Bringing up your faith in everyday conversation
Part 2: Four practical tips for connecting with others
Yesterday, we looked at some of the reasons we find it hard to share our faith. Today, we're going to examine some practical steps to get conversations started.
One very important thing to keep in mind is people don’t like it when we “preach” to them. When I talk about “sharing with strangers,” I don’t mean go up to everyone you come across and start throwing bible verses at them. I mean, be alert and find more socially appropriate times to talk about how God transforms lives. Here are some ideas on how you can do that.
1. Become friends first
If the strangers you want to connect with have the potential of getting closer to you, become their friend first. I’m talking about coworkers, classmates, etc. People you see around, but are still strangers because you never talk.
Getting to know them on a friend level first will help with some of the awkwardness. But while you’re making friends with them, don’t forget your end goal: Sharing God’s word. While you’re becoming friends with them, you’ll start to pick up on their religious views and will develop a better understanding of how to talk to them about controversial issues without causing controversy.
2. Listen for opportunities
I know, I know. Your momma always told you not to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, but I don’t mean to purposely press your ear up to a door and listen in on everyone’s personal conversation. Like I mentioned before, be alert.
There may be times when you overhear someone discussing a struggle they’re currently going through. If you think it’s appropriate (and be careful not to overstep boundaries), you may want to say hello and get to know this person, with a view to trying to help.
You may want to offer to chat about it with them, or even offer to pray for them. Of course, be prepared for them to be a little weirded out. So if they say no, respect that. Just wish them the best.
When I’ve prayed with strangers in the past, I’ll sometimes hold my hands out for them to take (this is only ok if the person is the same sex as you, and close to your age). Even if you don’t normally hold hands in group prayers with your Christian friends, I’ve found this helps create a connection and build trust … no matter how awkward it may seem.
Though a simple prayer may not convert an atheist into a God fearing Christian right away, that person will always remember that a random Christian genuinely cared about their struggles and through that they experienced the love of Jesus.
3. Share your story
If you’re able to strike up a conversation with someone, find a spot in the conversation where you can casually share a bit of your story.
Your story could be a struggle you or a family member went through. Or something you personally had a hard time with. Make sure it relates to what you were previously talking about, otherwise it will sound forced.
Explain how trusting in God helped you overcome and prevail. This could raise questions from them about your faith and why you believe what you believe. When you share your story, it will be easier for people to relate to you especially if they’ve been through something similar. Talking about how you saw God transform your life could open their eyes and see how God has tried to reach out to them.
If you’re still really nervous being open strangers, let’s take a smaller step.
4. Share the gospel online
We are so lucky to live in a time where we can connect with people all around the world. I feel like this is something we as Christians should be taking advantage of, as it’s a huge tool when it comes to spreading the gospel.
You can create a social media account and devote it to God. I run a Christian blog on Tumblr where I share my morning bible studies, open discussions about things concerning the Christian faith, connect with other Christians, etc.
When sharing online, you don’t have to directly message strangers to talk about faith. Just hashtag all of your posts so people will see them when they’re searching through the website.
Just remember to stay safe when you’re online. Stay anonymous and don’t give too much info about yourself like you normally would on your personal social medias (get more online safety advice here).
Like sharing the gospel in person, sharing it online will also open the doors to persecution. Online persecution can come in the form of cyber-bullying.
Making sure you are praying about this and confiding in other Christians that you trust. The cyber-bullying may increase depending on what you post about, so make sure you know when to shut your laptop and take a break (get more cyber-bullying advice here).
There’s lots of reasons you and I get nervous about sharing our faith. However, I hope these tips encourage you to be bold in telling others about Christ. And don’t forget, start the day with prayer, and look for opportunities to share the best news the world has ever heard!