Bridges provides some helpful instructions toward this important task. I’ll update his language a bit and offer his thoughts below.
- The discipline is cultivated. Those who excel at this gift are not necessarily those who are endowed by nature with an ability to speak the gospel to others but rather those who have diligently stirred up the gift of God that is in them.
- Maintain seriousness but not a tone of personal authoritativeness. Bridges warns against a pompous and abrasive authoritativeness in the parlour. Instead, blend your seriousness with Christian cheerfulness.
- Be careful not to be rude and abrupt. Pick your spots and attempt to swing from natural conversation to the spiritual (gospel) matters
- Pray for opportunities and for faithfulness. We tend to see what we pray for a lot more than if we did not.
- Make and take opportunities. When you have a burden, you will be more likely to see and take the opportunities that God is providing you.
- Utilize Christian conversation in public. Talk with your brothers and sisters about spiritual matters in mixed company; it’s not a secret.
- Be humble when you speak. This is particularly the case among people who think they are something and you are not. Let the Word carry the authority and do the work.
- Pay attention to the news and the cultural conversation. Some familiarity with what is going on in the world may buy you some time and communication which will allow you the opportunity to slide your pulpit into the parlour. Ask and answer how the gospel answers the fundamental problems and questions people are facing.
- Be courageous and trust God. “In this spirit of consideration, diligence, and faith, the feeblest efforts will be abundantly honoured; while the best-ordered conversation, in our own spirit, will prove ineffectual for the desired ends.”