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  • Matt O'Reilly

Two Questions to Help you Share Your Faith

Evangelism can be tough. But it's not impossible.

If you're like many Christians, you want to share your faith with other people. Your walk with Jesus is important. It matters. And you want others to share the experience. But it’s hard to do, isn’t it? How do you move the conversation toward the gospel without it feeling forced or awkward? Or what if you stumble over your words? And what if the conversation doesn’t go well? What then? If you’ve asked these kinds of questions, you're not alone. Plenty of believers (including many pastors!) struggle with personal evangelism. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, it’s possible to tell people about Jesus without it feeling weird. One of the best ways to ask two really simple (and natural) questions.

What do you know about Jesus?

If you find yourself in a conversation that has potential to become an evangelistic conversation – that is, a conversation in which you share the good news of Jesus – then you can help it along very simply by asking: what do you know about Jesus? It's not awkward. It’s not strange. If a conversation is turning to questions about the meaning of life or religion or faith or any other related topic, it’s perfectly natural to raise the question. And note that it’s an open-ended question. The answer could go in any number of ways. And that’s the point. You’re not trying to lead a person down a pre-planned path. You’re trying to develop a conversation. And that means you need to listen when they start to answer the question. Be sure to listen well and listen attentively. Because their answer may prompt some other questions that wouldn’t come up otherwise. And all of a sudden you are in a really engaging conversation about Jesus.

Now I want to remind you that you’re not there primarily to fix anyone’s mistaken theology. You're there to lead them to Jesus. If they say something you disagree with, you don’t have to jump into correction mode. Just listen. Then listen some more. Because the way they answer is going to tell you a lot about where they are with Jesus, and whether they already know him. They may launch in to a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in their life. If so, you don’t need to evangelize them. You need to celebrate with them. Or they may answer with all sorts of problematic statements. If that happens, don’t respond by telling them how wrong they are. Instead, tell them thank you for sharing their perspective with you. And encourage them to say more. And at some point, when it feels natural, ask the second question.

What do you know about the cross?

This question will carry you to the heart of the gospel: what do you know about the cross? Again, let them speak first, and be sure you listen carefully. Affirm their willingness to share their thoughts. That’s not always an easy thing for people to do. You may be surprised to find out that one of the most common answers I get to this question is this: I don't know. That’s right. I’ve had multiple people say things like: “I’ve never really thought about it.” Or “I’ve heard about the cross, but I’m not sure what it means.” At this point I often ask, “Would you like me to explain it?” They frequently answer yes. And at that point, your conversation partner has invited you to share the gospel with them.

It could go another way. You conversation partner could respond with an answer that clearly reveals they don’t much about who Jesus is and what he’s done. Again, don’t just tell them they're wrong. Affirm their willingness to have the conversation. Then you could say, “You know, that’s really interesting. I’ve heard it put somewhat differently, if you’re interested.” Chances are they will be, and you now have the opportunity to share the truth of God’s life-giving love revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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