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How Not to Irritate People While Trying to Share Your Faith

Photo is courtesy of http://www.jeweledsteel.com/ with permission.Those of you who know me well know I didn’t grow up in church. I mean, I went, occasionally. I went to church camp with a friend once. It was okay. Nothing really moved me. The worst part was, I always felt like an outsider.

It seemed that all the other kids knew more Bible stories and verses, and knew the customs of the church. This left me feeling sort of dumb and secretly embarrassed.

This didn’t keep me from going to church when I was invited, but it did keep me from feeling like I would ever be a part of the church. I always imagined myself on the outside looking in, and at least three steps behind everyone else.

I have been pretty involved in my church for about 5 years. I volunteer in some pretty “churchy” roles. But I still use my Table of Contents in my Bible when I am looking things up…even though I have been a small group leader for over 3 years and I am in Seminary. This leads me to my point,

As church-goers, we need to be sensitive to others’ background and their immersion (or lack of) in “churchy” matters and lingo.

Here are some words or phrases that you should use carefully around new Christians or non-believers:

  • Testimony – To a non-church person, this might sound like what we tell the cops or a judge, not something positive or encouraging. Even when we kind of know what it means, we may not know how it is used. It might better to say, “Can I tell you a little about me and how having God in my life has changed everything?”
  • Born Again – Most adults know what this means, but not all. And when you were speaking with children and teens who do not attend church weekly, they might not have a clue.  When I was around 11, a lady told me she was”born again.” I was pretty sure her mom didn’t birth her twice, but I still had no idea what she meant. It might be better to say, “I have given my life to Christ, I am alive in Him. I have chosen to follow Him because He is my Savior.”
  • Sold Out – It took me the longest time to realize this was a good thing. “Sold out” in the music world means you traded your integrity for money or gain, or you commercialized your art. But being sold out for Christ is exactly what you want because it means you have come to an end of yourself and that you are all in for Christ. It might be better to say, “I am a follower of Christ, and I am all in.”
  • You Should… – Telling people how to lives their lives is a great way to end the conversation fast. We have to earn the right to speak into others’ lives.

Remember, there are no shortcuts in being a Christian, and no quick wins to leading people to Christ. It takes genuine relationships centered on love for others and love for our Father. Taking the time to really explain your faith to others, while listening to their story is key.

But we must also watch for the non-verbal cues like silence, or blank stares or confusing looks that could mean,  tell me more, I am all ears.

For more tips on sharing your faith, check out http://www.gcomchurch.com/tongue-tied-series


Kris Wolfe
Kris Wolfehttp://www.morningglorydevo.com/
Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. Kris is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement. Kris also writes lessons for small group purposes for churches and is a small group coach.  Kris has a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University and Seminary and is a listed TN Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator. Kris covers topics such as dating, marriage, parenting, divorce, post-divorce recovery, and the blended family. Read more from Kris Wolfe at MorningGloryDevo.com or follow on Twitter @MrsKrisWolfe

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