I am constantly looking for ways to break the ice, so to speak, in order to create an inroad to preach to Gospel to people. Most of my explaining the Gospel is done one-on-one or one-on-two, sometimes there are three or four in a group. My usual way to bring about an opportunity to present the Gospel to someone is to give out tracts, hoping someone will have a puzzled look on their face, or have a lot of time on their hands, while having a spark of interest in hearing more about the Gospel. It starts out like this; "Did you get one of these?". They answer (or hopefully answer), "No. What is it?". "It has a fun little quiz on it. If you get stuck, the answer is on it but I'm not going to tell you where it is. Don't cheat unless you really can't figure the answer out," I answer them. If they look like they would continue in a conversation, I tell them it has the Gospel message on it. If they don't hand it back to me by this time, I usually ask them if they have ever heard the Gospel. Then I ask them about the 10 Commandments, and so on, using all of that to present the Gospel. Depending on their interest and response, I will elaborate on the Gospel beginning with the Old Testament in Genesis. Once I get started in presenting the Gospel, it is pretty easy to go on from there.
But how can we create ice-breakers and make inroads that will lead to presenting the Gospel? Well, here is one small idea. It can minister to the homeless people on the streets or anyone in need that we might encounter.
If you have ever ministered to the homeless, you probably have many questions about this type of ministry. You might wonder why the person you are ministering to is homeless? You might be wondering if the person even wants to be helped? Can the homeless person be helped, or is there a place they could go to in order to get back on their feet again, and not be homeless anymore? Maybe the person is mentally ill and has no place to go? There are lots of questions when dealing specifically with the homeless. There a also a variety of reasons why people are homeless and you probably won't be able to figure out why the person you are talking to is on the streets. But there is one particular way you can minister to homeless people that would be considered safe. It also provides an inroad to presenting the Gospel. Because the homeless person will probably ask you and expect out of you, he or she will ask up front for money. That presents a problem because of the possibility of their using the money that you will generously give them, on liquor, cigarettes, or possibly drugs, or maybe even something worse that we wouldn't even think of. There is a better way than just handing money to a person. They can receive gift certificates for food. There was a time, not too long ago, when I went to McDonald's and picked up some gift certificates for people. After all, there are some things they can order from McDonald's that are nourishing, plus there are McDonald's on almost every corner. That worked for a while. Because I don't really have a fund for this, I would squeeze out enough money for a book of five $1 coupons. I would take each $1 coupon apart and put two of them in an envelope with some tracts that will fit into the envelope. Then when I see a homeless person on a street corner carrying a bucket for money, I will have something ready to give him or her. The envelope will have more inside of it than he or she ever expected.
As of today, I have graduated from McDonald's gift certificates to Publix gift certificates. Instead of just $2 worth of food, I have come up to $5 worth of food value. I know that Publix is limited to Florida and Georgia, so readers of this blog will not necessarily know about them. I have heard that Publix will not honor the use of the gift card to buy liquor or tobacco products, and that makes me feel better about using them. I'm sure there are other stores and options that will work as well. Feel free to comment about them in the comment box.
The difficulty for me is to come up with the funds to buy these gift certificates, but I did come up with a plan. Years ago, earlier in my marriage, my husband would put his change into containers around the house, like cups and empty jars. We had lots of change in a short period of time. He allowed me to collect the pennies. I could use them for whatever I needed. I now have my jar that I put collected pennies in. I take pennies from my wallet and from my husband's change and put them in my jar. When I get enough, I roll them up and take them to the bank. Then I buy the gift certificates from Publix, put the gift certificates into an envelope with tracts, and have them ready for when I meet a homeless or needy person. If I'm in a parking lot, and I get to talk to one of these people, I will not only have something to give them, but will also have an opportunity to talk to them about the Gospel. It can be used to serve a needy person with and show kindness, while speaking the words of truth to that person at the same time. Plus, I don't have to be concerned that the person who asked for money will run with the money to the next liquor store. Now to be diligent and keep my eyes open for every penny. I would like to raise the amount of value on the gift card. And I pray that people will be blessed by them and ministered to, and most of all, that the Gospel message will stay with them the rest of their lives.