“I really love hearing you guys talk about religion,” said one of my friends, June*, over a dinner conversation.
I almost fell out of my chair in shock. June, of all people, saying that?
Though it might not have seemed like much, those words might just have been the first fruits of the seeds of the Gospel I had been sowing in her life.
I’ve known June for slightly over three years, and for most of that time she was extremely non-religious and had told me on multiple occasions that Jesus cannot be real.
Honestly, I had never once explicitly talked about Jesus to her. Given how Gospel-averse June is, I figured that would probably be the fastest way to scare her off.
But last November, when we were hanging out one day, God unexpectedly opened the door for us to have a proper conversation about Jesus for the first time.
We were walking to the MRT station together when June suddenly shared with me about the demonic dreams she was having and ongoing struggles with sleep paralysis.
She told me that these two issues made her consider Jesus for the first time.
I felt prompted to continue this conversation, so I began to share with her about my own experiences with sleep paralysis and how calling on the name of Jesus set me free.
“So, Jesus is real!” I finished, affirming that my personal experience of His power was a key factor in bringing me to that conviction.
For the first time, June was stunned into silence. She didn’t dispute that Jesus exists but became quietly thoughtful, as though she were considering the validity of what I had just proposed.
That was the first time I had ever shared the Gospel with June through my own testimony, and similar conversations would come afterwards.
There were several things I took away from this whole process of reaching out to June.
1. Begin by sharing your own testimony
Sharing your own testimony is probably one of the easiest and yet most powerful evangelism tools at your disposal.
No one can dispute your experiences since they are personal, and it can be really inspiring and encouraging for others to hear!
It can be as simple as sharing how God has worked in your life.
When Jesus healed the demon-possessed man, He exhorted the man he had healed to go back home and testify to others of how much God had done for him.
Indeed, Mark 5:19 recounts what Christ said: “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you”.
By hearing true stories of how God has worked in our lives, the Gospel is made alive and real to our non-believing friends.
Sharing my personal testimony with June helped to make her think if it was possible that Jesus was real after all.
The experience led me to realise that our presentation of the Gospel must be relatable to our non-believing friends.
2. Present Jesus as a Saviour in all aspects of life
Sometimes, our friends are already so troubled in life that spiritual salvation isn’t the most immediate concern.
Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which says if people’s basic needs are not met, it’s unlikely they would be concerned with matters higher up the pyramid such as spirituality.
So, one step to make the Gospel more relatable to people would be to identify the earthly problems they are facing right now and show them how Jesus can help them through these struggles.
… our presentation of the Gospel must be relatable to our non-believing friends.
During Jesus’ time of ministry on earth, He didn’t just shove spirituality in the people faces — He also met their physical needs.
In addition to preaching the Good News, Jesus also fed the hungry and healed the sick.
The Gospel is about salvation, but it’s not limited to just salvation from eternal death.
Jesus is Saviour: Not just a far-off one who saves us from hell, but one who is near in all aspects of life — even the ordinary things!
When reaching out to non-believing friends, start by identifying the problems they are facing right now and showing them how Jesus offers hope in these situations.
For a young and healthy person like June, death and eternity are far less relevant than the more immediate matters of everyday life.
So, when June shared about her struggles with disturbed sleep, I saw that what she needed at the moment was a Saviour who could set her free.
Discernment and tactfulness in sharing the Gospel from a different angle can really go a long way in making your audience more receptive towards hearing what you have to share.
For instance, Jesus used metaphors — the Good Shepherd; the Door; the Light of the world — in speaking about Himself so that people could understand more easily (or deeply).
Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on how best to direct your conversations and for opportunities to talk about Jesus!
3. Be prepared in and out of season
After our talk last November, June began to become more interested in Christianity, as she started to consider the possibility that Jesus might be real.
June began to randomly ask me things regarding Christianity, which opened even more doors for us to talk about faith.
Amazingly, I even had the opportunity to go deeper and share with her about deeper things regarding the faith such as the concept of the Trinity and spiritual gifts, which made her even more curious and ask even more about Christianity.
While some of her questions did slightly baffle me, it did help that I had given prior thought to these questions myself.
As such, I was prepared to share a Biblical perspective on certain issues she talked about.
We don’t have to all be apologists, but we do need to be ready to defend our faith should the need arise!
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
It begins with personal conviction. If you lack this, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince someone else of something you aren’t even sure of yourself.
That said, everyone will have doubts and questions. Add to that, the fact that no human mind can fully fathom God.
Don’t be afraid to wrestle with these doubts, because confronting them head on is what will help you grow in your own faith.
Instead of sweeping them under the carpet, bring them to God and ask Him for wisdom and to reveal more of Himself to you.
As He begins to reveal more of Himself to us through His Word and personal encounters with Him, we will grow in spiritual maturity and become more grounded and convicted of the truth.
As a result, sharing it with others will come a lot more naturally out of the overflow!
4. Be patient in waiting for the harvest
“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” (James 5:7)
The most important lesson I am learning from this whole process of reaching out to June is patience.
Just as a plant takes time to grow, a harvest takes time.
Evangelism is usually not an overnight process, but one that requires perseverance and patience for the long haul.
We shouldn’t write people off and give up reaching out to them even when we feel like there is no point because all our attempts seem to come to a dead end.
Though I felt it was so difficult to reach out to June at first because she was so resistant, God was already working in her heart.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)
Although I don’t know when or whether June will eventually come to accept Christ, I can do my part in sowing the seeds of the Gospel in her life.
In the meantime, I’m praying for God to ready her heart to receive Him and to also prepare my heart to share more at the right time.
As we labour in this Great Commission, we can only do so much in our own human capacity.
Ultimately, it’s God who changes hearts and brings the growth.
So, if you too are journeying with a non-believing friend and patiently waiting to bring them to Christ — don’t give up hope and continue to intercede for them!
- What is your testimony?
- Have you ever spoken about your testimony as you shared the Gospel?
- Why not practise doing so with a trusted brother or sister in Christ?
- Who is someone in your social circles you might reach out to with the Gospel?
- This week, would you take one practical step by blessing them and having a deeper conversation?