7 ways the Holy Spirit helps you talk about Jesus

Imagine having a best friend who’s always by your side, ready to help you have a conversation with others about the best news ever. That’s kind of what it’s like when you grow closer to the Holy Spirit. Think of it like having a constant companion who cheers you on and makes talking about Jesus easier and more natural. 

This friend understands you deeply and knows exactly what you need and when you need it, helping you find the right words and the best approach to connect with others. The Holy Spirit simplifies your thoughts, clarifies your feelings, and enables you to express yourself clearly and lovingly about your faith.

Let’s learn together how this wonderful relationship works and explore how it can profoundly influence the way you talk about Jesus with others.

1. The Holy Spirit as your closest friend

Think of the Holy Spirit as a friend who knows you better than anyone else. This friend is always with you, cheering you on, and giving you the right words at the right time. When you are close to the Holy Spirit, walking together, you embody the Holy Spirit’s power and fruit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23 New Living Translation). This relationship gives you confidence that you can represent the kingdom of God and talk to others about Jesus because you are not doing it alone. Jesus said this about his Holy Spirit, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

2. Listening and learning

Growing closer in relationship to this friend means spending quality time together. It’s similar with the Holy Spirit. You enhance this relationship by reading the Bible, talking to the Holy Spirit as you would with a close friend, and being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:12, New International Version). These practices help you understand how to convey Jesus’ love to others more effectively. God also prepares you to be an authentic voice when sharing your faith, making your words resonate more with those who hear them.

3. Practicing compassion

Compassion is core to Jesus’ message, and practicing it involves more than just making people receptive to us. You demonstrate compassion as you live out Jesus’ love in your daily actions. When you embody Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, your actions become a powerful testimony to his influence on you. This genuine display of compassion often opens doors for deeper conversations about faith.

4. Sharing stories

Sharing personal stories is one of the most effective ways to communicate about Jesus. Everyone loves a good story, and the Holy Spirit can remind you of narratives from the Bible or your own life that highlight Jesus’ love and compassion. For example, you might share about how you found comfort in a difficult time through prayer, or how a particular Scripture gave you peace and direction. Another story could be about a day when you felt an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude during a community service event. These stories help others see the real-life implications of your faith, and they make the message of Jesus relatable.

5. Being brave together

Talking about Jesus can seem intimidating, but with the Holy Spirit, you never face these challenges alone. Consider the analogy of jumping into a swimming pool. It might seem daunting at first, but it feels great once you’re in the water. The Holy Spirit gives you that initial courage when you hesitate. For example, when you’re at a social gathering and the topic of religion, a current event or passionate topics come up, the Holy Spirit can inspire you to talk about your faith with courage and sensitivity. He can help you turn potentially awkward moments into opportunities for meaningful dialogue.

6. It’s a journey

Growing in your relationship with the Holy Spirit and learning to talk about Jesus is an ongoing adventure. You will experience highs and lows, but every step is part of a grand adventure that enriches your faith and molds your character. The journey involves learning about God with excitement and discovery as you find encouragement to talk about the gospel passionately.

7. You’re not perfect, and that’s OK 

You don’t need to be perfect to talk about Jesus. We all make mistakes, and that’s normal. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the apostle Paul reminds us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. The Holy Spirit looks for willingness, not perfection. Being real and transparent about your struggles and victories in life with God can make your interactions more relatable, developing a deeper connection with people.


If anything, remember that the Holy Spirit is God empowering you to represent him to others

Growing closer to the Holy Spirit transforms how you communicate about Jesus with others. You can depend on the Holy Spirit to help you build confidence, practice authentic compassion, and provide courage to share your stories. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:19,20 New Living Translation)

Remember, this is a journey for all Christians, filled with continuous learning and opportunities for growth. Let’s encourage each other to keep exploring this adventure and spread the good news to all the corners of the world, starting with where you are.

Reflect:

  • Who is one person you can encourage by sharing this article?
  • What is the one thing you needed to read most from this article?

