S.H.A.R.E. Your Faith with Others
When you think about sharing your faith with others, do your knees wobble? Do your muscles stiffen? Do you grit your teeth in paralyzing fear? Or maybe you don’t have those reactions at all. Maybe you’d love to share your faith more, but you are never sure how to breech the subject without an awkward conversation.
It takes practice to share the Gospel in a way that sounds more conversational than "presentational." After all, no one likes to feel like they are sitting through a sales pitch . . . especially a sales pitch on religion.
Several years ago, I took a class at my church about how to share your faith, and my pastor, Randy Pope, shared a great tool for moving any ordinary conversation into one that might just open the door to eternity for someone. Best of all, this conversational tool is so simple to remember by using the acronym, S.H.A.R.E.
Non-religious subjects are not intimidating, so they are a great place to begin. Here is a great tip: people love to talk about themselves, so rather than doing all the talking, ask questions about them. Get to know them. For example, ask about their home town or their occupation: “So, what do you do for a living?” or “Are you originally from this area?” These are easy ways to get the conversation going in a natural way.
Here is another tip: as you listen, don’t focus so much on moving into the next part of the conversation that you gloss over a need or life issue they may be experiencing. Those can be great opportunities for you to minister to them in a way you had not anticipated!
It’s kind of ironic, but even people who are averse to Jesus or religion usually don’t mind talking about their church background. As you talk with them, you could ask “Do you go to church around here?” or “Did you grow up doing the whole church thing?” If the person you’re talking to has visited your church, then a conversation about church will be even easier.
Attendance at Church
Once you’re on the subject of church, it’s natural to ask your friend if he or she actively attends a local church. Keep in mind that some people may be reluctant or ashamed to admit they don’t attend a church regularly, so be sure your response is not in any way judgmental. After all, church attendance isn't the point.
Role of the Church
Now that the conversation has moved to a discussion about the church, it’s a natural opportunity to transition into a discussion about the role of the church. For example, you could say something like, “I think the important thing isn't what denomination we follow. What’s important is that the church is doing its job.”
Then you could explain how the church’s primary responsibility is to do everything it can to help people find their purpose for living and to gain an assurance of eternal life. Ask them if they would agree with that. Remember that this is not a monologue. It’s a conversation. Take the time to hear their perspective on it.
As you continue the conversation, look for an opportunity to ask a question that would help you discover the condition of their heart and if they truly know Jesus. You could say something like, “I’ve known people who have grown up in the church and have even been very active in it, but still have not found their purpose for living and who don’t have assurance of eternal life. Do you feel like the church has helped you experience purpose in this life and assurance that you’ll spend eternity in heaven?”
Congratulations! You've just moved an ordinary conversation about something mundane into a conversation about how they can have eternal life. Best of all, with practice, you will start to see divine opportunities to share the Gospel in all kinds of situations.
Remember, God doesn't need someone who is eloquent with words. The Holy Spirit is the one who will do the work. Your job is just to be an obedient servant for God to use!