Some words in the “Christian” vocabulary are not well understood, and they can sometime cause people, even Christians, to cringe. One of those words is “evangelism.” For some it brings to mind people who argue with others about their faith. Or people who always seem to be trying to work their faith into every conversation. Or still others who find the need to correct everyone else’s behavior. All of these actions tend to rub people the wrong way, and may do more harm to the message of the gospel than good.
With this in mind, here are some simple ideas to keep in mind when sharing your faith with others:
Have a relationship with the people you share the gospel with.
While leaving leaflets for your waitress or in the restroom has it’s place, by and large, the people who will respond to us the best are those in our immediate sphere of influence–family, co-workers, neighbor, team mates, etc. Most people, when asked how they came to faith, will tell you it was through someone they knew, not through a stranger or some random encounter. When we love people well–serving them, forgiving them, blessing them–that is sharing the gospel, and it will open the door to some beautiful conversations. When we love genuinely, from the heart, we build bridges with people; we build trust, and that, that’s worth more than gold.
Speak the truth in love.
Whether sharing the message of the gospel with a friend, family member, or stranger who’s invited you into a conversation, do so with love. Using Jesus as our guide, we can never go wrong. He had a deep genuine love and compassion for everyone he spoke with and preached to. He cared about their illnesses, their sick children, and whether they had lunch or not. When he spoke, it was with conviction, but always with love. We can do the same, can’t we? (Rule of thumb: If you don’t like a person, hold off on sharing the gospel, unless specifically instructed otherwise by the Holy Spirit.)
Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Some pretty famous folks have written some terrific books about evangelism: Bill Hybels of Saddleback Church wrote Becoming a Contagious Christian and Joseph Aldrich wrote Lifestyle Evangelism, both of which I highly recommend, keeping in mind that the Holy Spirit can use us in wonderfully creative ways that no one may ever have thought of. The Holy Spirit opens doors to relationships, to conversations, and to opportunities to share our faith. He also leads and guides our conversations if we let him, and he will nudge us when we’ve said enough. Listen to him; he knows what he’s doing.
Share your story.
The great thing about your story is, it’s yours! It’s entirely unique and personal; no one can tell it with the enthusiasm and joy that you can. People have come up with all kinds of methods and steps to telling others about God and how he wants to transform their lives, but you already have a method; it’s called Your Story. Keep it simple, keep it real. People enjoy hearing stories, especially from people they care about and trust, like you, and let’s face it, you can answer just about any question they throw at you because, once again, it’s your story.
Even though this is the fifth and final suggestion, it’s probably the most important. Pray. Always pray. Always pray about most everything. And you can’t go wrong. Pray for those in your circle of influence who have not responded to God’s calling. Pray for strength and guidance as you live out your faith-walk, that others would notice the difference God has made in your life. Pray for those you come into contact with that your life and your words would carry godly weight, that the Holy Spirit would use them to make a difference. And he will. I promise.
Life in God is full of opportunities to love and be loved. If you’ve not responded to the whisper of the Holy Spirit to come to God, why not do it today? A meaningful relationship with the God who loves you will change your life forever.