Still struggling with sharing your faith? Confront the issues that are keeping you from sharing the gospel with the practical steps I’ve outlined in this lovely little article. They’re the same steps I’ve taken to break out of my comfort zone and start sharing Jesus with my unsaved friends and loved ones. Are you ready to stop struggling and start sharing? Then read on, sister.
The “Share Your Faith” Struggle is Real
The first couple of times you share your faith it can feel an awful lot like being called on to read aloud in class. You try remind yourself, “Hey. I know how to read. I’ve got this.” You cautiously read each word in a desperate effort to not embarrass yourself, putting extra emphasis on syllables you often leave out and hoping the rhythm of the words doesn’t make you stumble or mispronounce the word “herbal”. (Is it “her-bal” or “eer-bal”? God, why didn’t I work this out in elementary school?)
The good news is that as you continue to share your faith, just as you continue to read on a regular basis, you get better at it. It becomes more natural. Slowly that nervous pressure you used to feel melts away as you continuously meditate on the gospel and hone your delivery. You embrace the rhythm of each unique conversation and instinctively know through the Spirit’s guidance which truths of the gospel to emphasize according to the listener’s need. It’s no longer about surviving the conversation, but delivering a valuable message to someone who desperately needs to hear of the unfailing love of Christ.
God can use you to impact someone’s life with the game-changing message of the gospel, and the enemy knows this. Spiritual warfare is real, and you better believe that you’ve got a bold, red target painted on your back since you’ve decided to take the Great Commission seriously. With that said, there are obstacles that the enemy will use to trip you up, as well as hindrances that we unintentionally create for ourselves that keep us from witnessing. Let’s get specific. It’s time to confront the reasons that you struggle to share your faith, and start taking some practical steps to communicate the gospel to your family members, classmates, coworkers, neighbors, and…humans. (That should cover everyone else.)
#1 | Fear of Failure
If you’re afraid that you will fail at sharing the gospel because the listener might reject Christ, you’re not alone. For the longest time I was weighted down by this fear of gospel-rejection. Rejection meant that something was wrong with me. I imagined that hearing the listener reject Jesus would be the equivalent of having a door slammed in my face. It would have echoed and confirmed my fears that I sucked at telling people about Jesus, that I didn’t have enough faith, or worst of all that God would be disappointed with my efforts. In order to conquer the fear of failure and start sharing your faith with others you must understand what Jesus requires of you. We’ll do that by addressing two questions:
- Who is being rejected when someone doesn’t receive the gospel?
- Is it my responsibility to “convert” someone?
Who is being rejected when someone doesn’t receive the gospel? Christ clarifies this for us in Luke 10:16: “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me (ESV).” The world may try to shoot the messenger, but remember that the gospel is Christ’s invitation to receive His forgiveness. Not yours. Successfully sharing your faith with someone doesn’t hinge on the hearer’s response, but your willingness to communicate the gospel. So invite others to receive Christ’s forgiveness of sin, and leave the results to God.
Now we must ask ourselves, “Do I really bear the responsibility to “convert” someone?” Paul teaches us in Romans 10:14 that Christ uses us to build His Kingdom when we proclaim Jesus to others, but no one can come to Christ unless he or she is drawn by the Father (John 6:44). You are not defective if someone doesn’t ask to receive Jesus after you share the gospel. This is just an indication that you should continue to lift him or her up in prayer and communicate the gospel through your words and lifestyle to that individual.
#2 | Unable to Communicate the Gospel
The first time I ever tried to communicate the gospel with someone it took me an entire hour. Can God use one-hour-long gospel presentations? He sure can. But let’s be realistic here. Not everyone is as sweet as the young Japanese international student that heard me out that day, and thinking back I seriously wonder if he completely understood everything I said.
Communication only takes place if the listener receives the message. We must consider the barriers, such as time, culture, and language, that might keep us from communicating the gospel in a way that the listener can understand. Having a rock solid understanding of the gospel and knowledge of the listener’s culture will help us take advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel and contextualize the message when necessary.
