Reviews and recommendations – they’re a huge part of how our culture operates. Most of us are quick to share our thoughts about everyday things: films, music, food. And from siblings to celebrities, we find it easy to talk about all kinds of people with our most trusted connections, if not the whole world!
But talking about Jesus can feel different.
It can be so much harder to open up about who Jesus is to us and how our relationship with God shapes our lives. It’s personal. It feels awkward to be specific and spiritual when we feel alone in that space. And maybe we feel like we just won’t “get it right”.
At almost 35, after following Jesus for decades, I’m still finding my voice. But my confidence is growing, and I’ve learnt a few lessons along the way. So, here are my four top tips on how to talk about faith with your friends:
- You Do You
We all have different gifts, passions and concerns – it’s the tapestry of humanity, our messy threads weaving together into a beautiful big picture. The way you express what God means to YOU won’t be the same as me, or anyone else. But together our differing stories and perspectives show a big and beautiful picture of all that God is doing.
Look at the gospels in the Bible: four narrative books about Jesus, all resonating in different ways.
One size does not fit all. Inspiration is healthy – it’s great to see someone be amazing at communicating who Jesus is and want to follow that. Or to be encouraged by practical tips that make everything less scary. But your authenticity counts. If it’s not you, don’t do it.
- Don’t Filter Your Story
It can be tempting to think we can only speak about the parts of faith that we feel we have figured out. But if we wait until we have all the answers, we’ll never join the conversation.
Even Paul – who wrote half the New Testament – said that in this lifetime ‘we see imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror’ (1 Corinthians 13:12).
There will always be things we’re trying to figure out. It’s OK to admit that. If someone asks a difficult question that you honestly can’t answer, say you don’t know what you think. Ask them what they think – you could learn something.
Our struggles, doubts and insecurities are as much a part of our faith story as the moments when we’re seeing and feeling Jesus more clearly than we could ever have hoped. Some of the best conversations start when we’re brave enough to talk about all the ways we don’t fully understand who God is and what that means for our lives and world.
If you want a bit more inspiration on owning your story, check out this video on our Youtube channel.
- Don’t Try to Control the Conversation
Jesus called us witnesses. Think of a courtroom drama. We take the stand and present our evidence as truthfully as we can. That’s all. God isn’t a product that we have to push, or a complicated equation that we have to prove.
It’s not our place to tell other people what to think about the things we say and the way we live – we’re not the judge or jury. Their thoughts and responses are personal – entirely down to each individual, and ultimately only between them and God.
We might find people who don’t agree with us. We might feel forced to pause and rethink. But, you know what? That’s allowed.
We’re just people, with experiences, inviting other people into a conversation – a space where the Spirit can speak to and through us. What happens next is not our business. There’s a whole new freedom that comes when we give up our attempts to know and control all the outcomes.
- Embrace the Journey
Our life with Jesus is an ongoing adventure – a journey of discovery that has the potential to fill every aspect of our lives with courageous, wild, freewheeling abundance. It’s challenging. It’s exciting. It’s confusing and freeing and basically impossible to sum up.
In your faith, you will change and grow and re-think the way you talk about things along the way. So, just keep going!
Keep leaning into your own journey, let your life BE the story – the ways you’re finding Jesus relevant, essential, and life-changing. Because if it’s real for you, then your “witness” will take care of itself.
It will overflow – inevitably.