We generally like to avoid doing things that make us uncomfortable. That’s why so many Christians don’t share their faith. For some, it’s fear of rejection. For others, it’s not knowing how to start such a conversation, fear that they won’t be able to answer questions, or even concern about being judged.
There are some things in life, however, that are important enough for us to endure the discomfort. We’re willing to subject ourselves to the awkwardness of first dates and job interviews because gaining a relationship and employment are worth it. Sharing the joy of a life with Jesus, the only one who can bring salvation and a personal relationship with God, are also worth it. But for those of us who are uncomfortable sharing our faith — that’s most Christians, by the way — how can we overcome that?
Indigitous recently spoke with Tyler Ellis, director of Let’s Talk Story, about that topic. “I would commend anyone who has such a heart,” Tyler says. “Wanting others to know Jesus is half the battle! Because it really can’t be taught. It’s a response of gratitude that only comes from the joy of one’s own salvation.”
Evanglism as an experiment
In a recent TEDx talk, Tyler shared about how he interviewed 50 people as an experiment. During these interviews, Tyler met with the person in a coffee shop and asked them questions about their beliefs without interjecting his own. As a result, half of those he interviewed wanted to meet again to hear what Tyler believes and many of those with whom he spoke ended up becoming friends.
“I view evangelism as a series of experiments. Each experiment that proves to be useful becomes another tool in our evangelistic toolbox,” Tyler says. “The more we practice, the more we learn to use those tools effectively as we grow in discernment and in partnership with the Holy Spirit.”
With that in mind, there are no failures when it comes to sharing your faith. If you try a tactic and it doesn’t go well, you still learned something valuable about that tactic.
But you didn’t click on this article just for encouragement. You wanted tips, so we asked Tyler to share some of the important tools in his evangelism toolbox. Here’s what he shared:
- Put the key concepts of the Gospel message to memory. (Editor’s note: The GodTools app can help with this.)
- Write down your personal testimony (a long version and a short version) and practice sharing it with a Christian friend.
- Find ways to serve people in your community, including your international neighbors.
- Host a weekly meal and go through a video series like an Alpha course or Explore God. You could also watch a movie like The Case for Christ (followed by the documentaries).
- Make an “Impact List” of three friends who are far from God and pray for them often. (Editor’s note: The MissionHub app can help with this.)
- Invite your friends to church activities and introduce them to your Christian friends.
- Collect good questions and invite people for an interview over coffee.
- Start your own library of books and videos on apologetics. I especially like resources from Lee Strobel, Timothy Keller, and J. Warner Wallace.
- Ask your friend to meet with you once a week to read books and watch videos together. An excellent book to start with is Mark Mittelberg’s Confident Faith.
- Ask your friend what I call The Hypothetical Question* and invite them to pray what I call The Skeptic’s Prayer**. (I explain these concepts in my TEDx Talk.)
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not up to you. You can’t save anyone, you can’t do anything to make someone accept Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that work in their heart. Your job as a Christian is simply to share the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God.
*The Hypothetical Question: Hypothetically, if all of your questions had answers that provided more reasons to believe in God than not, what would you do?
**The Skeptic’s Prayer: God, if you’re out there, would you please do whatever it takes to help me find you?