Follow the nudge, live in the F.O.G. (favor of God)! That nudge you feel when you know you should be sharing your faith with that person in front of you is the Holy Spirit prompting you. So, the next time you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share, don’t be afraid, He is with you and will give you just the right words to say!
Author and Professor, Dr. Jerry Root, offers some tips on how to have a conversation with an unbeliever that has been previously hurt
Pure and simple, sharing your faith is about loving on people. Jesus said, “They’ll know you’re my disciples by your love” (John 13:35). You don’t need special training to love on people — it simply takes time. And God will always give you back the time. It’s amazing how that works.
Everyone’s hurting and no one seems to care. When you care, really care, it sets you apart and people will invite you into their lives. The world is desperate for the love and joy and peace that we enjoy with abundance. And when we let it shine, we light the world around us and draw people to us.
The most common form of faith sharing occurs when you’re only with someone for a moment, like a phone operator or a clerk in a store. Just pour out your love on them and then say “God bless you” with sincerity, and eye contact if you’re with them. When people view you as a nice person who knows God, even in brief encounters you move them closer to Jesus.
If every Christian would only do that and nothing more, we’d have Revival in America. The prevailing view of Christians among non-Christians is anything but loving. But we can so easily change that by simply loving on people in Jesus’ name. Non-Christians would start saying, “I’m meeting so many nice people who are Christians. Maybe I need to re-evaluate my view of Christians and Christianity.” Consciously or subconsciously, they may listen more openly to the next person who tries to share their faith with them.
Jesus said, “They’ll know you’re my disciples by your love.” It’s time for us to start loving on people, especially the unlovable, because they’re the ones who need God the most. We can’t escape the fact that God loves them as much as He loves us, and He forgives us as much as we forgive them.
You can start doing this right now, and start enjoying the blessings right now. Don’t be bashful about it. Never miss an opportunity to say things like “Thank you and God bless you,” or “God bless you and have a great day,” with passion and meaning and a big smile…never wrote. It’s like a sport looking for opportunities to bless people with the visitation of His Spirit.
There’s no reason to be hesitant about it. People aren’t offended by a blessing! Without exception, every person will feel better for having met you or spent time with you. And you’ll feel better about yourself for having allowed God to love them through you and move them closer to Him. Now you’re moving from an engine that coughs and sputters to one that purrs.
Once you become comfortable with saying “God bless you” to everyone with freedom and authenticity, you can graduate to the next step. Over time, people will come to respect the genuineness and sincerity of your loving concern for them. There’s spiritual equity in the lives of others and it will automatically open the door for deeper conversation when the time is right.
This is not a time to be nervous or aggressive. It’s a time to rely fully on the leading of His Holy Spirit as to what to say and when to say it, without being offensive. Asking if there’s something wrong or something they would like you to pray about for them, or a question they would like to ask are the kinds of things that might take you to the next step. But if they say no, don’t push! Just tell them it’s okay and quickly change the subject to relieve any discomfort. You’ve just let them know that you’re genuinely concerned for them and available to them at their own choosing.
However, when the response to your question is yes, the fun begins and your reliance on the Holy Spirit becomes far more intimate. Now you’re in spiritual-growth mode. Always being ready to give a clear presentation of the hope that’s within you (I Peter 3:15) is God’s calling on your life.
The most exciting days for doing this are your first days of doing it. Be quick to admit when you don’t have the answer, then ask for a couple of days to pray and study to get it. They’ll always say yes, and your Bible Study and Prayer Life will explode. God will always give you the answer and you’ll always stand amazed at how God just used you to move someone closer to Him. Now you’re in the game!
Everyone loves a good story and yours is like no one else’s. As the old Gospel song says, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…Nobody knows but Jesus.” Only you have lived the life you’ve lived, experienced the highs and lows you’ve experienced and learned to know God the way you know God through those experiences.
At the same time, There’s no temptation that’s happened to you (paraphrased) that’s not common to all man (I Corinthians 10:13). You get people’s attention real fast when they discover you’ve already faced what they’re facing. Your story is always relevant! That’s why your story is your easiest pathway for connecting with people spiritually.
Everyone loves real-life stories that take them to where they’ve never been. In your case, you’re taking them into a personal relationship with the God who made them. As I mentioned before, a staggering 86% of unchurched people would like to know more about God and are looking for someone to tell them. That’s opportunity knocking on your door.
