McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church


How to Talk to Strangers

Did your mommy teach you not to talk to strangers? There are many bad people out there. Yet God wants us to talk to strangers. We call it evangelism!

How does one talk to strangers? It sounds scary, doesn’t it? Probably not if you are an outgoing person who loves to talk, but to the rest of us, it could be a daunting task. So why would I even want to talk to a stranger? Because Jesus did and He has asked us to “Go into all the world and tell everyone (strangers too) about who He is.”

So, let’s use a practical example. You have offered to be a greeter and the first stranger walks through the church door towards you. What do you say? Well, firstly, you need to be prepared. That means that you need to start thinking about what you are going to say well ahead of time. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Think and pray about it the day before. Friday is “preparation day,” isn’t it? Do the “in your moccasins” trick. That means that you put yourself in the place of the stranger, and think what it would be like for you if you visited a church for the first time. How would you feel? How would you like others to respond to you?

2. Another way to prepare yourself is to intentionally focus on the stranger and not on yourself. If you think of how nervous the stranger must feel and think of how you can make him or her feel comfortable, you seem to become less self-centered and more other-focused. This means that you will be less nervous, and feel more confident when you see the appreciation on the face of the stranger.

3. Also, it may be wise to first work with someone who is more experienced. It is always good to see how they model a behavior which you would like to emulate. Once you have watched and witnessed, you will feel more confident to try it yourself.

4. There is no substitute for a warm handshake and a friendly smile. That is half of the battle won. Friendliness begets friendliness.

5. Continue to focus on the stranger (and not upon yourself) by asking where they come from or what brings them to your church. Then you may share information about your church, and show them where the bathroom, the Sabbath School classes, and the sanctuary is. Also, invite them to stay for the fellowship lunch if there is one.

6. All of the above applies to small home groups as well. We will address this more specifically in a later newsletter article.

Once you have tried it, you may find that talking to strangers may be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had. Why? Because when you see those people again, they will no longer be strangers. They will see you as someone special who helped dispel their fears, and welcome them into a new circle of friends. All good friends were strangers once.

Matthew 25:35 NIV: “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in.”

Hebrews 13:2 NIV: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

- Pastor Jerry Joubert