How compassion and understanding makes for a better faith conversation

When you tell a friend about something good in your life that can make a difference for them, think about a caring approach to the conversation. A mindset of kindness, rather than forcefulness, can help you have a more meaningful discussion. Scripture encourages this attitude.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, New International Version).

As you interact with the person, there are three things you can keep in mind through your conversation: their story, the goodness of God, and how deep needs create common ground.  

 

Learn about the person’s background

Listening to someone’s thoughts and perspectives demonstrates interest. Ask follow-up questions to hear more and to understand. You can hear what the person says instead of making the conversation a one-sided teaching.

As you listen, it could help to gain more understanding about how the person has reached their spiritual conclusions. You might think about how their story or past events play into this. Empathy for someone’s story demonstrates love for that person.

 

Remember the goodness of God

When you learn someone’s thoughts about spiritual topics, remember the goodness of Jesus. This means having a desire for the person to experience God. You want them to know the reality that He is better than anything else. 

So, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, you communicate about good news that brings joy and freedom. It’s not an irrelevant subject but a message of light. 

God can work in the person’s life to help them understand this hope.

 

Communicate on common ground

When you want your friend or family member to experience knowing Jesus, it’s possible to talk about his grace and forgiveness as well as about truth and sin. While communicating about the gospel in this way, you don’t look down on the person but have kindness.

Think about where the gospel meets a deep need, even your own needs. For example, every person needs someone who is able to bear all cares and concerns, giving rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus is the perfect friend to come to in prayer. Sometimes, a spiritual conversation might feel awkward, but relating to the needs of others places you on common ground. 

The caring approaches to these conversations are applicable whether you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know Jesus or a Christian who is struggling. Leading with compassion and empathy, you can talk with a friend or family member about the gospel in a way that is respectful and helps them.

How to find joy when conversations go sideways

I truly desire to have meaningful conversations about faith with others, especially at times like Christmas and Easter, when spiritual conversations are easier to bring up. Before I try to have a meaningful conversation, I find myself engaging in a personal routine that begins with prayer for the person, inviting others to pray with me, and finding the courage to initiate a conversation. After this routine, my hopes are high, so when that person rejects the gospel or my invitation for discussion, the last thing I feel is joy or peace.

I imagine I am not the only person in this situation. Like me, you might have experienced disappointment with unmet expectations or the feeling that your effort was a waste. Perhaps you haven’t experienced that disappointment yet, but what if you do?

When you’ve prayed and had a conversation with a loved one or someone you have compassion for, you have taken steps to care for them. Therefore, it’s understandable to feel sad when you discover they don’t share in your joy for the Savior. 

In these moments, what helps me is remembering Jesus is the Savior, not me. Jesus is alive and seated on his heavenly throne, and Jesus loves this person more than you possibly could. When you pray for others and start conversations with them about Jesus and faith in him, you are being faithful to God. Isaiah 52:7 (New International Version) says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” It’s your job to speak the good news; it’s God’s job to change hearts.

Even when others reject Jesus in conversations, it is up to God to work in their lives. God might use you to have more spiritual conversations in the future, to study the Bible with that person, if they’re willing, or to simply pray for them. But only God can transform the person’s spirit, and no one is better equipped to perform such work than Him. While God is working, you can continue as his ambassador with friendship, kindness and displays of Jesus’ love

Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross is the most powerful demonstration of love, and it means God cares even more than you do. So when spiritual conversations don’t go as you hoped and you feel disappointment, rejoice because although they rejected him, God is still able to work in the person’s life. Therefore, rejoice, be at peace, and don’t stop praying and loving because God is working.

How to recognize and create chances to talk about God during the holidays

Holidays can be such a great time to have spiritual conversations with your friends and family.

You’re with loved ones to celebrate and spend quality time together. Maybe you’re seeing people you haven’t seen in a while. Special food and fun traditions, and the anticipation of them, can lead to a festive feeling in the air. And that holiday mood can allow people to relax and be more open to talking.

