Continually meting new people is vitally important if you are going to reach the world for Christ. The second you stop meeting new people your ministry dies. Meeting people is the 1st step in the Ministry Process. There are a few great ways to meet new people anywhere and anytime. You can share the gospel with anyone you cross paths with if you'll apply these ideas for meeting people and then work through the sound barriers. Make sure to apply the following 10 principles and then REACH!
1. Don’t focus on yourself, dominate the conversation or pressure them (give them freedom). If you sense they are uncomfortable let them go. Focus on them (1 Cor.13:4-8).
2. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Be yourself; if you are at ease it will set them at ease too; if you are confident it will make the whole conversation go smoothly (2 Cor.5:17).
3. Don’t be strange or awkward. Smile and be friendly. Exude the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23).
4. Don’t play favoritism or set standards for who you will meet and get to know (James 2:1-4). Don’t settle in to cliques. Get to know anyone and everyone you can regardless of personal differences.
5. Don’t be a quiet, antisocial loaner (Heb.10:24-25). You can learn to be good at being relatable.
6. Don’t stare or invade. Be appropriate with body language and eye contact and respect their personal space and boundaries.
7. Don’t laugh at people, awkward situations or topics. Stay positive! Show sympathy and kindness (Rom.12:15).
8. Don’t be wordy or peculiarly silent (awkward silences are a no). Talk but not too much. Don’t hijack a conversation - no one-up-manship!!! Listen and be a good listener.
9. Don’t get to deep right off the bat. Russ Akins always says, "Too much too soon too bad; too little too late so sad!" Keep conversation appropriate.
10. Don’t end there. One conversation is just a start. Invite them to something or go along with them if they invite you. Get their contact info!!!
Those are just good principles but the following acronym will give you ideas wherever you happen to fin yourself. The acronym is REACH!
R - Relate! Smile. Compliment. Wave. Introduce yourself. The longer you wait the more awkward it will get.
E - Environment! Get out of your comfort zones. Plug in to or start groups where you will be forced to meet new people. Sports, classes, Bible studies, ministry events, etc. Look for conversation starters around you wherever you happen to be. Can you begin a conversation based on the person’s clothes or possessions (Ex. Alaska T-shirt - Where have you been in Alaska)? Can you begin a conversation based on something from your surroundings (Ex. This is quite a line, huh)? Can you begin a conversation based on something in the media (Ex. News, entertainment, sports, politics, etc. )? Finally, Can you begin a conversation based on a shared circumstance (Ex. What movies would you suggest I rent)?
A - Ask! Gregory Koukl says - “Never make a statement when a question will do.” People rarely sense others are genuinely interested in them so... be genuinely interested in them. Ask lot’s of questions. Keep it appropriate . Ask open ended, conversation promoting questions. Refrain from questions with yes or no answers (Ex. “What’s the best thing on the menu” is much better than “is the food here good?”). Ask about THEIR interests, hobbies, goals, background, pursuits, etc. Ask good follow up questions to their answers. Ask and then LISTEN!!!
C - Communicate! Again, apply the 10 things you can’t forget. Start a conversation by applying the previous concepts (Relate, Environment, Ask). Keep a good conversation flowing comfortably and naturally by: Asking and talking about THEIR interests, hobbies, goals, background, pursuits, etc. Ask good follow up questions to their answers. Stay positive. Build bridges & establish common ground but keep focus off you. Strive to relate to where they are at.
H - Help! Help someone that needs help or ask for help from a stranger if you need help.
The bottom line: take the initiative!!! The Great Commission starts with "GO." We can't sit around and wait but must go and meet new people where they are at and then share the Good News with them. I hope these ideas encourage you a ton. Check out the training on this topic below!
The Meeting New People Ministry Leadership Training Class notes and MP3:
The Meeting New People Ministry Leadership Training Class video:
Note: these notes are summarized from more sources, experiences and people than you can imagine. Hope they help you a ton!