What’s holding you back from sharing your faith? Christians hear in church and read in the Bible about the importance of sharing their faith with others, but most Christians don’t often take that opportunity. Many have never talked about the Gospel.
A recent Barna Group study uncovered the top reasons that people don’t have spiritual conversations. For Christians who are hesitant to talk about their faith, these are the primary reasons given:
- Religious conversations always seem to create tension or arguments.
- I don’t feel like I know enough to talk about spiritual topics.
- I don’t know how to talk about spiritual topics without sounding weird.
- I’m afraid people will see me as a fanatic or extremist.
In a recent episode of Indigitous PULSE, we spoke with Justin Sooter, project leader for GodTools, about how to overcome those barriers to sharing the faith, and how one mobile app can help.
#1. Religious conversations always seem to create tension or arguments.
“Conversations about religion are actually something that we at GodTools aren’t trying to push into. We talk about having conversations about Jesus,” Justin says. “Because we don’t want people to be categorically trying to shift someone into a new bucket. We want them to talk personally about the way that the Gospel has actually affected them. And so we recommend people lead with gentleness and respect.”
A lot of times that means listening well without judgment as the other person shares what they believe. It means talking with them with empathy. By having a gentle, respectful conversation about your personal journey with God, you can actually build your relationship instead of straining it.
#2. I don’t feel like I know enough to talk about spiritual topics.
Most Christians don’t know the Bible inside and out. They’ve never studied theology. They might be asked questions they can’t answer. They might not be sure about the best way to talk about the Gospel, which is quite complex.
“This is exactly what GodTools is made for,” Justin says.
GodTools is an app that exists to help you have conversations about Jesus with the people you care about. With a variety of tools from Gospel presentations to training material, GodTools helps you get comfortable talking about God and helps you do so more effectively.
#3. I don’t know how to talk about spiritual topics without sounding weird.
To a lot of people, simply believing that there is a God sounds ridiculous, so you can’t always do away with the weirdness. Some people will think a conversation about faith is weird no matter what. But one of the things you can do to mitigate that is to talk about your own personal story rather than focusing on deep theological principles.
“Fundamentally, people can’t argue with your experience. They can’t argue with the way that you have grown and changed over time,” Justin says. “And so often, it’s sharing the way that the Gospel has actually made you a true believer, or the way the Gospel has actually changed your life for the better, is maybe where you start.”
#4. I’m afraid people will see me as a fanatic or extremist.
Being a religious fanatic or extremist means different things in different cultures, but it’s always going to be a turn-off for people who don’t follow God. So how can you avoid raising those red flags and being associated with the wrong thing? For Justin, being a good listener is a great start.
“Focus on listening; be curious. And then you can inject those insights and empathize with them,” Justin says. “By having this very regular conversation, where you’re listening, asking good follow-up questions, and then saying, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve been there, too.’ It’s actually just normal conversation.”
GodTools can help with all of those barriers, but especially #2 and #3. The app was created in 2010 as a way to help people have conversations about God and currently has content in 102 languages.
“We have lessons that help you learn how to think about evangelism and overcome some of these obstacles. We have tools that are designed to help you in a conversation to talk about the Gospel,” Justin says.
The Gospel presentation tools take the Gospel and present it in a few key points that are easy to explain, understand, and remember. Some of the most popular Gospel presentations on the app are The Four Spiritual Laws, Knowing God Personally, and Honor Restored, each with a different way of presenting the Gospel for a different audience.
Teach Me To Share is another tool within GodTools that teaches you how to use the app, how to prepare for having a conversation about God, and more. “We know that you may not know everything, but we’re going to give you a few great steps in the right direction,” Justin says.
Lessons within the GodTools app take that a step farther and give more specific training on topics such as how to share your God story, how to listen well, and how to handle hostility in a conversation. “Lessons are these short, linear digital experiences that really highlight these specific topics really well and make them feel practical,” Justin says.
The newest tool in GodTools is called Openers. Though presentations like Knowing God Personally are great for helping you have a conversation about the Gospel, a lot of times the hardest part is getting the conversation started. You can’t just jump into a Gospel presentation, at least not without it feeling pretty awkward. Openers are there to help spark that conversation. “It’s really designed to just help you get into the conversation, and you take it from there,” Justin says.
“There are very natural and honest and authentic ways to start talking about Jesus that go from topics like, ‘How did you grow up in your family? Did you guys go to church? How does growing up in your family change the way you see the world?’ And so they were just really natural ways that we’re seeking to help people get into those conversations,” Justin says.
Steps for using GodTools
Every situation is different and depends on your own spiritual journey as well as your relationship with the person you’re talking to. But I asked Justin to give an outline of the different steps he would take to talk about God with someone.
Step 1. Pray about it and ask God to show up.
Step 2. Before the conversation, go through a relevant Lesson. “Often it’s the ones about listening well or the one about moving your conversations to a deeper level,” Justin says.
Step 3. Familiarize yourself with a tool that you want to use for the conversation. “To have the Gospel summarized in a very simple way, and it’s in the back of your mind, you know, on the tip of your tongue, is powerful.”
Step 4. Use an Opener to start the conversation.
Step 5. If the conversation progresses to a natural point for a Gospel presentation, ask if you can share a tool that explains the Gospel. Then use your tool of choice. “I think asking permission is actually a really important thing,” Justin says.
Step 6. If they’re ready to make a commitment of faith, use the Gospel presentation tools to walk them through the prayer. If not, continue to have appropriate conversations with them and consider inviting them to go through a series that could answer some of their questions.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Download GodTools and familiarize yourself with the tools.
- Pick at least one person and start engaging that person with spiritual conversations, using GodTools to help.
Images courtesy of Cru and GodTools
More digital missions stories
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on linkedin LinkedIn In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus appears to