The story of your redemption leads effortlessly into God’s story of redemption for them when you explain that even God Himself, through His Son Jesus, suffered and was tempted in all ways just like us (Hebrews 4:15). Now you’re bringing a distant God into their personal space and changing their entire concept of God. And because Jesus went through the same trials that they’ve experience, He understands their failures and will defend them before God His Father when they confess their sins and seek His forgiveness. This is staggering news for those who feel far from God.
So how do you start thinking about telling your story? It’s very simple. As you examine the highs and lows of your life, you’ll come to realize that most, if not all, of your spiritual growth spurts have occurred under times of stress. Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).
It’s the trying of your faith that has made you what you are and why the telling of your trials and your story to the unsaved is so powerful. All of us have enjoyed the blessings of wholehearted faith and the consequences of no faith. Both these blessings and consequences have served their purpose in bringing you closer to God. Your unique story of how you’ve experienced the faithfulness of God is your testimony to the truth of the Gospel.
Taking inventory of the highs and lows of your life is a life-changing experience. You’ll quickly realize that most, if not all, of your spiritual growth spurts have occurred during times of stress, when you’ve chosen to either trust God or shake your fist at Him. All of us have done both and suffered or enjoyed the consequences. The revelation comes when you realize that your times of faith and lack of faith have served well in their purpose of bringing you closer to God.
When you consider the depth of your sinfulness and the awesomeness of God’s forgiveness, you appreciate the path God has taken you down to get you where you are in Him today. God uses everything to amplify your dependence on Him and His Faithfulness to you. This is your story and your best tool for reaching the lost.
Pastor and Author, Greg Laurie, gives us a practical tip on how to start a God-centered conversation by naturally weaving it into a conversation with someone. This is a perfect way to start sharing your faith that is easy and fun!
Sharing your faith out of obligation is not fun. It’s excruciating for you and everyone else. When you’re uncomfortable, everyone else is uncomfortable and your insecurity leads to defensiveness. It’s that kind of experience that leads you to never want to share your faith again. But it’s kind of like that first bicycle ride. Most of us crashed and burned on our first ride, but then we learned how to ride like the wind.
We’re talking about an entirely different formula. Be on the lookout for ways to include God in every conversation without raising eyebrows. Simple statements like “Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful day” as you walk outside with a group of people, or “God was looking after you” when someone tells of escaping a bad experience, or “I’ll pray for you” when someone expresses a need, come across loving, natural and unforced.
Success comes with being spontaneous and in context with the conversation taking place, and then changing the subject immediately afterward to prevent any discomfort. Even if they’re not hungry at that moment, you’re endorsing God with your life and placing Him on their minds. They can’t escape that!
Timing is everything. If you miss the moment, you can’t go back. That’s why thinking ahead and anticipating the flow of every conversation is so important. The key is to be intentional without appearing intentional, so your words will have impact.
As with everything in life, your conversations have to have balance. While serving God and living His Purpose are your highest priorities, you’re witness is tied to your relevance to the world in which you live. Being wise as a fox in the things of this world and gentle as a lamb in the things of God is good advice.
A continual brief mention of God in context with every conversation is foundational to intentional faith sharing. However, one mention of God per conversation is enough and may be too many. Again, the Holy Spirit will guide you in this regard. When you attempt and fail at starting a God-Centered Conversation, it may be weeks or months before you feel led to try again. In the meantime, let God’s Love pour out of you without interruption onto those you’re trying to reach. No matter how cold or rude they may appear, 86% of unchurched people would like to believe there’s a God and are looking for someone to tell them about Him. You may well be that person for the difficult people in your life.
The “gold” comes when people you’re trying to reach mention God in the course of their own conversations. It’s amazing how often this happens among the most ungodly people, and is so easily missed if you’re not expecting it. But when you catch it, the door swings wide open for you to give a fun “God-Centered Retort” that starts bantering which leads to a moment of spiritual edification for the entire group. And then, quickly change the conversation to another subject to avoid making them want to avoid you. Mission accomplished! Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s a marathon — not a sprint!
When attempting to reach the unsaved, playing off your love for God and their ignorance of Him can make for fun conversations. When you’re having fun, they’re having fun and you’re making progress. Any sense of uptightness or discomfort from you will transfer it to them. But when the fun factor is up, the defenses go down and God becomes a subject to discuss without barriers.