If approached with humility and love, and the power the Holy Spirit offers, holidays can be an ideal time to talk with someone about Jesus. But for that conversation to happen, it’s important to recognize or create the right opportunity.

So here’s how you can recognize opportunities when they come or create some yourself.


 

How can you recognize opportunities to talk about your faith in God? 

First of all, what’s an opportunity? A good opportunity to talk about God with someone is when the other person is undistracted and willing to have a spiritual conversation with you. It’s that simple.

And a person is more likely to be open to talking about spiritual things when it’s just the two of you. So look for times when you’re more or less alone together and doing something that doesn’t take a lot of concentration. Here are types of situations to look for:

  • You and a friend are traveling together to a holiday gathering.
  • You find yourself making dumplings in the kitchen with your cousin while everyone else is outside.
  • After the meal, your grandma invites you to take a walk with her around the neighborhood.
  • You watch a movie with a group of people and afterward you and a friend go out for coffee to talk about it.

Look for times like these, when you’re together and less likely to be interrupted. Start by asking a good question and listening well. Then ask a spiritual question and see if the person is open to having a spiritual conversation. A good spiritual question to ask during a holiday could be, “What are you thankful for?”

Stay alert because a chance can come and go quickly. If your uncle asks the group, “Who wants to go with me to buy the meat?” you may have only a couple seconds to volunteer before someone else does.

Sometimes, though, quality chances to talk about spiritual topics don’t appear. Or you fail to recognize them in time. When that’s the case, try creating a chance to talk about God.


 

How can you create opportunities to talk about your faith in God? 

Creating opportunities doesn’t mean you’re taking matters into your own hands. Either way, God is the one working behind the scenes. Sometimes he drops opportunities in your lap and sometimes he invites you to take a more active role, working with him to bring the opportunities about.

So here are three things you can do to create opportunities to talk with family and friends about Jesus during a holiday:


 

1. Pray and prepare

God wants everyone to hear the good news. So he’s definitely going to help you if you want to talk about Jesus with the people in your life. Pray and ask God to lead you by his Spirit.

Then think through past holidays and your plans for this one and identify potential opportunities for a conversation. One idea is to invite someone ahead of time to a sporting event or out for coffee or to shop for presents together.


 

2. Demonstrate the gospel with your life

People will be more willing to talk with you about God if they see genuine humility and love in your actions and attitude. When you make conflict resolution and forgiveness a priority it disarms the other person and can make them curious.

Share about your life in a vulnerable way, then ask to hear what’s been going on in their life since you’ve seen them last. Ask how you can pray for them. Be excited with them about the good stuff and show compassion when responding about the hard stuff. When they see your genuine interest and care it will reduce some of the barriers they may have.

Just by having a great interaction with the other person — laughing or talking deeply — you can build trust and help undo negative assumptions they might have of you or Jesus. Then, when you bring up spiritual topics, they’re more likely to have that conversation with you.


 

3. Take action

Taking action means actively creating time when you can talk without distractions. For example, you could offer to help your friend clean up after the meal while others play a game in the living room. Once you have a conversation going, take a step of faith and ask a spiritual question.

Also, your friend or family member may be more willing to talk with you about God if they have an experience that causes them to think about spiritual things.

  • Will you be going to a religious service together?
  • Will you be doing a holiday tradition that has a spiritual background?
  • Will you be experiencing art together (movie, museum, music) that has an overtly spiritual element or theme?

If so, you can ask what they felt and thought about that service, tradition or piece of art. If it’s a movie, you could ask about parts that speak to spiritual themes: the world’s brokenness due to sin, death that causes sadness, good vs. evil, a fight for justice, love that brings healing. After listening well, see if they’re open for you to share your views too. While sharing, you can talk about how Jesus died to solve the problems of sin and death and to bring love, justice, and healing.

