I’m no expert when it comes to sharing about my faith in Jesus with the people God puts in my life. It doesn’t come naturally to me — at least not in the way it seems to for some people.
Even so, most often I find the challenge isn’t the knowing what or how. It’s just embracing the obvious and doing it!
Along these lines, here are some really pretty obvious things I’ve been (slowly) learning to implement — whether I’m having coffee with someone or standing on the footpath in front on my house:
1. Quantity Time Begets Quality Time
This applies in all sorts of areas of life — romantic relationships, parenting, reading the Bible, even managing a business!
So it’s sort of a no-brainier that it would apply to sharing about Jesus too.
And yet I still have to actively plan (and fight the urge to make pious excuses) to spend enough time with the people in my life to give those ‘quality conversations’ a chance to emerge naturally.
2. Be Interruptible
Christians bang on about how we need to learn from the way Jesus prioritised his time alone with God (or even just his time to rest and sleep).
Now if that’s true, then — based on the New Testament Gospel accounts — we’ll need to learn to be a whole lot more interruptible than we are.
Because Jesus every time slunk off alone to pray, needy people seemed to find him anyway.
And you know what he didn’t say to them? He didn’t say, “Sorry guys. I’m having my special day with God. Come back later.”
3. Lower The Bar
For a long time, I think I operated on the assumption that if the conversation felt like it might even start to get deeper, then I had to lean in and go for the jugular.
Now there’s a time to seize the moment. And – yes, there’s stuff in the New Testament about making the most of the opportunities we have.
But what I’m discovering is that a lot of the time I’m much more effective at securing a ‘We’d like to hear you again on these things’ response of I simply aim to keep the conversation going.
Mostly, I’m finding that the key to this is having something substantial (and preferably personal) to say — but deliberately reframing from saying everything as soon as I get a whiff of opportunity.
4. Cultivate A ‘God Talk’ Habit
A surprising number of doors are opened by making it a habit to talk about the things in my faith that ‘live’ and are meaningful for me.
There are better and worse ways to do this, of course. And there are times when I’ve got to reign in my tendency to be a Christian jargon-spouting bore.
It even turns learning to mention God, the difference Jesus makes to me at a daily level, and the things I’m thankful for (or praying for), is actually just good for my own heart.
5. Practice Talking About Jesus
There are lots of situations where a little story from the life of Jesus would go a long way.
Whether it’s in drawing a parallel with something we’re talking about, shedding light on why Christians might want to take a stand on a particular issue, or answering some question or objection about the faith, it’s good to have a kit bag full of ‘gospel bites’ (as John Dickson calls them).
So it’s handy to be familiar with the Gospel stories about Jesus. And to practice telling them — relating them to contemporary events, questions, and situations.
Because ultimately that’s what I want to be doing with the people in my life. So I figure, why not just start talking about Jesus, instead of waiting for him to ‘come up’?