Sharing your faith with unbelievers can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 10 tips to begin sharing your faith with the unbelievers in your life.
1. Listen more than you talk
Have you ever noticed a time when you acted like a fantastic listener, saying things like, “yeah” and “mhm” and “right!”, only to find out you didn’t hear a word that person said? As a society, we’re terrible listeners. Listening is an act of selflessness and love. That is why one of the most important things we can do when talking to unbelieving friends is truly listen to them. Don’t prepare a counterargument. Don’t stack Bible verses in your head to lay out for them. Just listen.
As you listen you will start to understand why they feel the way they do. You will see where their beliefs come from. You will know how to empathize and give them a space to process their pain. You may just be the first person that makes your friend feel heard. This is the first step to loving them in a Christ-like way that opens the door for more conversation.As a society, we’re terrible listeners, but one of the most important things we can do when talking to unbelieving friends is truly listen to them. As you listen you will start to understand why they feel and believe the way they do. Click To Tweet
2. Ask good questions
If you worry you aren’t good at thinking up questions, then take more time to listen. Some of the best questions come from a place of genuine curiosity and don’t need to be forced.
You want to focus on the questions that are best for that friend at that time. You don’t want to save a list of questions you will always use for unbelievers. Just look at Jesus. As He loved people one at a time, He took the time to listen to their pain and then asked very specific, good questions that cut to the heart of what they were searching for. Good question-asking takes practice, but it’s worth the practice.
3. Don’t worry about sounding wise
We often feel the need to sound wise or make the Gospel enticing to unbelievers so they’ll be more likely to believe us and follow Jesus, but 1 Corinthians 1:17 says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” The plain Gospel offers exactly what we all need without “eloquent” words. Paul says the cross is actually “emptied of its power” when we try to make a production of it.When you’re worried about sounding wise or trying to make the Gospel sound like what your friend wants to hear, you are trying to make yourself look good. Your pride will end up fogging your presentation of the Gospel. Click To Tweet
When you’re worried about sounding wise or trying to make the Gospel sound like what your friend wants to hear, you are relying on your own strength and trying to make yourself look good. Your pride will end up fogging your presentation of the Gospel.
4. Openly share questions and doubts
Your friend may ask a question or share a doubt and you may feel that panic in your stomach as you realize you have the same question. Be honest! It’s as simple as saying, “Right? That’s a great question. I wonder the same thing. What do you think the answer is?”
If you are willing to share your questions and doubts, then your friend will know they can have questions and doubts and still choose to follow Jesus. You will show them we don’t have to know all the answers to follow Jesus whole-heartedly.
5. Share your story
It is extremely impactful when you can share your own story of how Jesus redeemed you and gave you a new life. When you do, an unbelieving friend can see tangible ways Jesus enters into all of our brokenness and redeems us. As you share your story, your friend may relate to something you said and realize for the first time that Jesus wants something to do with that part of their story.
If you don’t know your story, pray about it. Spend time with Jesus and ask Him to reveal all He has done in you. Practice sharing with believing friends. Have them ask you questions. Plus, knowing and reminding yourself of your testimony will encourage and remind you of Jesus’s work in your life.
6. Be vulnerable
Be willing to be vulnerable, honest, and open. Share your questions and doubts. Share the nitty gritty parts of your story rather than keeping it vague and impersonal. Be willing to appear weak, because you know that when you are, you are inviting Christ’s strength to shine through. The rest of the world is terrified of being vulnerable because they don’t want to show any kind of weakness. You will look different if you are willing to be weak. Invite others to do the same so they can drop their defenses and allow Christ’s power to rest on them.
7. Don’t focus on their sin, yet
Invite your friend to follow Jesus. Focus on Christ—His life, death, and resurrection—and don’t get into the weeds of their individual sins, yet. Some people will want to go there immediately, but if they haven’t received Jesus, then it matters more what they believe about Jesus first. After all, He is the one that will redeem, forgive, and offer them new life.
Once your friend surrenders their life to Jesus and invites Him to have the ultimate authority over their lives, then you can talk about what repentance and sanctification look like in the life of a believer.
8. Trust in Christ’s power
When getting vulnerable or being weak is uncomfortable, trust in Christ’s power. When you don’t have the words to say, trust in Christ’s power. When you feel like the conversation is going nowhere or your differences in belief are too great, trust Christ’s power. It is the Holy Spirit who works in and through you to accomplish His purpose in your friend in the first place. Trust that there is nothing you can offer except Christ and lean into His mighty power that knows no bounds.
9. Do it from a place of love
If your motive heading into a conversation with an unbeliever is to be right, then repent and ask for a change of heart. Jesus encountered people with love, and we will do the same if we are to live like Jesus. Check your heart and then check it again. It is out of love that we would engage unbelievers because our love for God compels us to love our neighbors deeply. When you slip away from a place of love, be quick to repent to your friend and ask for Christ’s love to invade your heart for that person. If you aren’t speaking from love, you are speaking from pride. If you want your friend to know Jesus, they will know the real Jesus when they encounter His persistent love through you.
10. Don’t expect immediate fruit
When you’ve done all of this, know that your friend still may think you are completely foolish for believing what you do. No matter how much you know the Gospel is exactly what they are searching for, your friend may still be hardened to truth. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Many people aren’t ready to embrace the truth of the Gospel, yet. They will hear what you have to say and think you’re crazy, outdated, wrong, delusional—you name it. But this doesn’t discount the importance of doing all that I talked about. Remember Christ’s power? You are not in control. The work He has you doing may just be the beginning of a bountiful harvest that will burst forth in his/her life. You may or may not get to see the result of your work, but you aren’t doing it to see your impact. You are sharing the truth of the Gospel because Christ commanded us to. You are doing it out of obedience to Christ and love for your neighbor.Many people aren’t ready to embrace the Gospel. But this doesn’t discount listening and sharing the truth. You may not get to see the result, but that isn't why you share. You share out of obedience to Christ and love for others. Click To Tweet
So, try it. Embrace the messy and imperfect conversations. We are called to do this hard thing so more people can enjoy full life with Jesus now and forever.