“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.” Peter, writing to Jewish Christians who had been driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor (1 Peter 3:15)
Recently in one of our lifeGroup conversations this question came up: “When is it the right time to share the Gospel with our friends?” Timing is everything. How do you know? Here’s a good rule of thumb: When your friend asks you. God is already working in the life of our friends. The Spirit, if we are sensitive to His leading, will provide “opportunities” for us to share our hope. We can take the pressure off of ourselves to “manufacture opportunities.”
One of my priorities, then, as a Christian leader, is to walk alongside Jesus-followers and prepare them for those opportunities. I am called, in part, to help get them ready.
How are you preparing Jesus-followers to “share the hope they have in Christ” when they are gifted with Spirit-inspired opportunities?
Here are the 3 simple moves that prepare you (and those you lead) for those oppertunities.
1) Consider, again, that Jesus is Good News.
Good News is not difficult to share. Jesus is Good News! He is not advice. He is not theology. He is not history. He is a person. He has done great things for us and in us. He is doing great things for us and in us. What if we approached our relationship with Jesus, the same way we approach that “great thing” that recently happened to us?
Try this: Pick out one of your favorite stories about Jesus from one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and look for an opportunity to share it with your friend.
2) Ask good questions.
Powerful, soul-stirring questions combined with a genuinely caring and interested spirit can be the equation that unlocks meaningful opportunities to share Jesus. One of my favorite questions I got from a list in a book entitled “I Once Was Lost” by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp.
“What is the most significant thing that has happened to you in the last month? Pg. 56
Have you ever noticed how often we use questions to just gather information? What if we started using questions to stir emotion and thought? Think of the opportunities that might emerge.
Try this: Choose your favorite, go-to questions and give ‘em a shot the next time you have an unhurried conversation with your friend.
3) Build your capacity in community.
We sharpen each other as we practice and compare notes. I love exploring the way Jesus built capacity in His disciples.
- He taught.
- He assigned.
- They went out and tried.
- They returned and shared stories.
This training cycle was repeated again and again. What would happen in our churches if we turned our gatherings into places where this rhythm was repeated.
Try this: Get together on a regular basis with a few other Jesus-followers and begin praying for your unbelieving friends, and then begin sharing your “stories of engagement” with each other. Listen deeply to each other, learn from each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. Pay attention to what begins happening over time. You will be amazed at the “Spirit-inspired” opportunities that start popping up.