How do we have conversations about Jesus and share our faith in everyday life? This is the question I am asked most frequently when I lead evangelism training. Most of us know that we should share about Jesus, but we just don’t know how to do it.
Many of us walk in a sort of low-grade fear that if we try to bring Jesus into a conversation at work we will be summarily rejected or worse, fired from our jobs. If you’ve struggled to share the good news of Jesus at work, in your neighborhood or in the community, I’d like to offer three simple suggestions that will open doors to more gospel conversations.
Begin with curiosity
A place to begin is with curiosity. Sue Warnke, a follower of Christ serving in the San Francisco tech industry, recounts the time she was insecure about leading an upcoming sales meeting with a potential client. Her boss listened patiently and then offered simple words of advice, “Be fascinated. Don’t try to be fascinating.”
Warnke instinctively applied this advice to sharing her faith at work. She began being fascinated by prayerfully asking two questions as opportunity arose that allowed her to hear the stories of others: What is your faith background? How did you grow up?
These questions don’t pin a person down into a defensive posture but simply allow them to share their journey. As we listen with an attitude of prayer, the Holy Spirit will help us hear the core concerns of their heart and to then know how to respond in ways that help them draw closer to Jesus.
Lifestyle of faith
Another way to be more active in sharing our faith anywhere, anytime with anyone starts with the shema, the ancient statement and prayer of the Jewish people found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
The shema paints a picture of a lifestyle of faith that no one can miss. It is not pushy, but it is out in the open. If we believe that the harvest is plentiful (Luke 10:2) and that the Father is drawing people to Jesus (John 6:44) then we need to live conspicuous lives of faith so that those seeking truth know who to come to with their questions.
It can be as simple as wearing a cross, posting a Bible verse at your desk or including a verse or important quote in your email signature. Further, as we are asking good questions and listening prayerfully to our friends, we can find ways to share stories from the Bible by saying, “That reminds me of . . .” and then sharing a relevant story of Jesus from the Gospels.
One way to initiate gospel conversations that I’ve found particularly helpful is to simply ask if I can pray when someone shares a challenge they are facing. If they hesitate, I follow up by asking, “If God could do a miracle in your life, what would you want him to do?” I then pray a quick prayer right then and there with them. Prayer is a tangible act of kindness that few people decline and which hands off the heavy lifting to God. If God meets their needs, they’re going to want to know him more.
In Luke 7, Jesus is approached by a group of Jewish elders who plead with him to heal the son of a centurion who they love and value. It seems this centurion has done much for them, going so far as to fund the building of their synagogue. This man has loved so well that those who should have been his avowed enemies respond to his crisis with love and sacrifice.
A friend of mine calls this ‘loving loudly.” When we love loudly, people take notice, and opportunities for gospel conversations arise naturally. When we respond to a co-worker’s complaints of being stretched too thin with an offer to go make copies for them, that is loving loudly.
When we hear about a neighbor’s illness and organize meals and make sure their lawn gets mowed, that is loving loudly. When we offer to go out of our way to help carpool another family’s kids to after-school activities, that too is loving loudly.
Loving loudly at work, in the neighborhood and in your community will inevitably open doors to share about the love of Jesus.
As we find ourselves having more conversations about faith, we need to be prepared to share the truth of the gospel because in the end, “faith comes by hearing, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).
When Jesus encounters the woman at the well in John 4, she returns to her village and says, “Come see a man who knew everything about me (Her Story). Could he be the Messiah (God’s Story)?” Then she brought the whole village back to Jesus.
This story is instructive for several reasons. First, if Jesus thought it a good idea to use this particular woman, he can certainly use you. Second, this story helps us know what to share. We can begin by sharing our story, our personal testimony or a story of God’s working in our life.
We also need to know how to declare the good news about Jesus. Find a simple gospel tool that will allow you to share the story in less than three minutes. My go-to resource is called the “three circles gospel.” (To learn more about the “three circles gospel” tool, read this article: https://www.everywhere2everywhere.org/articles/three-circles).
And finally, the woman at the well brings her neighbors back to Jesus, and we can do that too. Perhaps the most powerful step you can take in the life of an unbeliever is to invite them to read one of the gospels with you. Bring them to Jesus and let Jesus speak for himself through His living and active word.
If we live a life of curiosity, if we live out a shema lifestyle and if we love loudly, we will find ourselves having more opportunities to share the hope we have in Jesus. And as we do that, we will begin to see our workplace, neighborhood and community transformed as more and more people step out of the darkness and into the light of Christ.
Aaron Myers is the digital outreach director for Crescent Project, an organization focused on seeing the day when every Muslim has an opportunity to respond to the gospel and be connected with a true follower of Jesus. Aaron, his wife and two teenagers live in South Dakota.