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Lutheran Hour Ministries has a long history of equipping laypeople for personal outreach. Lois Schaefer, of Central Florida, has a heart for sharing the Gospel and over her years of traveling domestically and abroad, she has encountered people from all walks of life who desperately want and need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Lois has been a devoted supporter of LHM for many years and even remembers her parents listening to The Lutheran Hour on the radio when she was growing up. Recently, Lois allowed us to ask her about her outreach experiences and tips she has for reaching out to people with the Gospel.

In your words, what is the importance of outreach?
Our purpose in life is to demonstrate the love that God showed us, and to share His message of grace (the unmerited gift of unconditional love), redemption, forgiveness, salvation. Without this knowledge, there is no hope. When I see how the message of grace changes a person's heart from hopeless to joyful, it just is transformational for me as well to see the Holy Spirit in action.

How do you incorporate outreach into your daily activities?
I seek ways to help when help is needed and thereby build a relationship. Once there is this connection, permission is established to go into deeper levels of communication including discovering what may be missing in their life, such as: peace, hope, joy, love... Then there is an open door to bridge to a time when I experienced such a deficit as well and, again, with their permission, delve deeper into how this situation was resolved in my life through the loving guidance and provision of my Father.

How do you go about sharing the Gospel with others?
I pray daily that God will show me someone who needs to hear about His love. This drives me to move out of my normal lifestyle and into the lives of others in my community. My door opener is asking them if they want to select a card with a promise on it, a piece of Good News. One technique I use is to fan out several Bible verse cards face down and they choose one of these cards. Then, I tell them that I will pray for them, and give them a business-card size prayer card so they can also pray for their own needs. While I have done this with many people both in the United States and abroad, everyone has had the same reaction: a smile. Quite often a conversation starts based on what they are experiencing and why they needed this particular Good News at the moment.

Can you share an example of a time when you have shared the Gospel with someone? What steps did you take to build rapport with those individuals and how did they react?
Just recently I was at a fast-food restaurant at about 8:30 p.m. It wasn't busy so there was an opportunity to get to know the employees. One in particular, 19-year-old Amber, noticed my multi-colored rubber wristband and asked what it meant. I told her I would explain it, but she needed to listen very carefully so when I gifted it to her, she could share the message with someone else. She was overjoyed at this "Good News" message and asked me to text it to her so she could memorize it and tell others. I let her select a Bible message card, and then asked her if she had anything I could pray for. She did - and then I gave her a prayer card so she could learn how to pray for herself. Since this happened while I was out of town, I couldn't connect her with a church, but if ever I know of a church nearby, I will share that information in the conversation.

What is an important characteristic to have when doing outreach?
It is important to let the joy in your heart show on your face. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, it is okay to exchange niceties with someone else - it might be the only friendly voice that comes to them that day. It is also valuable to have a listening ear and a humble heart. Also, if they are not receptive or become negative, be aware that this is the time to pull back.

What are some tips for people who want to be more proactive in sharing the Gospel?
First of all, listen. It is very important to develop a relationship before delving into deep spiritual conversation. And, it may take some time before this meaningful, life-changing conversation occurs. But the benefit that comes from the fruit of the Holy Spirit meets the core of every one of our needs with the greatest gift: love!

Starting a spiritual conversation with a stranger isn't always easy, but with practice and the right tools, it can be a fruitful experience both for you and the other person. Lois has started using the Spiritual Conversations Curve Card developed by LHM in response to its research in partnership with Barna Group to guide her conversations and determine where the other person is in their spiritual journey. For more information on the Spiritual Conversation Curve and how you can use the cards with friends and family, visit lhm.org/curve.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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