But what if talking about “religion” doesn’t often go well in your family? If that’s the case, one thing you can do is to wait until you’ve eaten. When we’re hungry it’s harder to concentrate and easier to become irritated and impatient. Bringing up spiritual topics after having eaten is more likely to go well. Also make sure to use a kind and gentle tone of voice.

When you recognize, create and make the most of opportunities to talk about God with the people in your life this holiday season, you are showing them love. There’s no greater gift you can give another person than a chance to hear the gospel, be forgiven and enter into a relationship with Jesus.

So ask God for opportunities and for help. Then prepare, seek to demonstrate the gospel with your life, and actively pursue a spiritual conversation with your friend or family member. Happy holidays!

How to gain a learner’s mindset and become curious about a person’s background

Has anyone ever been truly curious about you as a person? If so, did it make you feel cared for when they asked you questions that showed interest in who you are?

Curious people have a learner’s mindset. They want to learn about others. When you desire to talk with people about faith, it’s helpful to first focus on learning about them. A learner’s mindset, in dependence on God, helps you to have effective spiritual conversations as you grow in understanding about the other person.

So here are three things you can do to develop a learner’s mindset and become a person who is curious about others.

1. Pray for a godly perspective and for boldness to show intentional care

Start by asking God to give you a desire to see people the way that he sees them. Jesus deeply cares about the people you interact with on a daily basis. Every person is valuable to him. It’s good to remind yourself that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, English Standard Version).

Pray that God will give you love for others and that you would reflect God’s character to the people around you. Pray specifically for guidance with what questions to ask people in conversation as you seek to learn about them.

Also ask God to give you boldness, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to show the person intentional care. Ed Welch, in his book “Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships,” explains an important truth about this way of relating to people.

“So we move toward others. The extroverts among us seem to make it look easy. The more shy might be intimidated by the potential awkwardness or silence. But loving pursuit is neither easy nor natural to anyone. All of us need both humility and help from Scripture in order to navigate the early stages of a helpful conversation.”

Yet as you “lovingly pursue” people through being curious about them, keep in mind one thing that kills curiosity: assumptions.

2. Let go of assumptions

Another way to gain more of a learner’s mindset is to recognize and turn away from assumptions you might have about people. Assumptions can prevent your personal relationship with someone from going to a deeper level.

For example, let’s say you assume that a person you work with does not want to talk about spiritual things. In that case, you might not bring up spiritual things in your conversation. The problem though is that your assumption is causing you to miss the opportunity to hear about their thoughts on Christianity.

Think through what you’ve assumed about people in your life. Then seek to learn what is really true. Ask them about a topic that you think you already know their thoughts on, like if anyone they know goes to a church and what they think about that.

It might feel easy to put people in stereotype boxes. Maybe you’ve placed someone in a category based on their political views or their hobbies. Seek to break down those boxes and see people as complex instead of just a stereotype. A simple question to start could be, “What is something that people don’t often know about you?”

Along with letting go of stereotypes, trust God to work in the person’s life. You might be surprised at how he is drawing them into a relationship with him. Ask God to show you how he is at work in that person’s life.

And as you do away with assumptions and begin to see the person for who they are, continue with curiosity. Seek to put the puzzle pieces together and understand their spiritual journey and life story as a whole.

3. Ask questions about a person’s story

Everyone is on a spiritual journey. Each person you interact with has a story and a spiritual background. This might be easy to think about in your own life. You had a journey to come to faith and you continue to experience change and growth in your spiritual life.

Seek to uncover and put together the pieces of another person’s story. Discover the who, what, when, where and why of their life. Ask about their family, major life events, career choices, places they’ve lived and their reasons for thinking the way they do about certain topics.

When you’re in a conversation, listen carefully to the person’s answers. And remember, your conversations don’t need to look a certain way or like you imagined they would before you started. 

Take a step of faith to ask another question, and then another one. Through your curiosity, you can discover more about the person, leading to deeper spiritual conversations in the future.

Do you know what your friends and family actually believe about God?

