Are you tired of anxiety hijacking your chance to share your faith with a co-worker? Does the idea of evangelism spark an eye-roll reflex? Have awkward experiences tarnished the idea of gospel-sharing for you or your family?
I get it. I have been there before. Talking about church, God, faith, sin, and the afterlife can be incredibly intimidating. Many of us worry that talking about our faith will come across as
- holier than thou
However, when we stop letting these presuppositions prevent us from talking about Jesus, we have the chance to join our Savior in changing the world.
You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:15-16b
In other words, let’s make it a thing. With practice and a few tools, talking about the good news of God’s love can become normal, not awkward, in your sphere of influence.
Here are 5 H.A.C.K.S. that my husband and I have learned along our own journey:
H. Hold the Gospel Close:
When a cup is poured into with more than it can hold, it splashes over on its surroundings. Similarly, when a Christian spends time treasuring the grace and freedom in a relationship with Jesus, he or she will overflow with joy and excitement for others to experience it as well.
- Schedule time daily to treasure God’s love for you by reading your Bible.
- Wake up every day and affirm your identity in Christ. Say “I am a child of God.” As children of the King of kings, we are also ambassadors of His Kingdom. The first is our primary identity. The second is our primary occupation.
- Talk about the undeserved goodness of God’s grace with other believers. Gather often and get excited about what God is doing. Make it important.
A. Ask The Gospel:
Change your thinking from “share the gospel,” to “ask the gospel.” Most Christians think evangelism is a speech to memorize. However, the Bible is full of stories of men, including Jesus, who introduced the gospel via good questions. Greg Stier created a fantastic method for this: Ask, Admire, Admit:
ASK: If you think your friend or family member is a Christian, ask, “what was the day like when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?” If they have a salvation experience to share, they will. If they do not, that will become clear and you can skip to “admire” below.
If you do not know about your friend’s or co-worker’s beliefs, ask, “How would you describe your spiritual journey?”
ADMIRE: Find one thing you can relate with or celebrate about the person’s answer. This is not the time to disagree. Use “I” statements to ensure the person feels loved and heard:
“I totally get your commitment to mindfulness.”
“I have always appreciated the kindness of your religion.”
“I deeply admire your resilience through so many hardships.”
ADMIT: This is not your chance to prove them wrong. In fact, this is your chance to admit your own wrong-ness. Find a piece of the person’s story that connects with your own need for a Savior. Then tell the story how Jesus rescued you, adopted you, and changed your life forever. Here’s an example:
“In my own life, I find no matter how hard I tried to balance out my good and bad, I always felt the scale tipping. But when I was 12, I finally understood that I am loved deeply by the God who created me. He sent Jesus to take the punishment I deserve for my imperfect identity. Now I have a relationship with God, not because I walked the right path, but because I trusted in Jesus to get me there.”
After ADMIT, offer a non-awkward way to continue the conversation in which you can finish your story with the G.O.S.P.E.L. (see below). Say something like, “I really appreciate you listening to my perspective. Is there a good time we can meet to talk more about this?” Their answer will clue you into their interest level:
“Yes, now please.”
“Sure, how about at _____ time and place.”
“No, I’m not interested.”
C. Carry The Gospel (Publicly):
Intentionally create built-in gospel sharing opportunities into your life. This is another way to ADMIT your need for the gospel. For example, my husband and I chose our children’s names so we could share the hope of Jesus with everyone who interacts with our family. Because of my kid’s names, I had the privilege of a simple gospel conversation with a new mom I met in the park. I asked what her child’s unique name meant; she answered and then reciprocated the question. In a few short words, I was able to give her a glimpse into the hope that I have.
“Our son’s name means defender, or intercessor. We chose this name because we believe people are completely separated from God without Jesus stepping in our place on the cross. Our daughter’s name means ‘a flowing river of good news.’ We hope she will be a life-giver and always share the good news that God loves all people.”
A built in gospel-opportunity might feel corny or obnoxious. You must discover what fits your personality and gives you that open door to be open about your relationship with Jesus. Besides the plethora of Christian t-shirts and bumper stickers available, here are some ideas:
- Wear stand-out jewelry that champions justice like Jesus does.
- Read an actual Bible in the break room (no one can tell if you read Scripture via smartphone or tablet).
- Say no to compromise and offer a Jesus-centered explanation: “When I accepted Jesus into my life, I decided He was going to be in charge. So even though I enjoy spending time with you, this [specific activity] doesn’t line up with my new life.”
- Change your name: After encountering God, Saul became Paul, Jacob became Israel, etc.
- Talk about what you love… if you hold the gospel close, you might naturally talk about Jesus.
K. Know The G.O.S.P.E.L.
Many years ago, we traveled many miles for a missions trip to practice sharing the gospel. We learned how to talk to people and how to ask spiritual questions. However, by the end of the trip, I was still unclear on what the actual GOSPEL was. I knew I was saved because I accepted Jesus’ death for my sins, but I could not articulate the full story of the Good News. Dare 2 Share Ministries has changed that for me. This G.O.S.P.E.L. acronym is easy to remember, and simple to regurgitate in your own words. Because the Gospel is not a hard copy of the Holy Bible. The Gospel is the Good News we know from what the Bible says. Memorize just the first word of each statement, and you are half way there:
- God created us to be with Him.
- Our sins separate us from God.
- Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
- Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
- Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
- Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!
S. Scatter The Gospel.
In a society of strategy and statistics, a Christian is understandably hesitant to invest a courageous gospel conversation in someone not 100% ready to agree and commit. However, when we step outside the western mindset, we find gospel sharing is less intimidating. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13. about a man who planted seeds on 4 patches of soil, only to see a harvest from 1 good soil patch.
One thing we can learn from this parable is that followers of Jesus are to be faithful seed planters regardless of the result. It is not a Christian’s job to soften hearts. The Holy Spirit takes care of that. We do not have to avoid sharing the gospel until the soil is good and ready. We get to scatter hope regardless. When we stop measuring success based on results, we learn how to trust God with the harvest. We also learn to equally celebrate each opportunity in the field: planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Our measure of success is obedience: did I sow some seeds this week? If not, have I taken time to reaffirm my primary identity and primary occupation (see Hack #1).