How can I talk to a friend about the gospel without making it sound unnatural?

When entertaining an unbelieving neighbor, is it best to force a conversation about the gospel?

God’s Servant knew how to speak a "word in season" (Isaiah 50:4). In teaching, He was sensitive to any factors that would limit His effectiveness; He spoke "as they were able to hear it" (Mark 4:33). Getting to know people helps us to discern what will be effective. Seizing a one-time opportunity is different from building a relationship that strengthens effective communication.

Our relationships with unbelievers should enhance, rather than limit, our ability to communicate the gospel. Build relationships with unbelievers in a way that is consistent with Biblical principles.

But this question addresses our motivation for hospitality. Are we offering a meal as a means of obligating them to us? Are we posing as hospitable in order to be evangelical? Showing kindness is "normal Christianity" (Luke 6:35; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 5:22). This should characterize our interaction with unbelieving neighbors. We do not show kindness in order to manipulate them to our desired end, as good as that end may be. We serve the Lord and others by showing kindness. We need the Lord to guide our service. We pray for an opportunity to serve others by telling them the message that has blessed to us.

A forced conversation about the gospel will not be as effective as a door of opportunity that the Lord opens. Showing kindness and developing a relationship with unbelieving neighbors so we can be a blessing to them may involve other service than speaking to them about Christ. It may involve trimming their hedge, caring for their children, helping in times of difficulty, or maintaining a joyful and gentle spirit. If the Lord opens the door for a word of testimony on the first visit, respond in a way that increases the likelihood of further open doors in the future.

D. Oliver