Reaching Veterans for Christ

1.  Realize that over 20 vets and active duty personnel commit suicide every day.
2.  Know that most who kill themselves have never been deployed.
3.  Although most vets are not suicidal, the stress of military life can cause depression and despair.
4.  Remember every Believer is to conduct him/herself “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Tim. 2:3).
5.  Don’t stress religion: stress relationship with Christ.
6.  Discover places where vets tend to congregate. It’s easy to find vet events online. Target days that are special to most vets, such as Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day, & July 4th.
7.  To initiate conversation with any vet requires an immediate connection: always wear something that identifies you as a vet, such as a cap, shirt, or dog tags. If you’re not a vet wear something patriotic.
8.  If you are not a vet, it’s advisable to go soul winning with a vet.
9.  You might ask where they were stationed, how long they served, and what branch. All vets can relate to such questions.
10. It’s essential to have an “icebreaker” in order to begin a conversation, such as “Thank you for your service”, or for a Vietnam vet, perhaps “Welcome Home”  because most did not receive this greeting when they came back to the states. However, do not say “Welcome Home” if you are not a vet because some ask, “Where were YOU when I came home?”
11. Avoid talking about your OWN personal struggles. You are there to give them hope in Christ, not an autobiography.
12. Avoid potentially upsetting topics, such as the politics of certain wars.
13. Never say “I know how you feel” unless you’ve been where they have.
14. Never approach any vet on his/her blindside. Give them some space and greet them where they can see who is addressing them. Those who have been in combat sometimes startle easily. It’s understandable.
15. If the vet is disabled, don’t discuss how they got that way.
16. If the vet is in a wheelchair, get at eye level without invading their personal space. You can move around easier than a wheelchair-bound person.
17.  Make sure each encounter is friendly, positive, and encouraging.
18. If you are witnessing to a veteran and your cell phone rings – don’t answer it.
19.  Observe the person’s body language. A conversation may be untimely.
20. Never argue. If they become argumentative, go AWOL.
21. When handing out literature, you should include a New Testament or Bible, preferably one with a military-styled cover, and literature that includes the Plan of Salvation.
22. It is a good idea to offer a vet some type of military-styled “premium” or “token” before offering them literature. Such items could include an ink pen, key ring, sticky note pad, or a special dog tag. Because many vets are on their guard against being conned. always ask, “Would you like a FREE ink pen?” (or whatever the item might be). This demonstrates you are not trying to sell them anything. If you offer something additional, let he/she know it is also free.
23. Any literature you offer a vet should include the contact information of the organization or church you represent.
24. At some point, inquire about their personal relationship with Jesus.
25. Do not assume they will want to pray with you: they may not be ready. Always ask permission first.
26. In every situation, remember you represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
27. Follow up is not optional – it is essential.

Maxim of the Moment

Raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed. - Mia Hamm