and eternity with those they don’t know because we all think about these things.
Begin With Any Direct Question You Want
You can ask any question that gets the gospel of Jesus Christ at front and center. Pick one that motivates you or interests you and begin with it. Find yourself someone who doesn’t look too busy to talk, introduce yourself, and toss your question out!
You can be old school, and go back to the 1970’s and 80’s by asking, “Are you going to heaven?” (This one is my favorites by the way). You can use a variation of the question and ask, “If you died today would you go to heaven?”, or “What do you think happens after someone dies?”. You can also ask a more general, thought provoking question to get a discussion started such as “What do you think the greatest problem in the world is?”, or “What do you think the world’s best selling book is?”. You can be as creative as you want to be here. You’ll be surprised to find that a considerable number of people will be genuinely interested in the question from atheists, secularists, to people of all sorts of religious backgrounds.
How To Ease The Awkwardness
Once you’ve asked the question you will likely feel uncomfortable, and even have knocking knees at this point! How can you ease any awkwardness that may be present in the conversation? As you listen to the person ask clarifying questions about what they believe. Get to know their thoughts as best as you can, and you will begin to build a connection with the person.
Affirm whatever truths they say. As an introvert your quiet thoughtfulness becomes a great asset here because it puts you and other person at ease, and shows that you seriously care about what they think. Using your listening skills and showing genuine interest in the person will make them more open to hearing your perspective — the gospel.
Of course, there will be those who don’t want to speak with you about the subject, and this can bring the stinging feelings of rejection. That’s okay. Just remember that Jesus experienced rejection as well. In fact, he came to earth to be rejected! Let that sink into your mind! When we experience rejection we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus and becoming more like him. It’s often in times like these that we can feel God’s presence the most. The Apostle Peter testified to this in one of his letters: “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed. For the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” 1 Peter 4:14.
Rusty The None
You may be thinking, “Writer, does this work for you? Do you actually do this?” Yes, I do. Just two weeks ago I went to a local park to share the gospel. I approached a man sitting on a bench and told him that I am a Christian asking people an interesting question, which is, “Are you going to heaven?”.
This began an interesting conversation! I found out his name was Rusty, and he had no current religious beliefs even though he grew up in a Christian home. We talked for ten to fifteen minutes about how we are sinners who have broken God’s Law, and how God loves us and sent his Son Jesus to die for us. Even though Rusty had no interest in becoming Christian, he was fascinated by the subject, and admitted that I said some things he never heard before. The interaction was also cordial.
This all started from a simple but direct question with which introverts can thrive! Don’t let your introversion become a hindrance or an excuse not to evangelize. Let it be utilized as a strength! God uses introverts just the way they are.