The elevator hissed open. I strode in, turned around and leaned against the back wall looking forward. The car filled, all of us standing in a tight circle, unusually facing in. The door sucked closed and locked in that thick fog of uneasy quietness. Everyone steadily looked at no one. Someone cleared their throat as the car jerked upward.

I’ve always had a bold streak. I’ve always disliked quiet, compartmentalized elevator rides. So I went proactive and fulfilled a long restrained desire. “Thank you for coming today ladies and gentlemen. You’re probably wondering why I called this meeting…” Laughter shattered the heavy eighth floor silence as the place rocked like a U2 concert!

Igniting a conversation can launch a relationship – perhaps one that will lead the way to salvation. But you don’t have to take an elevator – here are some simple questions that you can use to kick-start a conversation. They’re called the FORM. Nearly everyone likes to talk about themselves, so ask them open ended questions about their…

Family: Tell me about your kids. Where do you guys live? How is it?                        Occupation: What business are you in? What challenges do you face?                                Recreation: What do you do to relax? How’d you get into that?                                            Money: How’s real estate in your area? What’s your local economy doing?

As my kids grew up, we trained them to FORM others to help them get on in the world and to lay a cornerstone for redemptive relationships. They would select a person in the room, go stick out their little hand, shake and jump in. When they returned, we’d review their experience. Today they can meet and greet anyone.

Practice FORM when you’re in line at McDonald’s. Try it at the Target check out. Why not introduce FORM to your small group or class? Model it, have someone else do it, then explain it. Train your group to FORM, then evaluate, celebrate and improve.

Imagine your congregation trained to FORM. What incredible opportunities for witness would occur. How much more welcome visitors would feel. Self confidence about connecting with others would rise.

Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money – the threads with which we weave life can tie great knots of connection with people who need Christ. FORM UP!

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About Rick Oglesby

Rick has worked as a church planter, pastor, missionary, Bible College President and teacher. He currently pastors in Wellington, Alabama.
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