Recently in our Saturate Online Community discussion forum a question was proposed:”Why don’t we talk about Jesus in our normal, everyday conversations?”
I believe this is a layered challenge rooted with varying levels of fears, unbelief, lack of equipping, etc., but I want to discuss two pragmatic reasons we struggle. For sake of depth I’m not going to discuss the “desire to share” heart issues as that is an entirely different discussion. This is focused on the person who says, “I really want to be better at sharing Jesus, but I struggle!”
With that in mind, here are two roadblocks and potential areas for growth:
We aren’t effective at asking good questions and listening.
Specifically, we struggle to do this in a way that digs deeper into someone’s life to get to know who they truly are and how the Gospel would even be good news to them and their story. Not asking good questions gets us stuck talking about fantasy football rosters, traffic, movies, etc., without ever getting past the small-talk superficiality that most people (including us) are most comfortable with yet longing to break free of. Good question-asking and listening allow us to turn the corner from superficiality into authentic relationship-building. This is a transition from “what do I say?” to “what should I ask?” By asking “Spirit, how should I respond or continue?” in the midst of our conversations with not-yet believers, I believe we’d see entirely different opportunities present themselves.
Growing in Spirit-dependence is critical here. Navigating your fears and hesitancies requires you to ask Jesus to search your heart and see if you’re submitting to Him or your own agenda (either too fast or too slow). Relational trust via good listening can be built quickly and effectively, sometimes or often even the first time meeting someone.
So how do we actually get better at this? Pursue coaching or resources on how to ask better questions and improve your active listening skills. Then PRACTICE in your MCs and with people you meet.
There was an amazing article written on Ed Stetzer’s blog last week that discusses this exact issue that I can’t recommend enough. It’s called “When Evangelism Really Isn’t That Hard.”
We actually don’t know what to say.
Let’s assume we’ve become great listeners per number one, done our ground work, built trust, and feel we have an opportunity to share! “But what now? What do I say? There’s so much to share, but I don’t want to vomit a million things at this person!”
I see a lot of hesitancy arise right here in the “what to share” category, and it’s legitimate! How do you sift through all you know about Jesus? Let me offer a few simple yet profound tips on “what to share” that I’ve borrowed from a masterful “non-evangelist,” Carl Medearis. (If you haven’t read his book, Speaking of Jesus, and want to grow in sharing Jesus, read it!)
Here are his three simple tips on sharing Jesus naturally:
Tell stories about Jesus — from scripture but in your own vernacular/daily language. They don’t have to be perfect word for word, but KNOW THE STORIES and bring them to life for people! (I.E. “Actually your situation reminds me of a story about Jesus in the Bible. You mind if I share it? Well, there was a gnarly storm, and His friends were out in a boat. The boat was about to sink and Jesus . . .) You can fill in the rest, but you get the point. You’re painting the picture of what Jesus is like through stories about Him in the bible.
Tell stories Jesus told — there are roughly forty different stories/parables Jesus told in scripture. They’re amazing ways of showing what the Kingdom/Jesus is like. Again, you need to be able to tell them naturally without a Bible. I did this a while back with a girl sitting next to me on a plane. She told me she was “spiritual, but not religious,” and she told me about her brother who was in jail (I asked questions to get to this point). At one point she said, “You know, I told my brother God helps those who help themselves . . . and he just won’t get his act together.” I responded with, “You want to know some good news? Well, Jesus told a story in the Bible about a shepherd who had 100 sheep, and when one of them ran away, he left the ninety-nine to go after the one stray sheep. Maybe your brother needs to know that Jesus tells us He goes after the stray sheep even if they don’t have their lives together.” She began to cry and said I had made her day and that was the best thing anyone had ever told her, and she wanted to share it with her brother!
Tell stories about you and Jesus — These are points where you share your “testimony” or parts of it at that fit with their story that you’ve uncovered. Most importantly share what He’s been showing/teaching you recently, not just when you got saved back in high school or whatever. There’s power in sharing how Jesus is active and involved and walking with you right now in real time—this week! (I.E. I had a very similar experience last week, and it was one of those times that tested my faith in Jesus. I had to ask Him if this was what He really wanted for me. He ended up showing me.)
Those suggestions have freed me up a lot, and I’ve found myself sharing Jesus more and more with peace, freedom, and joy. Before I end this post let me encourage you to focus on discussing Jesus. Go to great lengths to avoid pointless rabbit trails about Christian “stuff,” cultural political positions, ethics, traditions/practices, church stuff, and even apologetics possibly. We’re not trying to “win,” we’re making an introduction to a person. He is the good news, knowing Him, learning to follow Him is what we want them to experience. If that happens, everything else falls into line. Let’s lead people to Jesus; He is amazing and worth sharing!
What steps do you need to take to incorporate Jesus into more everyday conversations?
–> Join the online community, ask questions, and get answers from seasoned practitioners.
–> Check out some of our new resources: