One of the great needs of the church today is for us to be more evangelistic. We have more people living in our world and yet fewer people becoming Christians and being involved in the life of the church. There are people all around us who are not Christians. We talk with these people every day, yet when was the last time we had a spiritual conversation with them? Talking about God, Christ, the church, and the Bible can be challenging, even awkward, if we are not in the habit of talking about our faith. So how can we take our daily conversations with our friends from everyday concerns to a spiritual discussion? The following is an acronym that may be able to help. When talking with someone think of the word H.O.P.E.S.
H – Home. Talk about their family, their children, grandchildren, and the places they have lived; share this information about yourself with them as well. Show them that you are genuinely concerned and interested in their family and their home.
O – Occupation. Talk about their job, what they do for a living, how their day at work went. If they have served in the military or went to college, ask them about their experience. Share your work and life experiences with them too.
P – Preferences. Talk about their likes and dislikes, foods, cars they like to drive, or their favorite holiday. Share your likes and dislikes with them also.
E – Entertainment. Talk about their hobbies, places they like to go on vacation, or about what they like to do when they have a day off. Share your interests and things that you like to do for entertainment.
S – Story. Talk about their religious beliefs, talk about where they grew up going to church, or if they ever went to church. Ask them if they are Christian, how they became a Christian or why they are not a Christian. Have them share their faith and religious story with you. And then as you listen to their story, ask them if you can share how you became a Christian, and why you believe what you believe. Point them to the scriptures and use this opportunity to set up a Bible study with them and invite them to come to worship services with you.
The next time you are talking to a friend, remember H.O.P.E.S. and may we each realize the urgency in bringing our lost friends to Christ.
“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).
Mark T. Tonkery
Camden Avenue church of Christ