A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)
Some people are so friendly that they never meet strangers. But others of us are not so outgoing. Growing up, I was timid. We moved a lot, which made it difficult to make friends. Our verse today says we must be friendly to have friends. How can you make friends when you don’t know what to say? That is the biggest problem with our churches. A new person walks in the front door, and everyone ignores them. I know I have been guilty of not walking up to someone to welcome them because I didn’t know what to say. I am going to share something that I learned that has helped me be more friendly and get to know someone that I had never met before. This method works on people of any age, from the youngest to the oldest. It is called the FORT method.
How do you talk to someone you don’t know? How do you bring the conversation around to talking about Jesus? The FORT method is an excellent tool to use. FORT stands for Family – Occupation -Religion, and Testimony. People generally like to talk about themselves. The table below contains sample questions that can be used to break the ice with people and get them to talk about themselves. You don’t have to ask all of the questions on each of the topics. Usually, family and occupation topics are the easiest to use.
Be a good listener and let them do most of the talking. Be sure and listen to their needs and desires. Pray for ways that you can help meet their needs. The FORT method can be used in any setting on the train, bus, parties, business meetings, etc. Get to know the people at church. Get to know the people who sit on your pew. Look for someone that looks lonely. Make members and guests alike feel that you care about them.
F is for Family
How is your family doing?
Are you originally from this area?
In what area were you raised?
O is for Occupation
What kind of work do you do?
How long have you worked there?
(If retired or unemployed) What type of work did you do?
How do you like your job?
R is for Religion
What is your religious background?
Have you been a (Methodist) all of your life?
Do you attend a church?
Which church do you attend?
Does your whole family attend together?
T is for Testimony
My life before I accepted Christ was …
How I became a Christian …
My life since becoming a Christian …
Usually, asking questions about Family and Occupation will get people talking. Religion and your Testimony would not be something you talked about when you first meet someone. However, everyone has a testimony on how they met Jesus. As your relationship with them grows, there will be an opportunity to learn more about each other.
You now have the tools to be that friendly person who knows no strangers.