Who knows you better than your friends and family? Sometimes that’s fun and sometimes that’s awkward. But as well as they may know you, do they know the details of what you believe about spiritual things? And do you actually know what they believe about God?

It could be that you’ve never asked what your aunt thinks about Jesus. Or maybe you asked her five years ago how her spiritual background shaped her current beliefs. Sadly, her answer made it obvious she wasn’t interested in talking about God. So in your mind you put her in the “not interested in God” box and there she’s stayed.

But did you know that what a person believes can change over time? It might be a subtle change or it might be a huge shift. Just look at your own life. 

What do you believe about God? And have those beliefs changed over time?

Pastor and author A.W. Tozer said, “What you believe about God is the most important thing about you.” This is true, whether you live like he doesn’t exist, believe he’s a tyrannical God waiting to punish you when you mess up, or think he’s a loving God overflowing with grace and mercy. 

A number of factors have shaped, and are still shaping, your beliefs. For instance, the environment you grew up in, the government you live under, the culture that surrounds you, and the amount of time you spend online or with neighbors, friends or mentors.

Your family culture also affects what amount of brokenness you’ve been exposed to. The world is full of evil and sin. And the brokenness that saturates every area of life affects you to some degree, shaping what you believe about God — if he is real, good or just plain mean. 

As you grow up and have new experiences, there will always be something or someone that can change your beliefs and perspectives. Whether you know it or not you are growing and learning on a daily basis as you interact with the world around you. One person, podcast, image, story, conversation or experience can change the way you think about everything, including about the spiritual side of life.

Take a moment to reflect on the different stages of your life and how you thought about God in each of those times.

Then think about how, if your beliefs can change, so can the beliefs of those closest to you.

How can you find out what your family and friends believe about God?

When you think about how you’ve changed, it can remind you just how much someone else could have also changed, even in a short amount of time. Staying curious about your own beliefs, especially as they develop, will help you be curious about the lifelong faith development of your family and friends.

But what are some ways you can find out what they actually believe about God? Here are three things to try:

  1. Make use of the spirituality category in Openers*
    Asking questions is a really simple way to get to know someone and what their beliefs are. The following questions are some options from the Openers tool in the GodTools app:
    • “If you could ask God for one thing right now, what would it be?”
    • “What was your exposure to religion growing up?”
    • “What spiritual belief did you have as a child that seems ridiculous to you now?”
  2. Share your story to help the other person share theirs
    Asking to hear someone’s story can help you know what has shaped that person. But you may need to share your story or be vulnerable yourself first. Being transparent like this will show the other person how emotionally deep you’re willing to go in the conversation. Sharing stories can build trust and friendship as well as create opportunities to connect with the other person on a deeper level.
  3. Join the other person in what they’re doing
    Joining the other person could be doing a fun activity together, running an errand or sharing a meal with others in their life. As you spend time together you’ll learn about their hobbies, values, what they like and don’t like, and hopefully their spiritual beliefs too. The more time you spend with someone, the more chances you have to learn about them and what they think about life, spiritual things and God himself.

As you try to find out what your friends and family truly believe about God, remember that their faith development is a lifelong process. Everyone is on a spiritual journey and you never know where that journey has taken someone. Yesterday may have been the day they totally changed their mind about God.

Learning what your friends and family believe can help you talk with them about the good news in a way that makes sense to them. So stay curious. Then let the gospel shine into the dark places of sin and brokenness in their lives where its light has not yet reached.

Do you persist or adapt when you hit a roadblock in sharing the good news?

Hey there, friend.

We know the journey of sharing the gospel is not always a smooth path. Sometimes you come across challenges that make you wonder: Should I keep pushing ahead or try a different approach? That’s where the dance between persistence and adaptation comes in.

Together, we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us when facing challenges to sharing the gospel. And ultimately, employing these two approaches — persistence and adaptation — you can grow deeper and more meaningful relationships with those you love: mom, dad, son, daughter, friend, neighbor.

