I’ll be honest with you. I’m never comfortable around other people.
I feel awkward and constantly worried, and these feelings go off the charts when discussing Jesus and faith with someone. The stakes feel so high that I end up not doing anything rather than risk failing. If you’ve ever felt like this, you’re not alone.
What is at risk that makes you and me disappear in these moments?
It’s a misplaced focus on self, and a misunderstanding of what it looks like to be successful in talking with someone about God.
But there’s some great news — we have not been left alone to stay paralyzed like this.
One of the most fearless Christians of the 20th century was a man named Bill Bright. It was his greatest joy to talk about Jesus with anyone and everyone. If someone mistakenly dialed his phone he would say, “I do not believe in mistakes. Can I ask if you have heard of Jesus?”
I shake my head every time I imagine that boldness. I’d never do that, so how could he?
Bill had a simple perspective of what it means to be successful when talking about God with someone.
He said to succeed in personal evangelism is to “take the initiative, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leave the results to God.”
Our part is simple — even if it’s not easy
Relationships are built on trust, and talking about Jesus can put that at risk. If you’re afraid, start by thinking through these three questions:
Where is God obviously working?
When a person’s life is disrupted, he or she is most open to change. Think about those in your life who are experiencing challenges, hurts or fears. They need the faith, hope and love you have.
Where are they on their journey?
While everyone’s spiritual journey is unique, there are some common stages most people move through. Those who are spiritually curious are open to talking about spiritual things. Those who are spiritually “seeking” are actively asking questions about Jesus. These people are usually very open to someone joining their journey.
What’s one way you can start the conversation?
Initiating does not mean talking or preaching. It just means getting things started with a question or a shared experience. The goal here is to build trust and understanding. MissionHub’s steps are designed to help you choose an appropriate next step that you can trust God for in relation to the person you are choosing to focus on.
Jesus sent someone to help us
Did you ever wonder why Jesus told his disciples it was better for him to leave? (John 16:7)
It seems to me it would have been a good idea for him to stick around. But, he knew better. Jesus needed to send “another” — the Holy Spirit — to help each of us.
What would happen to your fear if you believed what Jesus said, that the full power of the Holy Spirit was available to help you?
Their response is not your responsibility — taking a step of faith is
Rejection is one of the greatest reasons I do not start spiritual conversations with people. If someone is not interested in talking about Jesus, I feel I’ve failed both that person and God.
Did I use the wrong words? Was I not convincing enough? Thoughts of condemnation wash away any chance I’ll ever do that again.
While we can get better at asking, listening and explaining, it’s never our job to convince or change people. The seemingly fearless apostle Paul even wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God causes the growth.”
There is nothing more freeing than stepping out of the way and realizing it is not about you or me. We’re just accepting the invitation to join God in his pursuit of the person we are talking with about God.
So let’s do this. If you’re ready to put your sense of failure behind you, then I suggest doing four simple things:
- Download the MissionHub mobile app (Apple or Android). This app will walk you through the next three steps.
- Think about who is in your life and put them in the app.
- Take some time to think about them before identifying where you think they are on their spiritual journey.
- Pick a good first step.
This is God’s work, and we are just joining him in it. Our job is to do what he’s inviting us to do, not to get it exactly right.