by Warren Olson
In all my years of ministry, I’ve found there’s one topic of conversation that provokes more fear and anxiety than any other: sharing our faith. Many Christians would rather go swimming with sharks than explain the Gospel to a lost friend or family member!
There are many reasons why men and women of Christ are afraid to share what they believe with others. They’re worried they’ll come across as insensitive. They think people don’t want to hear the Gospel. Or, faith just isn’t a proper topic of conversation among them and their friends. Most often, however, most people fear sharing the Gospel because they don’t know how to take a regular conversation and make it a spiritual one. They can’t get from A to B!
Most men and women of faith can explain what they believe when I talk to them. They talk about how Jesus died for them and that by faith, they’re saved from their sins and given the gift of eternal life. “That’s exactly right!” I tell them. But when you ask them to say those very same words to an unbeliever, they start shaking, stuttering, and can’t get the words out of their mouths!
But what if instead of starting a conversation with, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”, we shared the Gospel conversationally? I know this has helped Virginia and me as we’ve shared Christ, even with strangers. We allow them to talk about themselves, make chitchat and ask, “Do you attend a church?” or “How can we pray for you?” In conversations like these, we’ve found that people are open and willing to share once they know there’s a listening ear.
Another on-ramp to spiritual conversation is to meet people at their need. If someone is in the hospital, they’re usually willing to allow you to pray for them and speak God’s truth into their lives. And if their health is failing quickly, they’ll typically be open to hearing about how they can be sure of their eternal destiny.
One of the most difficult groups of people to engage is very often the one you know the best… your own family. This group is difficult because your family knows you. They know your weaknesses and shortcomings, and you may be afraid of sounding hypocritical by sharing the message of Christ.
But the advantage you have with your family is that you’re able to give them little pieces of spiritual truth each time you see them. You can give thanks for your meal before you eat or bring biblical truth into a conversation when appropriate. These nuggets of truth can serve as on-ramps to deeper spiritual conversation.
Sharing the Gospel isn’t always easy, but you can do it with anyone simply by having a conversation. It’s my prayer that these simple on-ramps will help you overcome fear and share your faith with everyone around you!