Let’s dive into this exciting journey together, drawing insights from the “Noticing” chapter in Doug Pollock’s short book, “God Space.”

Perseverance: embracing patience 

Picture this: You’re sharing your faith and, suddenly, you hit a roadblock. The other person is willing to answer your spiritual questions but only with short answers. Or maybe on the soccer sideline another parent seems interested, but phone calls or developments in the game keep distracting them.

It’s in these moments that perseverance becomes your ally. It’s about not giving up. But hey, we understand — it’s not always easy:

  • Dealing with roadblocks: Discovering ways to continue the conversation in the context of your relationship is the focus of perseverance. When facing a roadblock like short answers, you could ask a powerful question, “What is an aspect of faith that is interesting to you?” 
  • Asking God to help: God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV). So in the soccer example, you can first ask him to remove distractions long enough for you to talk about him with the other person. Then patiently persevere in bringing up spiritual topics and see what happens.

What’s awesome about perseverance? It shows your dedication and authenticity. Your commitment shines through, building a foundation of trust and setting the stage for incredible conversations about God.

Adaptation: embracing change

Switch gears for a moment and think about a different roadblock. The person you’re talking with gets upset discussing “religion” and shuts down. In this case, adaptation rather than perseverance is likely the best way forward. Adaptation is all about being flexible and willing to adjust your approach. But hey, adapting comes with its own set of challenges:

  • Stepping outside of your comfort zone: Trying something new can be a bit nerve-wracking. But remember, growth often comes from stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Adapting isn’t failing: You might worry that changing things up means you’re giving up. But adapting shows that you genuinely care about their spiritual journey and not your methods.

Adaptation lets you meet people where they are spiritually and creates opportunity for deeper, more meaningful conversations. Adapting in the example above could be taking the time to show empathy by asking questions with gentleness about their experience with religion. By matching your approach to their needs, you’re showing them that you’re listening and that you value their perspective.

Striking the balance: when to persist and when to adapt

Now, let’s chat about the art of balancing. How do you know when to hold on and when to pivot? Keep these pointers in mind:

  • Hopeful persistence: If you sense openness beyond the roadblocks, be it internal or external, then persistence can be your guiding light. In this case, your patience and the respect you show the other person can go a long way.
  • Your current approach may not be effective: If your current approach is not increasing your relationship and might even be straining your connection, it’s time to consider adapting. Remember, adapting is not waving a white flag of surrender — it’s about finding better ways to connect. Check out a lesson* in the GodTools app to discover new ideas for connecting.
  • Persistence and adaptation can work together: Persevering in the relationship often calls for adapting your approach in the conversation.

*Lessons are only available in the app.

A growing relationship

As you navigate gospel conversations, remember that both perseverance and adaptation have their place. Effectiveness lies in the authenticity of your intentions, the love you show, and your sincere desire to share the life-changing message of the gospel. While you persevere in guiding the other person to explore the person of Jesus, be open to adapting your approach. This openness reflects your genuine care and commitment to their well-being.

In the end, the heart of evangelism lies in building relationships — between you and that person, and between that person and God. You are the guide on the other person’s spiritual journey, the two of you taking steps together toward Jesus. As you look through the practical tips in GodTools Lições, you’ll find yourself better equipped to strike the balance between perseverance and adaptation. Then you can more effectively invite others to experience the profound beauty of faith in Christ.

5 things to keep in mind when talking about God does not go as planned

On a cold, gray afternoon two friends waited together for the bus that would take them home. Daniel had been a faithful Christian since his youth. Alex had lost his faith after his mother’s early death. The young men had built a solid friendship based on honesty, but they had never talked together about the gospel.

While they waited, Alex bought two cups of coffee to warm them up. As they enjoyed their drinks they talked with anticipation about the comforts of home. Their conversation created a warm atmosphere and Daniel felt that it was opening the door to a deep spiritual conversation. He decided to respectfully ask for permission to share what gave meaning to his life, and Alex agreed.