The bottom line is that everyone wants to know more about God and is looking for someone who can tell them. And when it becomes obvious that you can tell them without being defensive or argumentative, your stock goes way up. It’s always God’s timing. The buzzkill comes when you become aggressive and confrontational.
Where we get into trouble is in trying to clean the fish before we catch them. But that’s not our job. Our only job is to catch the fish. We’ve been called to be Fishers of Men, not cleaners of fish. God accepts sinners seeking Him just as they are. It’s God’s job to clean them.
Jesus said, “They’ll know you’re my disciples by your love.” No matter what the reaction is from those with whom you’re sharing, stay singularly focused on the tenacity of God’s Love. Never lose sight of the fact that God loves them as much as He loves you! No matter what they’ve said or done, you’ve been given the awesome responsibility of being God’s Ambassador to them and representing the purity of His Love for them.
There is nothing more foundational to our faith than this: Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39), and there is nothing more powerful in bringing sinners to Christ than the understanding of this one thought.
Whenever you’re in a public place, you’re surrounded by people who feel unworthy of God’s Love. In contrast to what they might say, they know their life is not deserving of God’s Love. That’s why this message is so powerful!
Telling people that God loves them is never offensive to those you’re trying to reach. If it’s obvious they don’t believe you, go to the next step and tell them that God loves them as much as He’s ever loved anyone…ever. If it’s obvious they still don’t believe you, go to the next step and tell them that God loves them as much as He loves His Own Son! In most cases, they will have never heard this message.
The deeper into sin people appear to be, the more fun it is to share this incredible message with them, and with the love and excitement they deserve. And then say something like “isn’t that cool” and move on. Never belabor it! Change the subject or walk away but add nothing more. It’s too heavy. You’ve just given them a life-changing thought and they need to process it. For most, you’ve wet their appetite for the entire enchilada which will come at a later date. And for those chance encounters, God will lead them to another faith sharer who will help them take their next step toward Him.
It’s reported that the average person hears the Gospel message an average of seven times before making their decision to follow Christ. While we sometimes hear of first-time message conversions, it’s more often that numerous messages need to be heard before a decision is made. The point is that every person, at every point of contact, is focused on leading that person to accept Christ. In God’s eyes, there is no distinction between the one who starts the dialogue and the one who leads a new believer across the finish line.
And be reminded that being a good friend and a good person doesn’t, in itself, get anyone saved. In fact, it can lead to an enjoyment of being viewed as a good person. That’s self-righteousness and it’s repugnant to God.
To safeguard against that, make it your perpetual goal to move everyone, every day, closer to Jesus. At every contact with a non-believer, make it your highest priority to lead that person to Jesus Christ. Comfort everyone by your words and deeds with the knowledge that God loves them.
Your words have power when they match your walk. Most people will form their impression of you before your first reference to God. If their impression doesn’t match your words, your words will have no power. So leading people to Christ begins long before you focus on leading anyone to Christ.
Without exaggeration, the task of leading people to Jesus is full-time, all the time. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Being a good person brings Glory to God when you bring Glory to God — when you connect your goodness to God’s Love. Your role in life is to represent God so that everyone will see Him through you and want what you have.
When you love on people with consistency and live a God-honoring life, people are much more likely to respond to whatever you have to say about God. You now have the credibility of being an expert witness for God. At that point, your passion for their salvation is far more important than the eloquence of your presentation…and the Holy Spirit will guide your conversation with words and thoughts you didn’t even know you had.
Even when you misspeak, the Holy Spirit will always be there, doing His work. This is where it gets real exciting. In the end, you’re merely a pawn in the work that God is doing with the person you’re trying to reach. It’s His Responsibility, not yours, to lead people to Jesus.
Asking people if they believe they’ll go to Heaven when they die is the easiest and most inoffensive way to determine where people are in their spiritual maturity. In most cases, people will say yes and, when asked why, will say because they’re a good person. That opens the door for light conversation about everyone having sinned, that the wages of sin is death BUT the Gift of God (that they can’t earn) is Eternal Life…and that it’s there for the asking because Jesus already paid the price for their sin on the Cross. But they have to ask to receive it. And they have to personally receive God’s Gift of Eternal Life for it to be valid.
While leading someone in the “sinner’s prayer” may seem intimidating at first, it’s almost impossible to get it wrong. There is no official scripting for this momentous event that brings people into the Family of God. Very simply: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9), and if you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). And you can lead an unbeliever into confessing their sins, asking for His Forgiveness, accepting Jesus Christ as their Risen Lord and Savior, and they will be saved.
