Sharing your faith with others might feel challenging, but you don’t need a degree or to be a preacher to do it.
And yet that nagging feeling stays: what if you get confused? Or not be able to manage the tough questions? Our faith sharing courage might get a little wobbly.
The good news is, you only need ‘know’ one thing, and you have that already. Your experience.
In this article, we will look at what you really need to know from your experience of knowing Jesus. And then be more confident that even if that is only a little, in God’s hands it is enough.
Before we start, if you would like a chance to develop your courage in sharing your faith with others, take a look at our Talking Jesus course we run in the diocese.
Sharing your faith with others: the one thing you need to ‘know’
When asked a tough question it can be all too easy to reach for a clever answer. We are too quick to try and half answer a question rather than say, ‘I don’t know’. One useful approach is to not be the expert. Have an opinion about the answer but don’t be dogmatic.
In other words, don’t say that you are right, and the other person is wrong. I find that it is best to speak from experience by telling a story as an example.
Taking the ‘higher ground’ suggests that you know more than the other person. The other person may stop listening to what you have to say because they will get defensive. They will look to prove you wrong, rather than engaging in what you are saying.
Take a journey together as you share your faith
It might be useful to think of it as a journey that you are taking together. That means to help one another along the journey, particularly in the rough parts.
Ask the other person what they think. Suggest discovering the answer together. Share truths with one another that each believes. Ask each other questions to help you understand where the other person is coming from. Then leave the rest to God.
Also, don’t worry if you feel that they ‘aren’t getting it’. Nor get upset that you didn’t say something that you feel was important. There are other opportunities. And besides, it is quite amazing what God can do.
You don’t have to know everything to share your faith with others. Nor do you have to say everything in one go.
Where does the faith you want to share come from?
Faith isn’t based on the more knowledge you have, the greater your faith. Faith is born out of experience because faith is a relationship.
Let’s think about what St Paul talks about where righteousness comes from. He is referring to one of the most important people in Jewish history: Abraham. He writes in Romans chapter 4 that it isn’t Abraham’s knowledge, or importance, or what he did. No outward mark qualified him as special. Rather Abraham’s ‘righteousness’ came from his relationship with God. His faith grew because God spoke with him, made a promise, and then Abraham saw that promise come about.
The principle of ‘all I know is’ for sharing your faith with others
‘All I know is’ takes the story of the man born blind recorded in John chapter 9. He didn’t know the answers to the Pharisees questions. All he knew was from his own experience: he was blind, and now he could see. At the end of the conversation with the Pharisees he ‘sees’ who Jesus is. His clarity of who Jesus is, is based on his experience and thinking about that experience. And he understands better than the Pharisee’s with all their learning and teaching.
We can apply this same approach to our faith sharing. We don’t need to know all the theological answers.
All the ministers I have ever known, including my college lecturers, didn’t know all the answers. But what we do all have is our experience of God. Whether that is an extensive experience, or just a small every day one.
I have had people tell me that they don’t have a remarkable story to tell about Jesus in their lives. Just a faithful experience of walking with him daily.
What if you feel your stories aren’t worth telling?
Don’t worry if you have what you think of as only a small story of Jesus in your life. Here are another couple of examples from the bible of what happens to insignificant (or insufficient) things in God’s hands.
One is the offering by the widow which was a small fraction of what the rich people were putting in (Luke chapter 21 vs 1-4). And the other is the boy with 5 small loaves and 2 small fish which fed a crowd (John 6 vs 9). In both cases all they had was ALL they had. They gave everything they had, even though it seemed little.
God can transform everything we give completely to him in amazing ways. So, the small stories which we think may be nothing can have a profound impact on someone else’s life.
The thing is, we have no idea which stories will connect. So, our responsibility is not to worry about which stories are the right stories. Instead, it is to look for opportunities to tell our stories and trust God for the rest.
Sharing your faith with others…
- You don’t need to say everything
- What you know comes from your experience: it is all you need to know to get started
- You don’t need to be a preacher or really clever to do this.