Taking out his phone and opening the GodTools app, Daniel chose the evangelistic tool called THE FOUR. The conversation went well, but when Daniel invited Alex to make a decision to follow Christ, everything changed. Alex said he didn’t believe what Daniel believed about God. He claimed that if God existed, he would be a sadistic being who takes pleasure in human suffering without stepping in to help. He thanked Daniel for his words but rejected the idea of believing in that kind of God.

Daniel was frozen. His fears about sharing the gospel had come true. He didn’t know how to react or what to say. Though he managed to clarify some points before the bus came, he was overwhelmed on the ride home by a mixture of disappointment, guilt and sadness. Thoughts crowded his mind, and doubt invaded him.

Daniel’s story may be similar to something you’ve experienced. Negative responses to evangelism can be discouraging and can undermine your confidence. However, these negative experiences can also become turning points in your spiritual journey, and they can help you find the right focus on God.

So here are five things to remember when your spiritual conversations do not go as planned:

  1. Let love for God and for your neighbor be your guide.
    The main goal of having a conversation about the gospel is not to persuade people to join a specific religion or church. Rather, it’s about loving God by sharing about his love for humanity — love that he expressed through the death and resurrection of his Son. So remember that this conversation is not a debate but an expression of love.
  2. Be empathetic.
    Negative responses to the gospel are often motivated by traumatic life experiences or negative interactions with other Christians. Take the time to listen to what the other person has to say and try to understand their point of view.
  3. Do not try to win the argument.
    You can be tempted to see negative responses as an invitation to argue until the other person is forced to accept your point of view. However, this does not often yield good results. Instead of feeling loved, the other person may feel attacked. Remember that the message of the gospel is a message of love, not a product they need to buy.
  4. Do not take it personally.
    You may think that people take a negative attitude toward the gospel because they hate you or just do not like you. But most of the time, when someone does not accept the message of the gospel, it’s simply because they have chosen not to. It’s not about you but a personal choice they have made.
  5. Put your thoughts into perspective.
    A negative response to what you share about God can shake your confidence. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your inner dialogue. Ask yourself, “How do I feel at the end of this conversation? What thoughts are filling my mind?” Once you answer those questions, you’ll begin seeing ways to improve future conversations. You’ll also spot negative thoughts about your identity that you must surrender to God and throw away.

It’s not easy when a conversation does not go as planned. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain the right focus, remembering why Jesus wants you to have these conversations in the first place.

You can personally share your faith because of what God put inside you

Evangelism can be hard. Sometimes it can be really hard. Maybe you’ve even said to yourself, “It’s just not for me. I’m afraid of arguments. I’m too awkward. I’m not good at this.”

In reality, God has equipped all Christians to do evangelism in unique and different ways. It is average Christians, not just talented celebrity evangelists, who are able to speak and demonstrate the gospel to their friends and neighbors. When we shift our perspective, we see that our unique personalities and circumstances are actually a front doormat to sharing our faith. Even seeming weaknesses can actually be our strengths.

Let’s look together at how God has uniquely equipped and positioned you to share your faith.

 

1. An effective tool in your evangelism toolkit is actually your own personality

Here are a few examples of how aspects of your personality can work to your advantage in having conversations about Jesus.

  • Introversion: You can empathize with others who would be put off by someone asking them lots of questions or forcing them into a conversation. The best person to reach someone who is shy or less talkative is often someone with those same traits.
  • Extroversion: Use your outgoing nature to help others feel noticed. A simple compliment, encouragement or observation can open doors to conversation that otherwise would be closed. Doug Pollock in “God Space” says that when you notice others it sends them a powerful message: “I notice you. You matter to me! You matter to God!”
  • Personality traits: You can use your abilities and areas of expertise to help others feel free to be themselves and talk openly about spiritual topics. Maybe you’re good at planning, giving advice or remembering birthdays. Or maybe you love to make extra cookies you can pass out to friends or neighbors. Each aspect of who you are is an opportunity to serve the other person and build trust with them. This will also help the other person see the gospel demonstrated in your life before they hear it from your lips.

