Talking about Jesus doesn’t always need to be a big biblical presentation. Sarah Seabrook believes that simply speaking about our faith in everyday conversation can have a bigger impact on others than we realise.
“McCrindle research identified that conversations are the biggest prompt when people are thinking about spirituality and belief,” Mrs Seabrook said in her workshop on Introducing Jesus into your Conversations, which was part of a recent Evangelism and New Churches conference called Gossiping the Gospel.
To add to this, 44 per cent of non-Christians are attracted to seeing people live out genuine faith, but this rises to 62 per cent for non-Christians who are already open to change. “Nobody likes a hypocrite,” Mrs Seabrook said.
Knowing where others are coming from, and knowing ourselves, are key to being able to introduce Jesus into our conversations. “We are not religious observers; we are people in a right relationship with God,” she added. “This is a fundamental thing about Christianity that most people don’t get. They don’t hear enough about the relationship we have with God.”
We don’t need to be “experts”
It’s important to remember that people don’t know what we know. “It’s our job to let others know what it means to live a Christian life and to be in a relationship with God,” Mrs Seabrook said. “We are the ones who hold that information and need to bring it up in conversation.”
She advised people to share their experiences with the gospel – particularly what captured them – and the hurdles they needed to overcome to believe, but to do so without watering down the message of Jesus.
We don’t need to be experts in all areas of theology to talk about Jesus, she said, adding that it’s helpful to reflect on what you do feel confident talking about. Share what you love about God, the church, Jesus, the Bible and your Christian friends. Talk about the difference Jesus makes to your life, including your relationships, security, future, decision making and your identity.
It’s also important to remember that we are the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13), that our words will polarise (2 Cor 2:14-16), and that we must be prepared (1 Peter 3:15).
“This is how we’re going to come into conversations,” Mrs Seabrook said. “We’ve got all these things in mind. We have our story to tell, the theology, but we are minding the gap when we drop into conversation.
“We’re not just going to say ‘church’ or ‘worship’ or ‘I was saved by the blood of Jesus’. But you are going to drop in questions. You’re going to be a questioning person. You might be that switch that helps people see that their assumptions are not [correct]. You may have the ability to change someone’s mind, but this is going to take time.
“We can’t out-inform people in this age. What people need to see is that Christianity works. It makes a difference. It works because we tell them the joy we have in knowing God, the relief in forgiveness, the hope in eternal life [and] that we’ve found our home.”
Jesus conversations are “building blocks”
The goal is not to get to a gospel presentation as quickly as possible. “Mentioning what you did on the weekend and mentioning church is a great place to start… You don’t have to always get straight to the gospel. It’s building blocks. When you have time, you can come back to that.”
Practicing gospel conversations with your church family and other Christians will also help make this a habit. The more comfortable we are speaking about faith with others, the more likely we are to bring Jesus up with the non-Christians we know.
The most important element to introducing Jesus in conversation is to pray. “They won’t listen or understand unless we pray,” Mrs Seabrook said. “It’s God’s job to do the converting. We don’t know how God will use what we say, except that he will.”
Sarah Seabrook is a Moore College graduate with a teaching background who works with ENC as a speaker and trainer in evangelism. She is a resource for your church - learn more here.