28 October 2016
5 ways to start a conversation about your faith
Gary Gibbs, director of REACH, the evangelism and church planting department of Elim pentecostal churches shares his tips for sharing faith...
There are a few differing statistics on this, but what is for sure is that the vast, vast majority of people who end up becoming followers of Jesus do so, humanly speaking, in the context of a friendship with someone who already loves God. My tips presuppose that we are being 'up close and personal' with just a few people who are currently far away from God. So, here we go…
1. Live a 'questionable life'
In his first letter, Peter encourages believers: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1Peter 3:15) Now, why would someone ask you about your faith? What about if we lived 'questionable lives'?
I started following Jesus aged 17 having never previously been involved in anything churchy or religious. What provoked me to find out was Alison. We were at school together and she was the real deal. There was something about the way she treated people, her kind words and some 'vibe' she carried that begged the question. I began asking and, before long, I received!
2. What did you do at the weekend?
I like Mondays – it's a great time to talk about Jesus! Whether you are in the office, at the school gate, after a lecture, having lunch, people often talk about what they got up to over the weekend.
So, what did you do? It probably doesn't happen every weekend (or Sunday), but why not throw into the conversation a story about someone becoming a Jesus follower or a healing miracle or something the speaker said that would make your unbelieving friends think…
3. Use social media
I've discovered that a text or a private message is a brilliant way to invite a friend to come along to a guest event such as a dinner, an Alpha course, an evangelistic service, etc. If you simply blurt an invitation into their face, the kneejerk reaction will often be a negative.
A good number of my Facebook friends are not-yet Christians and from time to time, I'll post a link to a short video that will challenge their worldview. Most of my posts are not 'religious' in any great way – catching fish takes patience!
4. Ask a question
Here are a few I have in my armoury that I trust the Holy Spirit can help me to use in an appropriate time and way:
″ "On a scale of one to 10, with one being a million miles away from God and 10 being the Pope, what number would best describe where you are? What would need to happen to change the number (positively!)?"
″ "If it were possible to know God personally, would you be interested?"
″ "Did you know that the majority of people have at some point in their life had a strange, spooky or supernatural experience which they can't explain? Has anything ever happened to you like that?"
5. Tell stories
I don't mean fairy tales or lies! One of the ways we overcome the dragon – Satan – is by "the word of our testimony" (Revelation 12:12). The story of your conversion is a powerful, foundational tool that you can share with someone. Simply ask them about their own spirituality, listen carefully to what they say and then ask if you have ever shared with them how you became a Jesus follower: if not, continue to tell your story – it's called having a conversation.
Having said that, your salvation is not the last time God helped you! The truth is that you have got lots of transformation stories you could share of how the Lord has intervened in your life and helped you, comforted you, bailed you out of sticky situations. If you can link one of these experiences to something a friend is going through at a particular time, how powerful will that be?