Growing up in church, I’ve always known how important it is to share my faith with others. As an introvert and a pretty reserved person overall, though, the thought has always been a bit of a daunting one. It can seem so intimidating to start a conversation with someone about God and religion and faith in general, especially when you don’t know where they stand, how they feel, or even how they might have been burned by the church or by Christians.
The thing is, though, sharing your faith with others doesn’t have to be awkward or overwhelming. A relationship with Jesus shouldn’t be something you hide or downplay, either.
Jesus gave his followers a great commission in Scripture-- “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) We can’t make disciples if we stay silent. We must share our faith.
So-- how do we start?
Richard Hillier shares three helpful thoughts in his article “How to Share Your Faith Without It Being Awkward” for Relevant Magazine:
- “Have an answer ready.” I often run through potential conversations in my head before they happen, just to make sure I’m prepared to answer thoughtfully. This may sound silly, but I hate being caught off guard and would so much rather think things through on the front end than have to scramble in the middle of a clumsy conversation. A question I’m often asked on Monday mornings at work, for example, is “how was your weekend,” so I make sure I know my answer before I head down to the staff kitchen to grab that first cup of coffee. It’s a simple thing, but it helps me feel ready for those conversations when they come. The same is true when talking about my faith-- having an answer ready helps me feel ready to talk freely and genuinely instead of messily when those questions arise. “You might worry what questions people will ask or what they’ll assume about you,” Hillier writes. “But as a believer, you love Jesus and He loves you. Have confidence in this. There’s no need to deny or hide anything.” If you’re asked about church, or your beliefs, or how you feel about something happening in the news, Hillier advises to “be straight with them. ...Where the conversation will go from there is unknown, and that’s OK.”
- “Be discerning of timing and atmosphere.” A casual chat in the kitchen while grabbing coffee is a great time to bring up that you went to church over the weekend, or that you’re heading to Bible study in the evening, but the middle of a meeting might not be. “Even during a casual night out,” Hillier writes, “ask the Holy Spirit to give you a sensitivity of someone’s need to hear about your faith, for you to offer advice or when to simply speak truth.” Awareness is key here-- you don’t want to start a conversation like this off on the wrong foot, so be conscious of how things are going and let the Spirit guide you.
- “Live with love. Work with excellence.” We’ve often heard it said that our actions speak louder than our words, and it’s true that the way we live is a testimony to what we believe and who we follow. “One of our best testimonies at work or out with friends is easy and effective: Love others, love God, work hard, and people will notice,” says Hillier. “There won’t always be times to share your faith in direct conversation, which is exactly why your actions matter.” This is especially true in challenging or competitive circumstances-- are you showing respect for others, integrity in your work, care for your neighbors, compassion for your coworkers, and love and grace through your behavior? That will speak volumes about your identity, and will reflect Christ to those around you, whether you are sharing your faith vocally or not.
Sharing your faith doesn’t need to be a daunting endeavor-- it really can be as simple as acting thoughtfully, “working and living with excellence” like Hillier says, and being open and available to when the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak.
As 1 Peter 3:15 says in The Message, “Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.”
How do you feel about sharing your faith with friends, neighbors, and coworkers? Do you think it’s awkward or actually fun to do? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Photo credit: Unsplash
Publication date: April 13, 2017
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com