SOME PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR CONTACTING PEOPLE
First, we must pick up the burden and make a definite resolution to contact people. We must build ourselves up with a new habit to contact people. In the bank, in the supermarket, on the street, and everywhere we need to practice contacting people until it becomes our habit. Probably a number of us have found out that we are not used to contacting people. When we see people approaching us on the street, we may turn away from them. Instead, we should always grasp the opportunity to talk to people. We should always keep gospel tracts in our pocket so that we can give them to the ones whom we contact.
When we go to visit people, we must learn to behave ourselves properly. Before going out to visit people, we must make sure that we dress properly to have a proper appearance. We need to be adjusted by the Lord in the way that we talk and in our gestures so that we can reach people. We should not be loose in anything. Contacting people properly is not an easy thing.
Always wait till your contact opens up. It is always a help to listen to him. Eventually, you can let him know that you are a Christian, not a preacher, and that you love the Lord Jesus. Always wait to see how he would respond to you. You may find out that it would be appropriate to read a few paragraphs from the booklet The Mystery of Human Life with him. Or you may feel it is better to give him the tract entitled God. You should get yourself acquainted with the contents of these gospel tracts so that you can impart them into the new ones. We need to learn much in order to be effective in taking care of people.
Also, you should learn never to argue or debate with people. Argument and debate never work out anything. On the other hand, you should not agree with people too quickly nor should you agree with whatever they say. Otherwise, they may think that you are a “yes man.” You have to show people your carefulness. When you are not loose and careless, this will add weight to your speaking. Otherwise, the other party may consider that your speaking is a light word with no gravity, no weight.
You may approach one man who is in a hurry to do something. If you realize this, you should not sit down and occupy his time. Take the chance to say a quick word and give him a tract. Then you can say, “This will help you to know the Savior, Jesus Christ. Have a good day. Bye.” This is good enough. He will appreciate this because he is hurrying to leave. If you try to sit down at this time, you will bother and even offend him. At another time, you may realize that a certain person wants to have some time with you. That is the time for you to sit down to talk to him slowly and gradually for fifteen minutes or maybe half an hour.
In contacting people it is always a help to make appointments. But this does not mean that we should contact people only by making appointments. We should talk to people at any time. The Lord Himself is the factor, the reason, and the purpose for us to go out to contact people. He will honor our doing, and today He is the Spirit within us. When we go to contact people, we have to believe that the Lord is going with us. Our speaking is His speaking. We speak Him into people. We should never forget to minister Christ to others. We should never forget to pass on God, the living God, to people. Even if we just speak with someone for one minute, we should still minister Christ and pass on God to him.
One more critical thing for us to learn is the right time to ask someone to pray with us. This can be compared to cooking food. You have to know what time to stop cooking. Otherwise, what you cook can be spoiled by being either raw or overdone. All good cooks know when to stop their cooking. After one big gospel meeting, D. L. Moody contacted a person who was an unbeliever. At the critical moment of time when the person was about to pray, another person came in. It was raining outside and this person came in with an umbrella. A noise was made with the umbrella which distracted the other person. After that disturbance, the person would not pray to receive the Lord. This shows how important it is to pray with people at the right time.
To touch the Lord may be likened to the installation of electricity. A house may have all the wires, but if the wires are not properly connected, it cannot have any electricity. To contact people is like connecting the wires so that the electricity can come in. We all have to learn not to talk too little or too much with our gospel candidates. We have to have a heart to learn all these things as we exercise to contact people. What we need in these days is not more doctrine but practice. We have to learn to contact people, not in a general way but in a practical way.
We may make mistakes as we contact others, but we need to realize that sometimes even our mistakes fulfill the Lord’s purpose. If we do not do anything, we can never fulfill the Lord’s purpose. Although we may be wrong, He may still bless us. Still, we all have to learn to be practical. While we are speaking with someone, we should sense what kind of person he is and what he needs. Then we can respond to him and give him something that meets his particular need. When we contact people, we should always have the goal of contacting them continuously.
You also have to learn not to spend your time in vain. When you contact people, you should always discern whether or not you should make this person a constant contact. To invite people to dinner is good, but you should not do this too quickly or too early. After a number of contacts you may realize that the time is ripe for you to invite someone to your house or for you to be invited by him. All of your contact with people should not be carried out in a light or loose way.
Furthermore, you should always pray for your contacts. Do not say that you do not have the time. Even if you are really busy, you can still pray while you are walking out the door, “Lord, help me today to meet the proper person.” As you are driving to work you can continue to pray. This is the real prayer, not the routine prayer. Surely it is good to have a set time to pray, but praying while you are walking out the door or driving to work in your car may be even more effective. Wherever you are, you can pray. Remember all your contacts before the Lord, and pray for them.
(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)