Most people don’t share their faith because they don’t know how to get started. Once the conversation starts, it has a life of its own. But until you intentionally commit to sharing your faith at every opportunity, you won’t be looking for the easiest path of entry into God-Centered Conversations.
As long as pleasing and impressing people remains the focus of your conversations, the sharing of your faith will never be intentional. Thoughts of using your influence to lead people to Jesus Christ will be far from you.
The question is whether you want to serve God or Man. Who is it you most want to make happy? Going even further, not sharing your faith is denying your faith. This comes with a price! Jesus said, “If you deny me before man, I’ll deny you before my Father in Heaven.” You don’t want that to happen!
The Joy of the Lord should effortlessly permeate your life and be readily apparent in subtle, non-offensive ways – that make people want to have what you have and ask questions. Then, always be prepared to make a clear presentation of the hope that’s within you.
Jesus said they’ll know you’re His Disciple by your love. Simply loving on people sets you apart from a world focused on self. Most people are stopped in their tracks when told that God loves them as much as He’s ever loved anyone ever, even His own Son. This is the Good News you want to share!
Living to share your faith at every opportunity is God’s Purpose for your life. And to help you get started, here are ten easy ways to start God-Centered conversations in any situation.
1) Ask People “Is everything OK?”
Most people are not OK. In fact, most people will be actively worrying about something when you ask this question.
Watch for signs of worry and distress on every face and be quick to ask: Are you OK? Even if they’re hurting, some won’t feel safe to disclose that to you. But the mere fact that you expressed concern will move them closer to God. That’s your basic goal.
If they’re desperate, the need often comes pouring out along with an openness to receive the comfort of God’s Love flowing through you. You’ll be surprised how fast a smile can turn to tears in response to your concern and you see the real person.
2) Ask People “Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
Most people are praying for something that’s important to them. When you ask this question, you’re offering to partner with them in prayer for something important.
This question should not be asked out of habit or ritual. People will know when you’re asking this question with genuine sincerity. And when people see the sincerity of your offer to pray for them, they often invite you into the privacy of their lives. At that point, even the most simplistic of prayers can move people dramatically closer to God.
3) Ask a Server in a Restaurant: Is there anything we can pray for you about as we pray for our meal?
Most waiters and waitresses are dealing with financial and family pressures at home. And too often, particularly on Sundays, Christians are seen as overstaying, over demanding, uncaring and under-tipping people . . . provoking bitterness toward God.
Asking your server if they would like to be included in a prayer, that you’re already going to pray over your meal, is never offensive. Some will decline the offer, but many will accept it with great thankfulness. In either case, you’ll move them closer to God.
Always allow your server decide if they want to discuss God more during your meal. Otherwise, a simple “God Bless’ you when you leave and leaving an extra good tip will say volumes. And while you’re there, be sure that your conversations and attitudes represent God well.
4) In casual conversations, simply mention where you ate after church on Sunday or a story your Pastor told or a friend you know through church.
This is a non-offensive way to introduce the fact that you’re a Church-Going Christian, without raising any eyebrows. If the person you’re speaking with is also a Christian, they’ll always ask with enthusiasm where you go to church. Church-Going Christians love to meet other Church-Going Christians.
It’s even better for Non-Christians. While they won’t show it, a surprising 86% of the un-churched would like to believe there’s a God. That’s where you come in. While they may not say something immediately or go to a church on their own, they’re looking for more information. And once they know you go to church, you’re on their radar screen as a possible provider of information about God.
5) Watch for stories people tell about unexpected “luck” or good fortune and connect those experiences to God.
People often relate how “lucky” they are for having certain things happen in their lives without understanding why they happened. Knowing every good thing comes from God, these are prime opportunities for you to connect the good things happening in people’s lives with God’s Love for them.
Simply saying with a smile things like “Wow, God was obviously watching out for you” or “Wow, God must have big plans for you” or “Thank you Lord for protecting my friend” can have a huge impact on people by directing their thoughts toward God. Obviously, you’re responding with enthusiasm out of respect for their story. That’s never offensive!
6) Watch for ways to work intriguing God Honoring Stories into conversations that match the subject being discussed.
We all have amazing stories of God’s Faithfulness in our lives and the lives of other Christians we know . . . stories that always fascinate those listening. In Christian circles, you can tell them out of context. It really doesn’t matter. But with Non-Christians, there must always be context to keep them from being seen as interruptive or offensive.
