How do we get past the sweaty, freak-out moment to a place of honest, open conversation about our faith?
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
- Matthew 5:14
Evangelism is hard, m-kay.
I know it. You know it. Most of us get nervous and start to “pit out” at the mere idea of talking honestly about Jesus with our friends. And, that’s okay. But, we can’t stay there. We can’t let our fear and anxiety get the better of us. Deep down, we want a way to share the amazing love of Jesus with the people that we love the most. But, how do we do it? How do we share the light of Jesus with our friends? Well, I’ve got some thoughts for you. It’s not a conclusive list, just some ways of thinking about evangelism that might help you get past that sweaty, freak-out moment to a place of honest, open conversation about the things that really matter to you.
We “get” to share our faith.
In all things, God wants our heart, not our obligation. He wants every corner of our lives to be a grateful, joyous response to the love that he’s showered on us in Jesus. When it comes to evangelism, it’s no different. But, we tend to get it all backwards and feel compelled by duty instead of inspired by affection. It’s a thing we “should do” instead of a thing that we “get to do”. We feel this overwhelming guilt that we don’t share our faith enough. But, God doesn’t work like that. He doesn’t motivate us with fear or shame us with guilt. Instead, he offers us grace and love, joy and blessing, the very things he wants us to share with our friends. Evangelism is simply our honest outward expression of the love we’ve experienced in Christ. It’s a privilege and a joy, not a drudgery or obligation.
Prayer is essential.
Do you want to talk to your friend about God? Start by talking to God about your friend. Ask God for the right timing, good words, an open ear, compassionate understanding, and his heart for your friend. The truth is, God cares even more about your friend than you do. And, while you might feel like you’re the one inviting God into your friendship, it’s actually God who’s inviting you into his relationship with your friend.
Don’t say everything all at once.
Sometimes we think we have to fit all of the glory of the Gospel message, all of the stories of the Bible, and every last rational argument for God’s existence into one very long conversation. Whew. Who can even do that? Who can take all of that in? It’s too much. However, if you look at how Jesus “evangelized” people, he mostly just answered a question they were asking, or spoke into a situation they were experiencing. Sharing our faith is almost always a long term prospect. Just take a look at Jesus’ own disciples for encouragement. They took a really long time to get it, and they were with him every day.
You don’t have to know everything.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I could never share my faith, because I just don’t know all of the answers.” Well, you’re right, you don’t. And, you’re also not alone. None of us has all of the answers. So, what do we do when someone completely stumps us? Notice I said “when” and not “if”. Well, it’s perfectly okay to say, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’d be happy to figure it out and get back to you.” This shows you are both human and humble—a winning combination in my opinion. Also, sharing your faith isn’t primarily an intellectual exercise. It’s your faith, your story, your experience that you’re talking about. You don’t have to know everything to share honestly about the impact Jesus has had on your life. Your story is powerful, unique, and winsome. So, if you’re worried about confrontation, just know that sharing your personal story doesn’t invite argument. It’s your own true experience, that’s something you can’t get wrong.
Your manner shouldn’t contradict your message.
We tend to worry a lot about what we say, but how we speak is of at least equal importance. It doesn’t matter at all how true our message is if we lose our listener with our manner. Our message is one of love, joy, and peace. But, it will ring hollow if we contradict it by the way we share it. There is no place for bullying, arrogance, or argumentation in the Gospel of Peace.
Sharing Jesus with our friends is the most loving thing we can do.
No matter how hard we try to be winsome, no matter how well we love our friends, the Gospel of Jesus is confrontational. It calls all of us to account. That’s why we worry so much about how our friends will receive it. And, as good as the good news is, it comes out of the bad news—news of our need, our mistakes, our rebellion. It’s hard to give anyone bad news, especially the people we love. But, it is precisely because we love our friends that we must share the bad and the good news with them. Our goal is not their shame but their acceptance and wholeness.
Trust God with the outcomes.
Finally, the results aren’t up to us. We are to follow the Spirit’s leading, speak where he would have us speak, act how he would have us act, and trust the outcome to him. Only God knows the hearts of our friends, and only he can work his good purposes in them. So we pray for them, share the love of Jesus with them, and trust God for the rest.
What things hold you back from sharing your faith?
This is what it is to be a light. It’s what we get to do.
How can you trust God with your fears/anxieties about evangelism?
Who is God putting on your heart to share his love with?