How Many Can You Reach?
1 How many people do you pass in a day’s time? How many of these have you ever greeted or talked to? Have you ever wondered how many of these have ever heard the good news from one of our brothers? And how many have not? One brother, in an area where the territory is covered every few months, and much of it every few weeks, decided to talk to those who were on the street one day.
2 As he walked, he watched the eyes of those approaching him. When he had ‘eye contact’ with a person, he smiled and said: ‘Excuse me. May I ask, Would you care for the latest Watchtower and Awake!? Have you ever read them?’ The first three people he approached said they had never seen them before. While the brother was surprised to hear this—in an effort to keep the conversation going, he said: ‘I can understand that. We call at the homes of people here in the neighborhood quite regularly, but so many are not at home, and it may be that you were not at home when we called either. But let me tell you briefly something about them and the good news they contain for you.’
3 The brother and his wife approached people in a variety of ways that day. They placed literature with some and talked with many. It was a very pleasant experience for them. And it was their conversations with the people they met that made it pleasant.
4 How many people are there in your territory who have never had opportunity to hear the good news? Look at the people you pass when you are away from home. Some of them are standing and waiting. Some of them are sitting on a bench or in a car. Some are walking and looking. Could you approach them? You may say to yourself: “That would be hard for me. I have never done anything like that before.” While this may be true, most of us never did house-to-house work before we learned the truth either. But with the help of Jehovah’s spirit and our brothers and with good effort on our part we learned how. While approaching people who are away from home may be a new field of service for you, you may find it most rewarding. Why not put forth the effort and learn how to converse with people who are away from their homes?
NOTE WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY
5 Take a moment, look up Luke 19:1-10 and observe what happened. Jesus was walking through the city of Jericho. He noted an interested man; perhaps he was only a curious man. But who spoke first? It was Jesus. And the results were good. The man heard the truth with appreciation.
6 Notice what Paul did, according to the account at Acts 16:13. He went into an area where he felt there were religiously inclined people. But who took the initiative to approach these people and speak to them? It was Paul. And what was the result? One of the group responded, and the way it turned out, she and her household learned the truth.
7 Do you remember what Acts 17:17 says? Take a moment and look up the verse. In this case where did Paul go? He went where he knew there would be people he could talk to—the marketplace.
HOW TO DO IT
8 First there is a need to be friendly. You like it when people are friendly with you, don’t you? And others are attracted to those who are friendly and kind to them. If you can start your conversation in a friendly, warm, complimentary way, you will often find that you get the best response.
9 Another point, to get started, be selective as to the people you talk with. Someone sitting on a bench or waiting is usually easier to approach than someone who is walking. At least this may be true at the beginning. A sister may find it easier to approach a woman. If a woman has her baby with her, your showing interest in the youngster may be an easy and effective way to start your conversation on a friendly note. In some areas, because of crime or other factors, good judgment needs to be used in choosing whom you approach. Of course, you brothers are aware of this.
10 A helpful observation is also given at Proverbs 15:7. It says, “The lips of the wise ones keep scattering knowledge.” A farmer does not pour out all his seed in one spot, but he scatters it. And a wise man does not pour out all he knows on one person and on one occasion. Just a little at a time may be enough. A sentence or two may be sufficient, then pause and see what response you get. Observe how Jesus did this with the Samaritan woman as recorded at John 4:7-26.
11 And don’t forget, your picking the right subject may also help you to get a hearing ear. So endeavor to discuss a subject that you feel will be of interest to the person with whom you are speaking. It may be a current news item or a point you read in one of the publications or the Bible. After you gain eye contact and start the conversation in a friendly way, where do you go from there? You could offer one of the publications. Or you might choose to show the person an appropriate verse in the Bible on the subject under consideration. If you get a favorable response, fine. If not, you can end the conversation. If interest is shown, you might even suggest discussing the matter further with them in their home, if they wish. If people do not want to talk, you can wish them well and let them know that it was nice to meet them.
12 Yes, how many more people in your territory can you still reach? Many are effectively reached in the house-to-house activity. But how many more might you reach when they are away from their homes?