 

2. God has put you where you are not by accident but intentionally

Have you ever considered where God has put you? Your physical location, emotional state, geography, or occupation influence your opportunities to share the gospel.

Take a look at some of these examples:

  • Struggles: Maybe you’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, or chronic pain — and maybe you still do. Because of your first-hand experience, you’ve been given the chance to talk authentically to others in those same situations about the hope Jesus offers.
  • Interests: Your love of a particular hobby or sport can connect you to others who need to hear the gospel. Whether it’s gardening, playing soccer or making the perfect omelet, your interests help pave the way for building relationships and demonstrating the gospel with your life.
  • Occupation: Your job may be bringing you into contact with people you can speak hope, peace and life to on a daily basis. These people may never hear or see the gospel expressed except through your life and interactions with them.
  • Finances: You can demonstrate the gospel through the way you use your money. In their book “Right Here, Right Now,” Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford say that “missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God! If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person into their home for a meal once a week, we would literally change the world by eating!”

 

Changing your point of view can make a huge difference

Believe that you were made for each moment and every conversation and that God has supplied you uniquely to do so. When you can believe that, then evangelism isn’t something you rehearse and share, it’s just something you live out naturally by trusting God’s plan. The solution isn’t to be more attentive, funnier or more interesting to talk to. It’s to embrace your gifts, interests and unique traits, which help you create opportunities to speak and demonstrate the gospel. 

Yes, it does sound a little cliche, but the answer to how you can personally do evangelism really is inside of you — because God put it there. We are all God’s masterpiece, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). That means He put intention behind creating you to be who you are so you can reach other people.

An unexpected situation can be the right time to share the gospel

Hi, my name is Sienna*. For two years my husband and I shared the message of Jesus with university students in a part of Africa where Christians are few and often persecuted. One day, I invited a young woman named Nicole* to have coffee with me. When she arrived she had a friend with her — a guy!

I didn’t know what to do at first, because in this African culture girls do not often talk with guys. I prayed silently and asked God to lead the conversation and show me the reason why her friend Finn* was at the meeting. Soon after, we started talking about spiritual things, and I knew God was asking me to share the gospel with Nicole and Finn.

I asked if it was OK to show them an app on my phone that explains what Christians believe. They agreed and I started showing them the Four Spiritual Laws on the GodTools app. Nicole politely read and listened, but she was clearly not interested. Finn, however, took my phone and read through the Four Laws over and over, mesmerized.

He said, “A few years ago, I started feeling like there has to be more to God than what we are taught in this country. So I’ve been searching for who he truly is. In fact, just recently I’ve become curious about what the Bible says about God. I can’t believe I met you!”

At the end of the conversation, Finn and I prayed together that God would reveal himself to Finn. A couple of weeks later, I received a text from Finn that said, “I need to meet with you and your husband, and we need to talk about Jesus. I had a dream about him last night!” Jason* and I were so excited, we practically sprinted to the nearest cafe to meet with him.

As Finn described his dream, he said, “I saw a man dressed in white approaching me. I knew it had to be Jesus! He walked closer and closer until he was standing right in front of me. He didn’t even say anything to me. He simply looked me in the eyes. I don’t know how to explain it, but when he looked at me, I immediately understood in my heart that this was God! I knew right then that the Jesus of the Bible is real and he answered my prayer!”

Soon afterward, we met with Finn again. At this next meeting, Finn prayed the prayer at the end of the Four Spiritual Laws and accepted Jesus as his Savior. And he was so excited about his newfound faith that he wanted to share it with others that same day! Hours after becoming a Christian himself, Finn joined Jason in finding other students to share the Four Spiritual Laws with!

And it hasn’t ended there. For two years, Finn has regularly shared his faith with his friends and family. He has become a key part of our city’s growing Christian community.

*All the names in this story have been changed for security reasons.

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