I promised a follow-up on my “Will I meet you in heaven?” parting greeting. It is a very useful one-liner.
The purpose of one-liners is to capture interest and to convey information in short compass. It provokes thought on an important topic.
There should be many one-liners in the repertoire of Christians who wish to be effective in Christ’s kingdom.
One cannot evangelise everyone one meets, but one can engage with those whom one meets on a day-to-day basis. One should look upon such people as brought to you in God’s providence Jn 6:37.
I am composing a book on personal evangelism and its rationale, but suffice it to say for the present that one of the most fruitful and useful one-liners for strangers is ‘Will I meet you in heaven?’
There are not many evangelistic greetings for strangers, because strangers are likely to be put off by ‘religious talk’. Rather, it is more important to establish rapport with strangers and to allow the conversation to progress naturally to important matters.
However, one may have very little time to catch their attention.
As one nears the end of one’s conversation, smile, make eye contact and ask: ‘Will I meet you in heaven?’
This one-liner will usually provoke a response of some kind, even if it is a derogatory one. If so, one can follow up with, ‘Why do you think so?’ This open question allows them to give their worldview, which gives you time to work out how to follow through.
If you are met with a blank stare of puzzlement, which is very rare, you can explain. ‘We don’t have much time just now, but there will be plenty of opportunity to catch up on the rest of your story in heaven. Will you be there?’ This thought can be used at any point in a conversation.
This provokes a person to think about the ‘one thing that is needful’.
If you still receive no response, you can soliloquize, such as: ‘There is a Way to heaven even from Scotland.’ On one occasion, a wiseacre asked me if it was the NC500? The North Coast 500 is one of the world’s most scenic routes around the north of Scotland, a closely guarded secret until the international Travel Magazine voted it among the top five drives in the world.
As a means to establish more rapport with him, I asked him if he was ‘a biker’ because motor cyclists have discovered this scenic route. After this interesting digression, I explained to him: ‘The Way to heaven is a Person. Jesus Christ said, I am the Way to the Father’s house in heaven. Some people think it is the church, or being a good person or being sincere in one’s beliefs, but none of these are correct and simply confuses the issue.’ Whatever happens with the conversation, you have told him the essential details for him to follow up. He has been told that Jesus is the Way, not the church, whose role is to point people to Jesus and to encourage each other in the worship and service of God in Christ.
You can conclude with: ‘Jesus will not fail you. The church might fail you. It has failed multitudes of people. Put your trust in Jesus and He will get you to heaven.’
You have, in a few sentences, put across the essence of what they need to know. You do not need to explain A to Z. Leave that to God’s providence and finish the conversation without a bitter taste in their mouth but a taste of your manifest concern for their soul.
There are many ways to follow through on this but this can wait for another blogpost.
23 May 2019: personal evangelism and evangelistic one-liners.
28 Jun 2019: will I meet you in heaven?
4 Aug 2019: confidence to converse.
14 Sep 2019: an extraordinary childhood testimony.
25 Dec 2020: how to be more effective in Evangelism.