In the course of most conversations, subjects come and go that attract comments from almost everyone in the conversation. When you’re an intentional faith sharer, you’ll watch for the best opportunity to introduce God into every conversation with a story that matches the passion of the moment. And while you could probably add a ‘God Story’ to every subject, doing it only once per conversation is the safest way to not offend. One story is enough to move everyone in the group closer to God.
7) For most people, nothing is more important than family and nothing lights people up faster than asking them about their family.
A world of opportunities opens up to talk about God whenever you ask people about their families. In the best of times and the worst of times, it’s an emotional subject that brings openness and vulnerability into every conversation.
It doesn’t matter whether the top of mind subjects are the failures or over achievements of the family or individual family members. Every response provides an abundance of opportunities for you to introduce God into the conversation very naturally . . . from giving Him praise for the achievements to offering prayer for the challenges.
8) God’s Master Plan and Bible Prophecy are now relevant to daily conversation.
Almost every conversation today includes talking about our world being out of control. Clearly, no one knows what the future holds. The world is completely out of our control and searching for answers. And . . . we have the answers!
Bible Prophecy has become a very attractive subject for people to investigate today. The same Prophets that predicted with absolute accuracy the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, told us that these days would come. And here they are! And while no man knows the day or the hour of the Lords return, we shall know the signs of the times. Indeed, the signs of our times are confirming the scriptures and explaining what’s happening before our very eyes.
Here’s the key! Knowing that our world is still under the control of God’s Master Plan brings peace and Salvation to the lost.
9) Always be on the lookout for situations where your favorite scripture is a perfect fit.
There’s nothing easier than explaining your favorite scripture and why it’s so important to you. That’s why it’s your favorite scripture! And when you explain it to others in the context of your life, it comes alive.
Even better, when you encounter someone who’s facing the same challenges you faced when you first discovered your scripture, know that you’re in the middle of a Divine Appointment. It’s not by accident that God’s placed you in that person’s life at that very moment. Just tell your story!
10) The age-old question of “Do you know where you’ll go when you die” remains the most compelling and revealing question you can ask.
When we’re young, we feel like we’ll live forever. But as we age, we face our reality of being mortal beings with numbered days left in our lives. And while some refuse to even think about it, most people, past the age of 50, are growing increasingly concerned over where they’ll spend their eternity.
For the most part, this is a taboo subject for conversation even though it’s a subject of widespread interest and concern. People want to talk about it but don’t. That’s why this is a great question to ask and so many people want to answer and don’t know how, and it opens the door for you explain God’s Assurance of Salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God never intended for the sharing of your faith to be a part of your life or one of many things you should do with equal intensity. It’s not an add-on or a task or an obligation. It is, in fact, God’s Purpose for your life. Every follower of Jesus Christ is commissioned for service. It’s called the Great Commission.
When asked which Commandment is the greatest, Jesus said to Love God with all your heart, mind and soul AND to love your neighbor as yourself . . . and all the law hangs on these two Commandments. If you love your neighbor (everyone you influence) as yourself, you’ll be as concerned over their eternity as you are your own – and you’ll do everything in your power to lead them to their eternity through Jesus Christ.
When your focus is on leading everyone you influence to Jesus Christ, you’ll automatically fulfill all the requirements of the Law. You’ll be zealously careful not to be a stumbling block to anyone by your words, actions or deeds. And the Joy of the Lord will be your strength!
Wholehearted faith becomes effortless when you live your life to perform His Will . . . that not one will be lost. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That was His Purpose for coming to earth and why He promised to make everything in your life work for good when you live for His Purpose – the redemption of mankind. Here’s the payoff: Living under this promise ensures Whole Hearted Faith.
This is the cycle of a Christian Life: Trusting God, Loving God, Sharing God and Receiving From God – then Trusting God More, Loving God More, Sharing More and Receiving More . . . and it gets better and better! Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.
Remember to always connect your acts of kindness to God. A cup of cold water is just a cup of cold water, unless it’s in Jesus’ name! Always look for ways to tie your successes, your kindness, and everything you do in life back to God.
We have so many stories in our lives that can impact everyone around us. Find a story that connects with that person’s need and share with them how God has impacted your life through that experience. Connecting a story to someone’s need is a perfect way to begin sharing your faith!