Being friendly can make you a better disciple-maker …

As I was sitting at the table, a young, skinny and bespectacled African-American boy stepped alongside me and just started talking.

“Do you like San Diego?” was his opening question that would serve as a greeting and as an opening barrage of many more questions to follow.

I learned he was 13 years old and was in town because his big brother was graduating this week in the Marine Corps. He was very proud of his big brother!

I learned he was from Dallas, and we talked about that place because I’ve lived in that area, also.

He wants to become an engineer.

Now, he pulled out a chair at my table and made himself comfortable without the slightest pause in his talking and inquiring.

He likes the Dallas area because there are a lot of celebrities there.

What did I think about Los Angeles?

What did I think about San Francisco?

And so came the volley of questions that made for an odd but pleasant conversation with a complete stranger.

I know the boy would have kept talking if he had not been interrupted by his grandmother, who returned from running out to get them some food. We introduced ourselves and I let her know her grandson had introduced himself, and we had been having a pleasant conversation. I mentioned she must be very proud of both her grandsons, and she beemed with a smile that didn’t need her words of affirmation to my statement. She did explain her grandson-Marine had actually failed in his first three attempts to get accepted by the Corps, but he was determined to be a Marine and this week he would realize his dream.

It was so easy to get to know complete strangers!

In this case, I didn’t have to do anything, it was a young teenager who started the conversation!

It was a good example of how open and inquisitive young people are. We adults tend to lose all interest in making connections with strangers simply because they’re in the same room with us.

And the church suffers for that.

Young people tend to keep their heads up and on a swivel, searching out the world and people around them with imagination and curiosity. Adults more often keep their heads down and hope no one interrupts them from their self-centered focus on pursuing what’s on their agenda for themselves.

You can’t win the world for Christ that way.

Thirty years ago I learned a highly effective model for disciple-making that includes teaching disciples how to engage people so that connections can be made and opportunities for sharing the Gospel can be created and expanded. Learning how to do that, and being equipped to share the Gospel in an effective, comprehensive but concise way will create a multiplying factor to a disciples’ efforts for making new disciples.

When you keep your head up to see the people around you, and purposely engage with them, you’re off to a good start to being able to lead many people to Christ.

If you would like to learn more about how you can be equipped to be an effective disciple-maker, contact me at