With the nation opening up, we have more opportunities to meet face-to-face with our friends.
In the midst of our conversations over meals, beach hangouts and shopping sprees, do we think to share about our convictions?
Having witnessed how lives are changed by the Gospel, it is not uncommon that we desire for others to receive the Good News. Our experiences of Jesus’ love moves us to hope that others can similarly encounter Him.
After all, Jesus says in Matthew 28:19 that we are to “make disciples of all nations”. It is on God’s heart that His creation can be united as one with Him, and He releases us as His messengers into the world.
Yet for some of us, evangelising proves too daunting to handle.
- Where do I begin?
- Am I imposing my viewpoints?
- What if my friend doesn’t want to come for my church outreach event?
Questions flood your mind, and before you know it you’ve grown afraid of sharing openly about God.
If this feels all too familiar, fret not! There are many non-confrontational ways to include God in our conversations.
We hope that these five entry points can help kickstart your journey of sharing Christ with others.
1. “How are you, really?”
One simple way we can show God’s love is by intentionally checking in with our pre-believing friends (the cursory how are yous just to fill an awkward silence or start a phone call do not count).
Taking time to listen to our friends about the worries on their heart can help to build a safe environment where no judgement is passed.
When we show genuine interest in the lives of our friends — both the good and bad — instead of jumping the gun to bring doctrine into the conversation, our friends can feel comfortable to share openly about their lives.
Oftentimes, what our friends need is a listening ear and someone to trust.
Making ourselves available to serve them and be present in the happenings of their life is a practical way to share their burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Though we might feel that we are not explicitly spreading the gospel, our actions are already reflective of God’s sacrificial and selfless love.
On some occasions, our friends might need some advice.
In these moments, we can choose to speak into their lives by building them up with our words.
This can look like encouraging them to see things from a different perspective, or by validating their emotions.
How we make our friends feel is more crucial than the exact words we say.
Jesus made time to be in the company of his friends, and He made an effort to hear them out and be beside them in their pain.
2. “If you don’t mind, can I pray for you?”
Another way we can bring Christ closer to our pre-believing friends is by praying for them.
If you’ve been a silent prayer warrior interceding for your friends behind closed doors, God sees what you do in secret and will reward you (Matthew 6:6).
However, there is also a place for prayer in person.
When we offer to pray for our friends out loud, we are letting them know that we care for them and are standing in solidarity with them through their struggles.
Not only so, it is a good opportunity for us to exercise our faith and witness the reality of God’s power in our friends’ lives.
Even as our friends are being prayed over, they are able to see our convictions being put in action first-hand, and catch a glimpse of the importance of God in our lives.
Jesus was always actively and openly praying for people in His time on earth. Even on the cross before He drew His last breath, He continued to intercede for the people, praying for God’s mercy over them (Luke 23:34).
Though it might be out of your comfort zone, you’d be surprised. More often than not, our pre-believing friends are touched by our offers to pray for them.
3. “Something crazy happened to me the other day…”
Telling real-life stories of how God has been working in your life is another way to bring Him into the picture.
Humans gravitate towards interesting and personal stories, and your friends are no exception.
Instead of having your conversations solely revolve around what you ate for lunch, or what you did on your recent holiday, why not share a thanksgiving?
It can be as simple as sharing about how God held the rain for you on your morning work commute because you forgot your umbrella, or as mind-blowing as a story of Him miraculously healing an injury.
We ought to be so in awe of God’s moving hand in our lives that we can’t help but talk about it.
Most of the time, the very concept of God can be foreign to our pre-believing friends.
That is why our stories of His goodness are testimonies that sow the first seeds of faith in their heart.
As we share our personal experiences, our friends can learn more about God without feeling like ideologies are being imposed on them.
This acts as a springboard to ignite more Jesus conversations in the future.
4. “Tell me more about your thoughts on ___!”
In a society rife with cancel culture, we might be tempted to run once we tread on contentious topics that stir controversy.
Instead of shying away, we should welcome these conversations as they provide a window into our friends’ worldviews.
Especially when it comes to topics in the faith that pre-believers might find hard to reconcile with, choose to listen and hold back your urge to immediately give your own input.
It is important to show that you are not there to debate, but to understand.
Only when we create an atmosphere of openness and trust, can we really begin to communicate.
Our friends will also attempt to put themselves in our shoes and better understand our convictions when the time comes for us to share out God-driven perspectives on the matter.
Of course, it is also important to pray, read up and consult spiritual authorities on these disputable issues before engaging with others.
God has strategically placed you where you are, and entrusted these friends into your hands. He wants you to be able to represent Him well in whatever environment He has called you to be a part of.
In Ephesians 4:15, Paul calls the church of Ephesus to “speak the truth in love”. I believe this extends outside the family of believers as well. We are to boldly speak God’s truths to our pre-believing friends, but this is to be done in love.
Choose to love by respecting our friends’ perspectives even if their beliefs run contrary to doctrine. If that looks like listening first before speaking or understanding first before sharing biblical truths — do that.
5. “It’s not easy, but I have hope.”
Finally, our attitude towards the setbacks and disappointments of this world can reflect God’s goodness to our friends who do not yet know Him.
When we are able to place our hope in God in the face of struggles, counter-cultural responses will pique the interest of pre-believers and cause them to question our atypical behaviour.
“Always be prepared to given an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Our hope is something we should be vocal about.
If inviting a friend to church or spreading the gospel seems out of reach for now, we can always start by simply declaring the hope we have when we encounter difficulties.
Practically, this might look like complaining less when you face an obstacle. Or choosing to remain positive when things don’t pan out the way you expect.
Of course, we are human too and it is natural for us to grapple with negativity, fear, disappointment, discouragement and a whole other plethora of emotions.
However, our active choice to claim God’s truths despite our circumstances speak of what truly matters: It is an unchanging God we place our hope in, not in our unpredictable situations.
What will you do?
Maybe you’re not the most outspoken person out there. Or maybe you’re not good at words.
But we all have a responsibility to bring God’s Word out into the ends of the earth.
As uncomfortable as that might be for you, Leonard Ravenhill makes a chilling yet truthful commentary on the need to for all men to hear the Gospel:
“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?”
When we find ourselves at the end of life here on earth , I hope that all of us will look back assured that we have done everything possible to win souls to eternity.
- On a scale of 1-10, how relevant is the Great Commission to your life? What’s holding you back?
- Think of your social circles, then take some time to ask God for a name. Take some time to pray for this friend.
- Which one of these five statements might you apply into your conversations with him or her?