Today marks the beginning of a new two-part series. One of my readers asked me to do a post on sharing your faith with your non-Christian friends. Here it is!!
Today I'm going to be chatting about sharing your faith with your non-Christian friends, then in three days time as the end of the series, a lovely guest poster is going to talk about sharing your faith with strangers. Wahoo! Who's excited? Me!
Evangelism. What do you think of when you hear the word? Many Christians quake in fear when they hear the word. I mean, I think we all know that we're supposed to be sharing Jesus with the people we meet. But it's so hard. And scary. And what will they think of us??
A lot of Christians find it a lot easier (and safer :P) to leave evangelism for the 'gifted' or 'called' ones. I mean, evangelism is a specific spiritual gift, right? And not everyone has the 'knack' for talking about Jesus to random people, be they friends or strangers.
Stop beating around the bush.
Stop making excuses.
I don't care who you are - a shy ten year old, a thirty year old with no social skills - everyone can share the gospel. And should be - I mean, Scripture makes it clear that it is the responsibility of every Christian to share Christ! :)
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ...
So how do you share your faith?
Remember, today I'm focusing on sharing your faith with your friends who aren't Christians. In a few days time our guest poster is talking about evangelizing strangers.
Can I make it clear before I sort of get into it that I'm not very experienced in today's topic. All of my close friends are Christians. The only non-Christians I come across are my workmates (an interesting bunch of people) and some slightly more-distant acquaintances. That doesn't stop me from telling you all about how you should be evangelizing your close friends, however! :P
Friendship evangelism, to me, is all about sharing the faith that makes your life worth living, with the friend that doesn't share that common interest.
I think that there are a few principles to keep in mind when you go about sharing your faith.
Firstly, know what you're talking about.
If you and your friend start having a great spiritual conversation and then the opportunity comes up for you to share the gospel... it would be a good idea to first of all know the basics. There are lots of great ways (or 'formulas' if you like) to help you share the gospel. Let's face it - it's easy to struggle to remember things when you are in the moment and the person has lots of questions! I recommend Ray Comfort's material and Two Ways to Live as good places to start!
Secondly, be sensitive.
What you don't want is for your friendship to deteriorate because you are pushy in sharing the gospel or you try and do things your friend isn't ready for. We are all on a journey. Don't try to rush anything! Be sensitive as to where your friend is at.
Thirdly, don't stress!
This leads on from the previous point. It's important not to stress out if your friend isn't interested. We can share the gospel until we are blue in the face... but in the end of day, your friend must make this decision on their own, and we must respect their decision. Of course it's hard because we don't want our friend to miss out on eternity with the Lord! But be patient and trust in God and his perfect timing.
Fourthly, pray for your friend.
It is the Holy Spirit alone who can bring about a conviction of sin. Pray for your friend often. If they volunteer that they are going through a hard time, you can also offer to pray with them!
Fifthly, don't neglect your testimony.
Nobody can argue with personal testimony! Share what the Lord has done in your life and how he has changed you. This is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your arsenal. Your story is so powerful. Share it.
Sixthly, pick the time and place carefully.
Obviously you're not going to want to share the gospel during a five minute phone call. But that sleepover where you're together for a nice length of time? Maybe the opportunity will come up to chat about deeper things during it. Be sensitive about where the conversation is and steer it towards Christianity if you want it to go there. It's surprisingly easy to steer conversations if you need to!
Seventhly, your life is a testimony.
A famous saying is "Preach the gospel every day, and if necessary, use words." I don't agree with the full extent of this but I do think it holds a lot of truth. Your friend, who knows you are a Christian, is watching you and how you live. Do you let out an involuntary swear word if something unexpected happens? Do you secretly cheat on that test? Your friend is watching you all the time. Philippians talks about shining like stars in the world. Your life, how you live, the joy of Jesus in your heart, your example; is shining the light of Jesus. Don't underestimate it! :)
Eighthly, be an awesome friend.
Be that friend who is always there to listen. Be that friend your friend can count on no matter what. Grow your friendship!
And pray for them constantly. I know I said that before but it works. Don't stress if they aren't receptive immediately. Just be an awesome friend and pray that lots of opportunities would come up that you can use to share your faith.
Keep a look out for the second post in this series - sharing your faith with strangers!