Your palms are sweaty. Your heartbeat kicks up a notch. You look around to see who else might be watching. You rehearse your opening line a few times in your head, praying that you nail it on the first try. Wait! How does it go again?! OK. You take a deep breath, summon your courage, and open your mouth to…
What’s the scenario? I’m not talking about asking that certain someone on a first date, though it might feel similar. I’m talking about sharing your faith. You get nervous. You feel awkward. You wonder what the best way to do it is. And then a lot of times, you just keep quiet.
Most Christians believe that it’s bad advice to keep quiet about their faith. They know they should share the gospel. But far fewer of them actually break the silence. How about you?
Whether you’ve got the gift of evangelism, or the need to share your faith feels like something you’d rather return, here are seven keys that anyone can apply to share their faith in a way that’s natural, clear, and effective.
Do you really believe that everyone will live forever somewhere? Jesus said that every person is headed either for eternal life or eternal punishment. Their response to the gospel determines where they go. Does that motivate you to share it? There are some great reasons to share your faith, like compassion and care about someone’s eternal future, and obedience to Jesus’ direct command. There are also some not-so-great ones, like doing it just so that other people see you do it. Check your motives, and ask God to give you the right ones.
If you aren’t motivated to share and don’t prioritize it in your life, dig into why that is. Do you really believe that everyone is headed to either heaven or hell, and do you care about which one? Do you think that someone else will share with that person, so why bother? Do you think that your time is more valuable than the few minutes it would take? Life is too short to be silent. No one is promised tomorrow. No reason is a good enough reason to not share. Ask God to make this clear to you.
Why wouldn’t you share your faith? That’s not a rhetorical question. Literally, what makes you hesitant or uncomfortable or afraid? Is it what someone else would think, or how they might react? Is it being unsure of what to say? Is it wondering what other questions you might be asked but couldn’t answer? Is it that it feels, well, awkward?
Identifying those things is the first step. But don’t stop there! Share them with your community group and ask them to help you work through them. Reach out to someone at your church. Chances are good that someone shared the gospel with you at one point – ask them how they share their faith. Put together a plan for how you can tackle your obstacles. Don’t worry about being perfect – God loves to use imperfect messengers to share His perfect message! Just be willing to work through whatever might be holding you back.
This is really a part of every other step, but it’s important enough to be on its own too. Pray for opportunities to share your faith. Pray for courage and clarity to share when the time comes. Pray that God would draw people to Himself and save them. Pray that God would raise up people to share their faith. Thank God for the privilege of being a part of the most important mission there is!
Emphasis on look. This requires effort and intentionality. Do you try to find moments in your daily or weekly routines to engage with people, or are you heads-down and moving as quickly as you can? Is your schedule so packed that you can’t stop and talk with someone for a few minutes? Are you on your phone everywhere you go? Do you fill the conversations that you do have with things that don’t really matter, overlooking opportunities to go deeper? The opportunities to engage are everywhere, but you have to look for them. And sometimes, you have to create them.
Don’t just look overseas. International discipleship trips are great, but sharing the gospel is something you should do close to home, not only across an ocean. Jump in on an Unashamed weekend mission trip right here in Dallas. And even better, look for opportunities in your everyday life to engage with people. Talk to that coworker over lunch, or with that person at the gym, or with that salesperson, or your neighbor, or with that person asking you for spare change. Look for ways to serve the people that God puts in your path, and use that as a way to live out the gospel and then share it.
When you have a conversation with someone, treat them like a valuable fellow human being, not a project. You should be trying to plant the gospel, not just crop-dust it as you fly by. If you have the time, get to know them personally. Ask them their story. Share yours. Show them that you care about them. Use their name. Look them in the eye. Be warm and friendly. People will see right through you if you’re just trying to drop some truth and then move on. Build a friendship, even if it’s one that lasts for only the few minutes that you’re talking. You never know – it might be a friendship that lasts for eternity in heaven!
Make the most of every opportunity you have by getting to the gospel. Sometimes you might have only one conversation with a person, like that waiter on your road trip, so it would need to happen pretty quickly. Or sometimes you might have a little more time, like with that new person in the cube next to you, so you can build a genuine friendship. Point being, whether it’s in five minutes, five days, or five weeks, share the gospel. Don’t procrastinate, and do it with your words, not just your actions.
As far as how to share it, there are ways like the Romans Road, the Good News / Bad News approach, or the Bridge Illustration. Pick at least one and get familiar with it so that you’d be comfortable sharing it at any time. My personal favorite is the bridge illustration because it’s visual and easy to explain.
And then practically, how do you transition the conversation to the gospel? There are a lot of different ways to work it in. The most simple and straightforward is asking a question like, “do you have a faith?” People are often willing to talk about what they believe. There are other ways you can do this too, based on what the person is sharing. Are they anxious? Share how the gospel addresses all our fears and worries. Are they insecure? Share how the gospel provides identity, value, and worth. Are they looking for answers? Share how the gospel gives the best explanation for the brokenness around us and the hope for the future. Are they suffering? Share how the gospel provides help to the hurting. Are they longing for something more? Share how the gospel satisfies our deepest desires.
However and whenever you do it, make sure to actually get to the gospel.
Once you’ve shared, the ball is not in your court anymore. Effective evangelism doesn’t mean that everyone you share with trusts Christ right then. You’re not responsible for saving anyone – that’s God’s job, so you can rest easy and trust Him. There will be mixed reactions. Some will be critics, others curious, and others converts. Success for you is to be faithful in sharing. Pray that people respond to the message by trusting Christ, but don’t consider yourself a failure if they don’t. You might be the one planting the seed, or watering it, but God’s the one who makes it grow.
Which of these keys do you need to put into practice? We’d love to help!