International (JFP) — It’s difficult to share your faith when you don’t feel prepared. Prayer and Scripture reading are valuable practices for fearlessly sharing the gospel.
But if you feel like you should be better prepared to tell others about Jesus, the team at Jesus Film Project put together these four ways to equip yourself to evangelize.
1. Become a good listener
We often assume that preparing to share is about lining up the right arguments. But you might read several good evangelism and apologetics books and not be any better prepared to talk to others about Jesus.
Why? Because a lot of the time, the arguments we prepare for aren’t aligned with the questions people have.
You feel the most prepared to share your faith when you can respond to someone’s objections and inquiries. It doesn’t do a lot of good to wade into a conversation with answers to questions that aren’t being asked.
So it’s incredibly helpful to understand what kinds of concerns and needs are shared by people around you. And the best way to do that is to listen.
What do the people around you care about? What are they worried about? What do they think of Christians? Jesus’s message is always relevant, but when you understand people’s concerns, it prepares you to share the gospel in a way that feels relevant to them.
When you develop a good understanding of people’s concerns, it’s a lot easier to find helpful resources.
2. Practice sharing your story
If you’ve been part of the church for any length of time, you’re familiar with the idea of a testimony. Your testimony tells the story of your personal experience with Jesus. It might include how you came to know Jesus or ways that knowing Him has impacted your life.
When Peter encourages Christians to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15), he’s encouraging them to share their personal story. He wants them to be able to explain to others why they have put their hope in Jesus.
The good news is that you don’t have to have a dramatic conversion story to share why your hope is in Christ. You just need to be able to clearly communicate how Jesus answers the desires of your heart.
If you want to do this well, you should have a good idea of how you’ll present it. What should you say and what should you omit?
But remember, just sharing your story is not the gospel message. Christ’s work on the cross is the gospel (See #3 below). Your testimony is only a means of getting around to sharing the actual message of Jesus.
In the meantime, prepare your personal experience of coming to Christ. Practice that testimony with your friends. Ask for their input.
Write it out and edit it down to a powerful couple of minutes. It may seem crazy, but the more you prepare, the more natural and compelling your story will be. Here is a great resource for preparing your testimony.
3. Know the four essential facts of the gospel
Accurately understanding what the simple gospel message is, prevents you from getting caught up in unnecessary doctrinal beliefs that are not centric to the message of Christ.
These four facts are all you need to communicate:
- God loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.
- But mankind is sinful and separated from our holy God
- Jesus is the only provision to be forgiven and have relationship with God
- Each person must individually believe and receive that free gift of salvation.
You can obtain a small booklet to keep or give away to others as you share your faith.
4. Roleplay with others
I know what you’re thinking, “No one really enjoys training that involves roleplaying.” That may be entirely true, but it’s still a very effective way to develop skills for potential situations.
With roleplaying, you practice talking about Jesus in a situation where a mistake doesn’t feel like a disaster. Focus on practicing a few different skills:
Leading a conversation: If you’re waiting for someone to ask you to tell them about Jesus, you’re going to wait a long time. It would help if you learned how to lead a conversation in that direction.
Telling your story: This is where you encourage people to help you tell your story in a way that’s interesting and meaningful.
Responding to others: One critical thing we all need to practice is responding to questions and concerns. It’s not just about practicing what you’d say, but learning to maintain your composure and stay on point.
Sharing the gospel: At some point, sharing your faith means explaining why Jesus had to come and why someone should choose to follow Him (See #3 above). This can be the most stressful part of sharing your faith because you’re so worried about getting it right. By rehearsing with a friend the four essential facts or spiritual laws, you allow others to strengthen your presentation, and you get more comfortable sharing it.
A CHANGED LIFE
These days you don’t have to travel overseas to be a missionary. You can be a cyber-missionary using your smartphone right from your hometown. That’s what two girls did when they met Elena.
Elena’s eyes grew watery as she watched the “Dying Roads” short film; she identified with the homeless man struggling to help another man in need. Melanie and Emily had come to Elena’s campus to talk about compassion and to find ways of meeting people’s physical needs.
Elena was sitting by herself, seemingly waiting for a conversation—not knowing it would be one that would certainly change her life.
As Melanie and Emily shared their own stories with Elena about the ways God has met their needs, she related to them and listened with an eager heart. When they asked her if she would like to learn how to start a relationship with Jesus, she gladly agreed.
After hearing the gospel explained, Elena said, “I feel that I really need Him. I need to start this relationship.”
So Melanie led her through a prayer to tell Jesus what she was feeling and her desire for a relationship. At the end of the prayer, Elena felt overwhelmingly relieved. “I feel like you were sent to the school just to talk to me!” she rejoiced. Praise God for the ways He reaches each one of us, dynamically crafting the story of the gospel so everyone can experience Jesus.
THREE MORE RESOURCES FOR YOU
Still not sure about evangelism? You’re not alone in your apprehension to share your faith.
In our Multigenerational Survey on Evangelism, we asked more than 1,600 Christians about what they thought churches and ministries should focus on when sharing the gospel. We also asked about their personal approach to evangelism. We asked questions like:
- How important is it that you share your faith with others?
- How do you share your faith with others?
- How often do you talk about spiritual matters with others?
We believe you’ll find results educational.
God’s commission is to grow and expand His kingdom throughout the world, which means that we’re missionaries no matter where we find ourselves. But how do we break the ice with strangers or even loved ones?
People love story and nothing brings people together more than film. We have more than 40 feature-length and short films to help jumpstart conversations that lead into spiritual discussions.
If you’re looking for resources to help you share about Jesus, explore our media library for multi-language films that will help you break down barriers and begin conversations about the gospel. Watch this video to learn more.
Finally, if you’re ready to learn how you can make a bigger impact in the Great Commission, download a free copy of “We Are All Missionaries.” This four-week, discussion-based curriculum is a fantastic way to get your small group or youth ministry talking about what it means to share the gospel. Download your copy today.
Header image courtesy of Jesus Film Project.