There are a lot of different people you will run into when trying to witness. They may be at work, online, at school or in your neighborhood. This list is compiled from my experience going door to door, but if you have ever tried sharing the gospel, chances are you have run into some or all of these different responses.
This is the person who thinks you said you were a Republican when you told them you are a Christian. These people probably listen to a lot of talk radio and may have any number of political persuasions. They like talking about politics and see anyone who is open to talking about important issues as their next victim of endless political discussion.
It may be interesting to talk about politics and all the problems in the world, but this is not the same as discussing who Jesus is and why He came. However, since they like to talk, the topic of politics can be transferred to the gospel if you keep bringing the discussion back to what the fundamental problem with humanity is.
“I’ve got my own religion/church”
This comment usually comes as a stiff arm approach from the person saying it. They think you are bringing up Christ in order to recruit them to your religion or church. It’s important to emphasize to them that you are not there to fill pews.
I usually do this by saying “Great, I’m not interested in getting people into church (meaning a building). I want to get people into heaven.” If said in a friendly tone this usually lightens the mood and allows me some time to explain a little bit of the gospel, then ask them about their belief system.
“We Support You!”
Sometimes you’ll meet Christians who are really glad to see you out doing evangelism, which is wonderful and you should take the time to talk to them and be encouraged. But sometimes people say that to me before they even know what I’m doing. This kind of person will agree with you and be polite and they’re even more polite the faster so they can get you to leave!
Don’t try to annoy them, but if you can give them some literature and ask them to read it then you’re doing well. Asking if they have any prayer requests can help shift the conversation and show them that you care.
“I’m not interested, I don’t believe that stuff.”
“That’s interesting, why don’t you believe?” I usually respond as politely as possible. Usually someone that calls themselves an atheist or agnostic has had a bitter experience with Christians or a major disappointment in their life. If you can get them to explain why they don’t believe, it can go a long way in establishing a relationship and demonstrating to them that God loves them.
Don’t pretend you have all the answers. As with all the unbelievers you will talk to, it’s very important that you listen attentively so you understand them and what they believe.
When you come across someone who doesn’t speak your native tongue you can ask them if there is someone who does speak your language around. Remember to carry literature in another language if there is a common second tongue spoken in the area you will be working in.
“What church are you with?”
This is often a sincere question asked by Christians who want to check to make sure you’re not with a cult. It’s okay to tell them what church you fellowship with, but make sure that you explain that you are not there to get people to go to your church but that you want people to understand the good news.
“I already know all that stuff”
“Great, isn’t it wonderful to know for sure you are going to heaven?” Never argue people out of their profession. I’ve heard that John Martin, who saw hundreds of Mennonites saved in Ontario, would never tell them that they weren’t saved. He would simply affirm their interest in spiritual things and ask them if they wanted to do a Bible study.
By telling them that they must know for sure that they have eternal life you are actually getting them to think, “I don’t know that.” They may or may not want to continue a conversation with you, but at least you have got them thinking.
Show you care
With all these different people types, and there are many more, make a point to show them that you care because God cares. The best way to do this is by listening to them and asking them if they have any prayer requests. Even atheists have asked me to pray for them after I have talked to them for a little while.
Also show them that you get your message and your information from the Bible. You can do this by bringing a Bible with you and taking it out when people have questions. Any question is a huge indicator that there is interest, so don’t pass up an opportunity to explain the good news.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any other author or an official position of the assemblyHUB team.