Are you tired of anxiety hijacking your chance to share your faith with a co-worker? Does the idea of evangelism incite 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. Assume and Ask:
Many of us assume the people around us are Christians. They seem to know the lingo, sing the songs, attend the services, therefore, they must have accepted Christ as Savior, right? Not necessarily. News in today’s Christian culture reminds us that Christian people desperately need to hear the clarity of Jesus love and our need for Him. Because they might claim to affiliate with the religion, but never actually experience adoption into God’s family by grace through faith.
And then there’s the beautiful mosaic of people who authentically have no claim to a relationship with Christ. They need to hear about the hope that we have too!
This is where we get stuck. We can lament about people who don’t know Jesus, however it all feels SUPER intimidating to do something about it.
It doesn’t have to be! 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.
Asking a Christian: 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.
Asking a non-believer: If you do not know about your friend’s or co-worker’s beliefs, ask, “How would you describe your spiritual journey?”
This is your chance to practice hospitality, so let go of any debate points.
Find one thing you can celebrate about the person’s answer. What can you relate to? 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.”
Again, this is not your chance to prove them wrong. In fact, this is your chance to admit your own wrong-ness! Humility will set your experience apart from most “evangelistic” opportunities. 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. In high school, 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.”
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!
As you are connecting personally, remember to incorporate these truths. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the darkness of our past life or the beauty of our current salvation without actually pointing out the path that lead us from A to B.
At this point, I tend to get awkward. What do I say next, now that I shared my story? So often we fumble through an awkward invitation to church or youth group and rush to change the subject.
When we do so, we are avoiding something beautiful. Who knows how the Holy Spirit is working in this moment!? The Bible is full of interpersonal relationship salvation stories, yet we want to shove the experience into a Sunday morning package.
The simple solution: offer a non-awkward way to continue the conversation. 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.”
If they are ready now, show them what the Bible says:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
It doesn’t take a special prayer or incantation to get “in.” Believe and declare, have faith and make a statement. Our identity transformation from sinner to son/daughter is instant in the eyes of our Savior, though it takes a while for us to learn to act like it (sanctification). That is where invitations to church and Bible study come in handy.
- Hold the Gospel close
- Assume and Ask
- Connect Personally
- Know the GOPSEL
- Secure the Opportunity
I hope these Gospel HACKS re-ignite a joy and motivation to be a part of the incredible work God is already doing in our world!
What Gospel Sharing Hack do you plan to focus on this week? Share this post to stock the disciple-making tool box for someone else too!
*This post originally appeared on Becky’s former website, Campfire Grace, on October 21, 2017. It has been modified and re-published to keep sparking excitement for new readers.