Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My colleague Alvin Reid is a co-Fellow with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. He has written a very concise and well researched article regarding how to take the fear out of sharing our faith.
How to Share Jesus Without Freaking Out
by Alvin Reid, LifeWay Facts & Trends, 3/16/17 and author of Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out.
…How can we share Christ with the unchurched today? It’s simple: one conversation at a time. Here are some reminders for Christians to help alleviate their fears.
1. Think less of giving a presentation and more of having a conversation.
In the LifeWay Research study, 47 percent of the unchurched said they would freely discuss religious beliefs with someone who wants to talk about them. And 79 percent said if a friend truly valued faith personally, they wouldn’t mind the friend talking about it. I see this all time.
Lost people are more amazed at our silence than offended by our message! You may feel insecure giving a presentation to someone, but all of us—extroverts and introverts—have conversations every day.
Learning to talk about Jesus in everyday conversations not only communicates the gospel more effectively to the unchurched but also helps us to share Jesus without being self-conscious about it.
2. Tell them the great story of the gospel more than listing propositions.
Only 10 percent of the unchurched surveyed say they think daily about heaven and life after death. And 43 percent say they never do. I’m so grateful God gives us eternal life through Jesus. But He also gives us joy in our daily lives.
When asked if there is an ultimate purpose in life, 70 percent of the unchurched agree. You and I know the only way to find that purpose is through Jesus.
Most of us think of the gospel in its essence: the announcement of good news found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But in a world that doesn’t know the biblical story, it’s vital we also share the good news as the epic story it is.
When I witness, I like to share Christ by connecting our conversation to the great story of Scripture—from creation to the fall, from our rescue in Christ to our hope of restoration.
This allows me to connect the story of God’s redemption to everyday life. One way I do this is by showing how movie plotlines relate to the gospel with young adults. Look for ways to have conversations with the unchurched about their ultimate purpose in life and God’s plan for all of us.
3. Connect the story to their everyday life experiences.
In everyday conversations, people talk about their painor their passion. When we talk about these things, it allows me to relate their story (and mine) to the gospel story.
If we talk about pain, I talk about the obvious brokenness in our world through sin, and I point them to the hope we have in Christ’s work on the cross and the resurrection.
If we talk about their passion—their hopes, dreams, or plans—I point them to God’s great design in creation and how He put those desires in our hearts when He made us in His image.