When you believe something with all your heart, it’s a natural instinct to want to share it with others. There are ways to do this without being offensive and overbearing. No one wants to listen to someone who appears to be shoving their religion onto others. Here are some ways to help you share your faith without being obnoxious.
1. Live what you believe
Do your best to live your life in harmony with your religious beliefs. People who profess one thing and live another will do nothing more than preach a profound sermon against their religion. If you want others to be attracted to your Christian faith show them how a dedicated Christian lives. The same applies if you are of the Jewish faith or any other religion. Live what you believe. A good example is the most enticing sermon you’ll ever deliver.
2. Be respectful and genuinely interested in them
As you treat others with respect regarding their own religious beliefs, you will have greater success. If you are genuinely interested in them and what’s happening in their lives, they will respond to your reaching out to them. Inquire about their jobs and their hobbies. Find out what they enjoy doing and share what you enjoy doing, as well. In essence, engage in friendly conversation about their lives before you ever get into the religious aspect of it. Remember the old adage, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” Care about people, whether they are strangers on a subway or already friends.
It’s easy to judge another by their appearance. You may think a person is not a candidate for being interested in knowing about your faith. The Bible teaches us that “… the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Be open to share with whomever God leads you to.
3. Engage people in conversations about their family
Most people enjoy talking about their families. Ask if they have children, and find out what their kids enjoy doing. Tell about your own children. Have fun interchanging parenting ideas. If you have a picture of your family in your iPad or wallet — show it. Ask if they have one. Enjoy sharing each other’s family traditions, including religious ones. If they start sharing heartaches relating to their family, just listen and validate their concern. It feels good to unload on a listening ear. That can often open the way to a discussion on faith and how God has helped you through your struggles. It may well be the very lift they need at that moment.
A writer from the Website “Relevant” made this insightful statement: “As you talk about God and faith, resist the temptation to try and move people anywhere. That’s God’s job.” Share your beliefs on a certain issue without preaching about it. Just state what you believe. When it’s brief and simple, it gives them more of a desire to actually think about it without being overwhelmed.
4. Ask questions that will lead them to ask you questions
As you engage further in a conversation with someone, ask them questions that will stimulate their thinking about religious matters. New York Times bestselling author Clayton Christensen said, “If someone asks me something about [my] church, I don’t tell him what I want him to know. Rather, I ask, ‘Do you have any questions about religious issues that you’ve been wondering about or that you haven’t been able to get good answers to?’ It turns out there are a lot of people with questions. Most of them have given up on churches as a source of answers. As a consequence, even though they’re interested in important questions, we categorize them as not interested in religion.” (The Power of Everyday Missionaries, by Clayton Christensen, p. 29-30)
Respond to questions people have concerning religion in general. Ask them if they have any questions regarding your religion, as expressed above. This opens the door to discuss what they are interested in. It’s a gentle and caring way to share your beliefs. If they want to know more than you can explain, ask if they’d like to talk with missionaries or a religious leader from your church. Be kind and caring whether they welcome more information or not. That’s living your religion.
5. Learn something from them
You don’t need to have all the answers. Ask them what they know and understand about God and faith. If they share a story of how they have been blessed by God, express appreciation for their sharing it. Letting them be right, too, is a powerful opener for equal sharing of beliefs. That will lead to understanding and fellowship. Your appreciation for them and the things they hold sacred will open a door to further discussions. Mutually shared faith can build both parties when done in the spirit of love and caring.
In all your sharing, pray for guidance. As you deliver God’s message, it’s a good idea to have Him in on the delivery.