In the last article I talked about the amazing impact gospel appointments have had in my campus ministry and in the lives of so many who were lost. Gospel appointments are the single most powerful means to get a clear message of the gospel to the lost: they aren’t distracted, they can ask questions, they feel important.
But how exactly does all this work? How do I get a gospel appointment in the first place?
This article will guide you through some strategies to find a natural opportunity to ask for a gospel appointment.
The setting in which you introduce the idea of a gospel appointment is going to impact your strategies.
I’ve separated suggestions into a setting that is spiritually neutral and a setting that is at a faith-based event.
IF YOU ARE IN A SPIRITUALLY NEUTRAL SETTING [LIKE] AT A PARTY:
1. Start a conversation with someone you know to be an unbeliever or with someone whose spiritual state you are unsure of. Talk about any topic you want. Use the F.I.R.E. method for leading your conversation: Find Common Ground, Interests, Relationships and Experience with spiritual things.
2. Whenever possible, identify with Christ. You don’t have to redirect the conversation, necessarily, but show them how you are one of Christ’s. Something like, “Yeah, I am involved in this [church] group,” or “ We just got back from a fun trip that helped my relationship with God.” Don’t worry about having the perfect words. Something is better than nothing!
3. Ask them a quick spiritual question. Think casual, like “Do you have any interest in spiritual things?” or “Did you grow up going to church or anything like that?” Something that gets them talking about their spiritual life.
4. Ask them to meet up. No matter their answer, you can follow it up with something that relates. You might say, “I’ve been learning about having a relationship with God. Maybe we could get together sometime for lunch or coffee and talk about it?” Then be quiet and wait for them to respond. If they say yes, set it up right then. If they’re having difficulty nailing down a time, tell them you’ll text them later to set something up.
5. Transition back to a casual conversation and just hang out. Ask them about their weekend plans or their hobbies. If they want to talk more about spiritual things, they’ll talk about it.
Our campus ministry focuses on setting up gospel appointments with everyone who comes to our large group meeting, small groups and socials. The fact that they are there shows they are already interested in spiritual things.
We have trained our students and staff to set gospel appointments with all visitors whether they are a believer or not. As a result, our ministry is much more “sticky.” We connect more new people to us. And in over four years we haven’t had anyone offended by this method! Many people even thank us for taking time to meet with them.
IN A FAITH-BASED EVENT LIKE A SMALL GROUP OR A LARGE MEETING, IT’S A LOT SIMPLER:
1. Start a conversation about any topic.
2. Ask for a gospel appointment. No need to transition. Say “Hey I’d love to get lunch or coffee sometime. We could get to know each other a little better, and I can tell you more about what our group is about?” After all, our group is all about the gospel.
If you attempt to set up a gospel appointments with all new people who come to your ministry, you will lead more people to Jesus and see more visitors get connected. It’s simple math. The more people you share the gospel with, the more you will see come to Christ.
1. What opportunities (faith-based and neutral) can you seek out to set up gospel appointments?
2. What is the worst that could happen in asking for a gospel appointment? No really. What’s the worst that can happen?
Paul Worcester is founder and director of Christian Challenge at Chico State University in Chico, California. He is also the author of the free eBook Tips for Starting A College Ministry. This article originally appeared on Campus Ministry Today.