We can’t contextualize (communicate the gospel in terms of the listener’s experience, worldview, and culture) if we don’t grasp the gospel for ourselves. Why does the rich and satisfied fool need Jesus? Do people only need Jesus if they feel like their lives are falling apart or need to feel complete? Why should the buddhist stop worshipping Buddha, or the do-gooder atheist seek Jesus? Take some time to pose these questions to the scriptures for a richer understanding of the gospel. (Psst. If you need help understanding why we all need Jesus, read the message of the gospel here. There are also entire modules devoted to the gospel and sharing your faith in the free Live Christ Out Loud course.)
Be prepared to share the gospel by understanding why we need Jesus and being able to express that in terms the listener can understand. Here are some amazing resources that I’ve used to enhanced my gospel-communication skills.
- “Share Jesus Without Fear” by William Faye & Ralph Hodge. Read the book or listen to a live seminar right here.
- Living Waters University Watch one of these 3-5 minute videos a day. Ray Comfort presents an easy conversational method to sharing your faith with anyone.
#3 | Waiting for the “Perfect” Moment
Do you hesitate to share the gospel because you’re waiting for the perfect moment? Perhaps you’re waiting for your co-worker to say, “The benefits in this office suck! Why are you so happy all of the time?” Then you’ll do a little jig on the inside. “Finally the perfect moment has come!” Then, you’ll say: “It’s all because of Jesus.” Then he or she will be like: “Wow! Can I have a relationship with Jesus too?!” Then you’ll throw your hands in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care, and reply “Of course! Bow your head and repeat after me–” Then your boss comes out of nowhere and interrupts your conversation to tell you to unclog the toilets in the ladies bathroom because the janitor was a no-show. Then he gives your co worker a raise on the spot. Perfect moment totally ruined. Oh well, there’s always next time, right?
Wrong. I hope that silly little story demonstrated that. There is no “perfect moment” to share the gospel, my friend. Waiting for the stars to align before you help someone realize that he or she is a sinner in need of God’s grace is like saying you’ll buy a MacBook when Apple drops its prices below $800. It ain’t happening. The gospel is offensive, so it’ll always feel risky to share it. Waiting for the ideal moment won’t make it any more appealing to a sinner.
Now, there may not be a “perfect” moment, but there’s definitely a “right moment” to share the gospel. When is the “right moment?” I really don’t want you to overthink this. The “right” moment may be the moment you have right now, or the moment when the listener is receptive and humble. Honestly, you’ll really have to take your cues from the Holy Spirit. Prayerfully ask the Spirit to alert you to those opportune moments and resolve to intentionally start gospel dialogs. (Aye! Learn how to start a gospel dialog right here.)
#4 | Unwilling to Be Uncomfortable
“Spiritual conversations unwelcomed here.” It literally feels like the phrase is posted everywhere in our culture. Can I talk about sex? Sure. Can I expose my body? Go, right ahead. Can I tell you about, Jesus? Now, you’ve crossed the line. If we bring up Jesus we feel like we have so much to lose. “What will my friend say?” “Will my coworkers stop inviting me to the office parties?” We ask ourselves, “Just how much will I have to lose to tell others about Jesus?”
This focus on our losses reminds me of Satan’s trickery in the Garden of Eden. Eve literally had VIP access to God and the world at her feet, but Satan tricked her into focusing on the one thing she couldn’t do. One thing. Eve ended up sabotaging her relationship with God and her blessings all because she was tricked into thinking that God was holding out on her.
Listen, Jesus Girl. God isn’t holding out on you. He’s not a cosmic killjoy trying to keep you from being accepted by others. You are already fully accepted and loved unconditionally by God. Abba. Daddy. If your acceptance from others comes at the expense of your obedience and devotion to Jesus, you have officially been duped by the Devil. Tricked into believing you have to earn the right to loved, instead of living from your God-given position of love in Jesus Christ. Getting uncomfortable is not an easy thing. People will despise us on account of Christ, but grounding our identity in Jesus and growing in our understanding of just how much He loves and treasures us will bring us peace, even when it feels like the entire world is against us. So share the gospel. You really have no idea what kind of impact your compassion and courage will have on the listener.
