It’s been said that the two most difficult things about evangelism for Christians are: #1) Starting and #2) Stopping! A lot of Christians keep their faith to themselves for various reasons. However, our calling and joy is to abide in Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit gives us courage and boldness to share (John 15:5; Acts 4:31). If you aren’t active in sharing your faith with others, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Why?”
There are roots to hesitancy in sharing faith. If you can identify them, you can find the resources to overcome them. Remember, Jesus’ invitation to his first disciples, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matthew 4:19 NLT)! So, starting can be challenging, but God is with you and for you!
Then the stopping! You know what I mean. You’ve met people who share their faith and don’t come up for air! At some point you feel trapped because they have shifted into sermon mode. Dialogue is so much more effective and fun! Have a few questions ready so that the other person is invited into the conversation. “I’ve shared about my faith and I’m grateful for you listening. I’m curious, are a person of faith? I’d love to hear some of your story.” Then make sure you don’t interrupt them. Ask clarifying questions or encourage them to expound on some aspect of their story. If they have different views, don’t react negatively. Remember, the Holy Spirit goes ahead of us, is with us and goes after us. Don’t try to force a change. Try to sense how open they are and follow the leading of God’s Spirit. Remember, we are called to be witnesses, not prosecuting attorneys!
The Greatest Commandment is crucial in true faith sharing – Love God, love the person you’re sharing with. These two points are also crucial in effective faith sharing: #1) Don’t treat the person as a project! They are a unique human life created in God’s image. #2) Don’t reduce your witnessing to a formula or a technique. I’m not against having some specific points to share, but tune in to the relationship, where the person is hurting, broken or needy. Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to share your own shortcomings and hurts in order to connect with them. Here are a few other questions I like to ask to get to know people and understand where they are: “Do you have a faith background? What is it and has it been played a positive role in your life?” “Do you think God is active in the world and, if so, how?” “What do you make of Jesus? Do you know his teachings and what do you think of them? Do you think he is the Son of God? God revealed in human form? Why or why not?”
As I get to know people who are not Christians, at some point I share with them that I’m betting my whole life that the greatest truth at the center of the universe is this: “God loves you, and the clear evidence is seen in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ!”
**I am available to train churches in evangelism and basic apologetics face to face or via Zoom.