How should we share our faith and talk about God with others? Here are 3 tips on how you can share your faith with others.
In the spring of 2001, I was in seminary, taking my first class on evangelism. Our final project was to develop an act of evangelism, carry it out, and write a paper about our experience.
I had been trained in personal evangelism by a brilliant professor. I had read the latest books on how to share my faith. There were plenty of opportunities to share my faith at the college near my seminary.
But though I was technically prepared, I certainly wasn't ready. I had never talked with people about God like this project required—and I had no idea what to do.
Finally, I decided to conduct a survey of religious beliefs. I wrote a series of increasingly personal religious questions that ended with this: "Who do you think Jesus Christ was?" After I listened to their answer, I would ask the respondents if I could tell them who I thought Jesus was.
I was extremely nervous and afraid of what people might say or do when I asked if I could talk to them about Jesus. But I was surprised. Only about 1 out of every 20 people who completed the survey didn't want to hear my views on Jesus.
Though I was uncomfortable at first, I soon learned that sharing my faith with others wasn’t a classroom obligation; it was a privilege—cheesy though that may sound.
Do Christians Have to Share Their Faith?
You may wonder if telling others about God is really something you need to do. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says.
After Jesus’s resurrection, he left his disciples with one final instruction: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”1
A few decades later, when writing to believers in the early church, Peter gave further guidance: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”2
“The hope that you have” refers to the belief that those who accept Jesus as their savior can live with him eternally. And the reason for that hope is the gospel—the good news that God loved humankind so much that he sacrificed his one and only Son so that we could each have a personal relationship with God.
The message is clear: those who follow Jesus are expected to tell others about the good news of his love. According to these verses, all Christians are called to share their faith.
Charles Spurgeon, a nineteenth-century pastor, put it this way, “Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that you are either trying to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love him at all.”3
Pretty serious stuff.
How to Share Your Faith
At the heart of it all, sharing your faith boils down to telling someone how and why your life is different because of your relationship with God. Sharing the gospel is most basically sharing how your story intersects with God’s story—and helping them see where their story intersects with God’s story, too.
So how do you talk to others about God? Here are three tips for sharing your faith effectively.
1. Share Your Faith with Gentleness
Why was it that so few people objected to the way I was telling them about Jesus during my survey experiment?
Fundamentally, I wasn’t forcing my beliefs on them. I was learning about who they were and what they believed and then asking if they would like to hear my thoughts.
Conversations about faith often work best when questions are involved. As I asked those students about their faith, they had an opportunity to consider what they believed—perhaps in a way they never had before. They also knew they were being listened to, which feels very different than being talked at.
Asking them questions also helped me to learn more about who they were and what they’d been through in life, which then informed our conversation after the survey.
2. Share Your Faith with Respect
Our discussions of faith must come from a place of humility and authenticity—devoid of judgement about the person with whom we’re talking. It’s imperative that we respect each person, their story, and their unique perspective.
Speaking with neither condescension nor condemnation can make all the difference in someone’s receptiveness to you. After all, the best conversations operate on a two-way street. The other party should feel comfortable asking you questions, too.
We also must honor others’ boundaries. If someone indicates that they’re uncomfortable with the conversation, respect their request and move on to another topic.
3. Share Your Faith with Prayer
We should not only be praying for opportunities to share our story but also be speaking prayerfully when we do have the opportunity.
Before you even open your mouth, ask God to guide your words. After all, God knows much more than we do about what’s going on in others’ hearts and minds and what they need to hear.
Prayer itself can also be used as an avenue to sharing your faith with others. When we ask people we know (and even people we don’t know) if and how we can pray for them, opportunities to share faith will arise. Once that dialogue has opened, the chance to share the gospel often arises more naturally.
Practice Talking about God
Like with so many things, the more often we share our faith with others, the more comfortable we become. In fact, a recent survey by the Barna Group found that those who had ten or more spiritual conversations in the previous year reported feeling joy, peace, and gladness when sharing their faith with others.4
Talking to people about God doesn’t have to be scary or stressful. And you don’t have to go to seminary to share your faith with someone. When spiritual conversations are approached with gentleness, respect, and prayer, a lot of good can come from them as both parties are reminded of God’s eternal love for us all.