“We already know about Jesus. He’s his own dad and he died for my sins, because his getting crucified 2,000 years ago somehow has any connection to my checking out my neighbor’s wife’s ass.” SLAM.
“Thanks but no thanks for stopping by and trying to tell me some pathetic clichés I’ve already heard a thousand times because I live in America, Land of the Christ Salesman.” SLAM.
“I feel sorry for you. You think if you can convert me to your way of pretending to believe, that that will somehow get you into heaven? Man, sorry, but if you’re counting on me, you’re screwed. Good day.” SLAM.
It’s not working, Christians. Nobody’s listening to your reasoning and your boring snippets of theology and church talk. Nobody responds well to hearing that it’s basically their fault Christ died. Besides, nobody cares that much about Christ’s suffering in a world where chemical weapons are used on actual human beings in 2013.
Anyone can Google Jesus and learn all the facts. What people can’t do online is experience the Christ directly. Don’t try to inform people of things they have no interest in or that they already know. Give them an experience. Give them some unfiltered Christ. Let them feel the results first-hand. Maybe do it like this:
1. Put yourself in a humble, meek attitude. Pray and meditate for an hour. Go over your script.
2. Approach someone in a public, well populated place and assume an unassuming posture. Hands at your sides. Respect their personal space.
3. Say, “Excuse me, with respect, would you mind if I say a prayer for you?”
4. If the answer is no, just nod and close your eyes as a little bow of respect and move on. If the answer is yes, go on to Step 5.
5. Say, “My name is so-and-so. May I know your first name?” If they’d rather not say, that’s fine. If they tell you, extend a hand and say, “Nice to meet you.” Put your hand back down to your side. Maintain an unassuming posture.
6. Say, “So-and-so, is there anything in particular you’d like me to pray about? It can be a health issue, a personal issue, a relationship issue, anything. If there’s nothing in particular you’d like me to pray about, that’s fine.” Listen to the answer.
7. If they mention a health issue, say, “Okay. Would it be alright with you if I place my hands on your shoulder/head/whatever while I pray for you?” Obviously if they mention some problem linked to their personal parts, don’t offer this.
8. Say, “Okay, I’m going to pray for you now. I’ll be praying in the name of my god Jesus Christ.” Definitely use the phrase “my god”. Think lowercase “g”. Why? Because this way it doesn’t presume that they believe in Jesus Christ. If you were to say, “I’m going to pray for you in the name of Jesus,” that presumes that Jesus exists in the first place, as if he is a real person that both of you now have to believe in in order for this to continue. You’d be placing conditions on the prayer and healing you’re about to offer. Your job here is not to convert, not to convince, but simply to offer the light of Christ to another human being whom God loves. You can correct everyone’s thoughts at another time (such as never.)
9. If the person mentioned a health problem and gave you consent to place hands on them, do so carefully and gently. Then pray something like this: “Dear God, so-and-so and I stand before you today with respect in our hearts. We acknowledge the gifts of love and light and life that you have given us this day, and we are grateful for these good things. We just ask that you open our eyes and our ears to you, so that we can sense your presence and be filled with your kindness, mercy, love, forgiveness, freedom, and joy. We know you love everyone and all of creation without exception, but we just ask right now that you focus your infinite love and light on so-and-so. He could use your help in such-and-such regard. We ask that you restore so-and-so to full health at once, so that he can continue to live the life that you freely gave him in a manner befitting a being of divine and beautiful inspiration. We await your answer patiently and without expectation. Thank you for hearing our prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Tailor the prayer to whatever the person has told you, and use your own sincere words.
10. When the prayer is done, remove your hands if you placed them on their body. Don’t presume, but remain available if they want to hug or talk or ask you questions or tell you things. Otherwise, wish them a nice day, bow a little with your head and eyes, and move on.
This approach is superior to the usual way of barging in on someone’s conscious thoughts. You’re not here to disrupt a person’s life trajectory. God is going to do with them what he will; he opens the eyes of those who are ready. It’s not your job to save anyone. Jesus already did that, remember?
All this is just a suggestion. It skips all the theology and the extremely annoying jibbajabba Christian evangelists are unfortunately known for. This way is not presumptuous. It’s gentle, it’s respectful, it’s kind. Even if nothing changes in the person’s life, it was a goodhearted gesture, and that person might feel good that you reached out in a human way.
You might even accidentally heal someone. Better still, you might accidentally reveal to someone the awesome spiritual redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
This is all just a theory. I haven’t tried it yet. Ha! Bet you thought I was an expert. I’m just a guy who was brought to an awareness of the Christ by a guy who healed me in a somewhat similar fashion as described above. I added a few extra things to make it applicable in a general sense to strangers you meet. I’m just visualizing and throwing out ideas.
Hey man, we gotta start somewhere. Old school evangelism ain’t cutting it. Got any other methods you want to share?