One of the main reasons why Christians don’t share their faith with others is fear. We fear rejection, that we won’t say the right thing, that we won’t be able to respond to tough questions or that someone could become angry. While these might be valid concerns, they don’t have to stop us from sharing what God has done in our lives.
Let me tell you a secret: Even the people who share their faith every day experience fear. But we do it anyway, because God commanded us all to share the Good News of Jesus with the world.
So how can we move beyond fear? We must realize that we do not go alone. The Holy Spirit goes with us every time we share the Gospel, and He will help us overcome that fear if we simply ask. In fact, we should never attempt to share our faith without the Holy Spirit. He goes ahead of us and prepares the hearts of those who will hear the Gospel, and He is the only one Who can convict people of their sin and save them.
We have a role too. Our job is to share the hope that God has given us through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (NIV). But the Scripture also reminds us to do this with “gentleness and respect.”
When we approach people in genuine love, gentleness and respect follow. Actively listen to what they have to say. Don’t worry about what to say next. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Show interest by making eye contact and respond compassionately. Empathize with their feelings. If we show that we genuinely care about them as a person, they are more likely to listen when we share the Gospel.
But, always ask permission before you begin sharing your own God story or asking them personal questions about their own spiritual faith. This opens the door for you to take the conversation to a deeper level. If someone says “no,” respect that. They might not be ready today, or even tomorrow, but in the future, they may be willing to continue that conversation with you or someone else. Leave the door open for the Holy Spirit to continue to work in their hearts.
Remember, you are not alone. Be in continual prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and give you the right words to speak. Ask Him to speak directly to the heart of the person you are speaking with. If further contact does not appear likely, pray that other believers will cross their path to continue the conversation.
God loves the people we encounter as much as He loved us – enough to send Jesus to die for them on a cross. And He uses us to share that love with them. When we seek Him as we share that love, He will lead and guide us through the whole process, even when we experience fear.
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for nearly 60 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org or follow John on Twitter @JBSorensen.