#5 | Feeling Disqualified
If I’m expected to pay top dollar for a product, I want all of the bells and whistles. That’s the mentality we have in our consumerist society, and maybe it’s seeped into our mindset about evangelism. “I can’t share Jesus right now. My life is too jacked up. I’m nowhere near perfect.” What is required to share Jesus? Do I have to be the poster-girl of Christianity in order to share my faith?
The woman at the well (commonly known as the Samaritan woman) certainly wasn’t, and she’s considered to be the very first evangelist. When Jesus found her at the well, she was shacking up with a man that wasn’t even her husband. She was obviously flunking sainthood, but after Jesus called her to repent and place her faith in Him she transformed. Her lonely, abnormally timed commute to the well suggested that she didn’t want to be seen by others and ridiculed for her sinful lifestyle. However, after placing her faith in Christ she ran back into her town exclaiming, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah? (John 4:29, NIV)” Read on to hear what an impact this one jacked-up woman made on her town.
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in [Jesus] because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world (John 4: 39-42, NIV).’”
Should our lives compliment the message of the gospel? Definitely. Should you wait until your lifestyle comes in pretty wrapping with all of the bells and whistles the average person would expect of the “ideal Christian?” No ma’am. How many Americans, Tennesseans, and Memphians (or whatever tribe you belong to) will be able to say, “We believe in Jesus because of [insert your name here]’s testimony?” You’ll never know if you let the past keep you from sharing.
#6 | No Relationships with Non-Christians
This hindrance for sharing your faith may not seem as obvious as the others. You maybe struggling to share the gospel, because you rarely have the opportunity to speak with people who don’t identify as Christians. Pause for a moment and survey your relationships. How many non-Christians do you spend time with on a weekly basis? People are tribal by nature. It’s so easy to gravitate to the people to those who look and live just like us, but how can we expect to be salt and light in this world if we restrict ourselves to our Christian bubbles?
There are a couple of reasons a Christian may lack friendship relationships with non-Christians. First, you may not come into contact with non-Christians because of your vocation or schedule. I happen to fall in this category as a full-time Christian blogger, and formally as a missionary. Other women I know that deal with this are full-time mommies, church staff, and creative entrepreneurs. How do you share the gospel when you’re practically alone or with other Christians 24/7? The answer is creativity, my friend. You have to make opportunities to be around non-Christians. Can you volunteer somewhere on a consistent basis? Join a local book club? Build relationships with your neighbors? Consider where you could plug-in, or how you can start taking advantage of the places where non-Christians are already around you.
(On a side note…To the Christian mommy, I want to remind you that raising your children is around-the-clock evangelism and discipleship. As long as you are committed to teaching your children to fear the Lord, helping them grow in their understanding of God’s word, leading by example, and showing them how to apply God’s word in their everyday lives you’re sharing your faith, but remember to leave the results to God.)
The second reason a believer may lack relationships with non-Christians is because he or she is avoiding them. Maybe all you can seem to focus on at your job is the clock, and once you’re shift is over you’re out of there. Does the idea of starting relationships with the people on your job, at your school, or heck maybe in your family sound too messy? Too complicated? Too inconvenient? Too scary?
What if Jesus took the same attitude when it came to the cross? No. I’m not trying to guilt-trip you. I just want us all to get in the habit of comparing our attitudes against the backdrop of calvary. I’m a living witness that being real with your coworkers and trying to start genuine relationships with people is messy, painful, but also very rewarding. It’s not the hollywood picture we paint in our Christian outreach novels and movies. It’s irritating and humbling. Sometimes you feel rejected even when you’re trying to be the best friend you can, and there are times by God’s grace that you get to see someone draw closer to God. I think that Christ wanted us to experience sharing the gospel the same way He did: on the receiving end of toil and tears; and freely sacrificing Himself. So if you want to share the gospel build genuine relationships with non-Christians, and love on them. For real.
What reasons do you identity as personal hindrances to sharing your faith? What steps will you take to stop struggling and start sharing? Comment below.