6 Ideas for Post-Service Conversations
If you think of the barriers to our evangelism then you’ve likely identified, 'awkwardness' as one of them. A great way to get past that awkwardness is to get in the habit of talking about spiritual things with people who are easy listeners. We need to take advantage of the post-service hello to create good habits of speaking naturally about the gospel. Colin Marshall makes this point:
I'm convinced we don't "gossip the gospel" with our unbelieving neighbors and friends at least in part because we've never learned to talk about God and our Christian life, even with other Christians. How will we engage unbelievers about God's grace in Christ if we don't talk with our brothers and sisters about these great truths—especially after listening to a sermon together?
Marshall has the following 6 suggestions for how to share the benefit of the worship service with others immediately after church:
Pray during the service that God would lead your conversations, and pray for specific people around you.
Listen to what God is saying to you through the sermon and formulate a comment or question to start a conversation. This past week at our church, the sermon was on what it means to praise the Lord, from Psalms 146-150. Since I was thinking about this article (and, I hope, for more godly reasons), I picked out two things to try as conversation-starters after church.
With another couple we somehow got into a conversation about their blended family, and I reminded them of God's favor towards the alien, orphans, and widows (Ps. 146). Since the husband is not yet a believer, I was deliberately talking about God's character. I have no idea what effect it had on him.
Even if the conversations don't always get off the ground, your enthusiasm for learning the Bible and knowing God will be contagious. And non-Christians will see that church isn't dull and boring but fascinating and life-shattering.
These intentional conversations after church will sometimes lead to prayer for one another. Why not stop for a moment and give thanks or petition God for some need?
Another way to deepen our fellowship is to ask each other how we came to salvation in Christ. Sometimes we've been in church with people for years without ever learning their story. The other day at church I asked a guy named Phil how he became a Christian, and we discovered God had worked in us in very similar ways as young men. The door is now open to building a friendship with this brother. What a joy!
At Calvary Grace, consider how you could apply these simple ideas to the way you approach the worship service on Sunday morning. Even a few gospel-tinged words shared with someone after a service can have deep impact. As M’Cheyne said, “A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God's Spirit, is worth ten thousands words spoken in unbelief and sin”.
Don't assume that the visitor will be 'caught at the door' by the pastor. If God has blessed you in the service, you need to jump at the chance to share that blessing with someone else. That will make the post-service hello more than empty chit-chat. It will be small talk crammed with joy, praise and thanksgiving for the grace of the gospel of Christ. It’s exactly the kind of gossip we want to get carried away with.
Colin Marshall: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/02/18/church-was-great-lets-not-talk-about-it
Andrew Bonar: Andrew Bonar, The Life and Remains, Letters, Lectures, and Poems of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, (Carter, 1847), 86.