Recently a friend from my local church family asked the question, “What is the most unique place you’ve shared the gospel?”
A few of my experiences immediately came to mind:
- In a hospital bed
- On a flight across the country
- In gross anatomy cadaver lab
- With a patient at my school’s clinic
- On a first date
- On a hike
- Around a bonfire
- With a family member
- With an openly homosexual nurse caring for me
- At the gym after coaching Crossfit
- Just prior to sedation for a colonoscopy
- At the bowling alley on the Navy base prior to Bible study
- At the gym, between sets
At first glance these encounters may seem very different (feel free to connect and DM me if you want to ask about any specific example). Some were more intentional than others, but as I reflected there were a few things they each had in common:
- They flowed from a natural conversation towards the topic of faith.
- The focus was on Jesus: Who He is; a little bit about what He has done; but more about what He IS doing today and how we can be a part of it.
- They included at least some piece of my personal testimony of what Jesus has done and is doing in my life.
- I usually shared at least one verse from scripture.
- They ended with an invitation to learn more or connect again in the future.
How to Share
One of my favorite passages that relates to sharing our faith is from John 1. We often think that sharing has to be very formal and that we have to cover every aspect of who Jesus is and God’s message (aka, the whole Bible!). In fact, the first thing Jesus did was simply invite people who expressed interest to “come and see” (John 1.39). Just as these first few followers were invited to get a taste of who Jesus is, it is not our role to convince people of anything but instead give them an opportunity to experience Jesus for themselves. For example, in the story, the Andrew did not go home and simply tell Simon Peter about Jesus; he brought him to Jesus to see for himself (John 1.40-41).
It is also worth noting that Andrew only knew Jesus for one day when he reached out to Simon, which tells me that we are never too young in our faith to invite others to follow us as we follow Christ, even if we do not yet have all the answers! All we need is a personal experience with Jesus (what many call our “testimony” today) and you have the first, and oftentimes most effective tool needed to share Jesus with others.
When to Share
One key distinction that should be addressed is the difference between sharing the gospel versus fishing for men. In my opinion, Jesus did not invite every person he reached or served during his earthly ministry to become his disciple, but he did often serve, heal and teach people outside of those he discipled.
Someone once challenged me, saying “we should be prepared to disciple every person we share with.” While I certainly agree, we should never discount an opportunity to share with an individual even if we don’t think it’ll ever go deeper. We saw Jesus do this all the time! For example, in John 4, Jesus shared with the woman at the well, and although she never became part of Jesus’ main group of disciples, she absolutely made an impact by her whole village experiencing Jesus through her testimony. Similarly, the school I currently attend has over 80% women. So while my main focus of reaching young men takes place through different avenues, this doesn’t keep me from sharing the message of Jesus with my female classmates, praying for them, and encouraging them in their faith in every way possible.
Lastly, one quote that the late Jim Downing, who had followed Jesus for over 80 years, shared with me a few years ago continues to guide the way I share: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I encourage each of us to grow in our ability to relate to people as we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, God’s Word and His message!
How to Get Started
- Ask yourself, “What is holding you back from sharing the gospel?” (Romans 1.16)
- Who is one person already in your life that you can share with? (Acts 1.8)
- Consider reading The Master Plan of Evangelism, if you’ve been through the Bible at least one time. This book can help you hone in on the mission of Jesus. (Mark 8.27-29)
- Pray for and find a running mate, someone you can partner with to go out and share the gospel with! (Ecclesiastes 4.12)
- If you don’t have a “fresh water stream,” meaning a place you interact with new people in your daily or weekly routine, then I encourage you to brainstorm, pray and ultimately step out in faith to find one. For me, this has been coaching, playing pickup basketball, or going to a corner store; but find someplace you feel called to and go for it! (John 14.21)