Across four decades, I've asked several thousand men a golden question about themselves. All have been eager to respond. Actually, one was not, but as far as I can remember, everyone else. It is virtually a perfect question. Why?
Perhaps because, who doesn't want to talk about themselves? And no doubt a big part of it is that when I ask I have a non-threatening and non-judgmental smile on my face, people can really sense I'm sincere, really want an answer, and give the signal that I want the a) long and b) "real" answer.
Sometimes I lead with it, but usually it's after I ask what they do for work and if they have a family. To keep those short, I don't ask many follow up questions.
Then I ask the Golden Question, "Where are you on your spiritual journey?"
It's so good because everyone has given this some thought. I don't use it as a "trick." I really want to know. Invariably they say something that I've been through myself. So it becomes a dialogue. I never act like I have "all the answers," because I really don't think I do.
After we have shared, and depending on what they say and how the Spirit leads, I either a) invite them for breakfast, lunch, or coffee to talk further; b) invite them to our Bible study or church; or c) if I think we are having a one-time encounter, I give them a book. Actually, I offer everyone a book even if I will never see them again. And if someone is clearly ready to become a Christian, I read them a tract and help them to pray the prayer to ask forgiveness and receive Jesus.
Sometimes it's just a seed on the rocky path. But usually it's something they have given a lot of thought – cable repair guys, auto technicians, flight attendants, dental assistants, you name it. I believe that several hundreds of times people have been brought to me because the Lord knew that I would be faithful to share the gospel with them, and they received Christ.
First Corinthians 4:2 says, "Now whomever has been given a trust must be found faithful." So I like to ask (all the time about many things), "What does faithful look like?" My job is to be faithful, not to produce a particular outcome.
My definition of evangelism is simply taking someone as far as they want to go toward Jesus at that moment. These last two sentences take all the pressure off.
“Where are you on your spiritual journey?” Will you ask one person you meet over the next 24 hours this question?
I predict you will like it. And ii it catches on, it will give a whole new dimension to your personal ministry.