After I gave my life to Jesus during one amazing week in Sydney, Australia, I didn’t have any words to describe what had happened. I was a young adult and on my own at the time, so there wasn’t a pastor or evangelist or family member nearby to help me process what had just happened. I just couldn’t explain the newfound peace and joy and freedom I felt. All I knew was that I needed to stop running away from God and needed to start running towards Him.
So I quietly went to church and started reading the Bible and kept learning more about Jesus. I also spent time with other Christians. Even if I did have words for what was going on inside of me, I still probably wouldn’t have rushed to talk about it.
Growing up and even as a working journalist, I knew it was taboo to talk about certain topics including your faith. A person’s faith was a private matter. So naturally when I dedicated my life to God, I kept that decision to myself. As a typical introverted person (another idea I didn’t have words for back then), I needed time to ponder and process my thoughts and feelings and to reflect and pray and learn what my life should look like as a follower of Christ.
So how did this introverted and private gal go from not telling anyone about her faith to praying for strangers on the sidewalk and sharing the gospel on street corners and subway stations? Going on short-term missions trips to Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Honduras, and Peru, and being a prayer counselor at a Billy Graham Crusade and Luis Palau Festival? How did I end up speaking to a group of Christians working at the United Nations and leading evangelism outreaches on the streets of New York City?
I didn’t plan on talking to anyone about my faith (or eventually writing and speaking about God and being a Bible school instructor). But I couldn’t keep the good news about Jesus to myself. When I started to casually tell a few people about what I was learning and started inviting them to church, I didn’t even know there was a name for what I was doing (evangelism). I thought evangelists were famous preachers on TV who spoke to multitudes. As an introvert, that certainly wasn’t my goal.
I just wanted people to discover the joy and peace that I had found in Christ. I wanted to tell them the truth that God loves them and that Jesus’s death and resurrection has reconciled us with Him. If you’re anything like me, or maybe you’ve only recently begun to follow Jesus, I understand if you’re a little shy or hesitant about sharing your faith with others. Fear not. I’ve been there too.
If you dread public speaking, no worries. You don’t have to stand on a street corner and shout at people. You don’t have to be a social butterfly (much love to you extroverts). You can be a fellow introvert and share your faith with others.
As introverts, many of us thrive at having deep one-on-one conversations. We can reach people that might never be reached in a crowd. Please note though—if God calls you to speak to crowds, we introverts can excel there too. We might just need lots of rest afterwards.
God created us with our unique personalities. God can use each one of us, right where we are, to share the hope-filled truth about Jesus. People are hurting, discouraged, and scared. People around you have probably noticed a change in you. They’re probably wondering how you handled that challenge or crisis. They may have lots of questions for you.
Why not share some answers with them?
We’re called to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give a reason for our hope and to do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). So how can you start sharing your faith? I’d like to share three keys that have helped me. I hope they encourage you.
Intercede before you proceed
If you’ve been around other Christians, you might have heard the saying, “Before you talk to people about God, talk to God about people.” Praying for a person helps you prepare to talk to them about Jesus. When I learned that it was important to share my faith with others, I prayed and asked God to show me who to speak to and to give me the right words to say.
It can be daunting to talk about your faith, but as you pray certain people will come to mind.
Pray for that family member, coworker, neighbor, or gym buddy who is going through a hard time. Pray that God will give you the right opportunity and the right words to share the hope that can only be found in Jesus. God is already working in their lives. Pray about how you can have a meaningful conversation with them about God.
Interact and engage
As you’re praying, look for opportunities to talk and spend time with the person (or people) you’ve been praying for. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. For me, I casually shared my God story while having lunch with a friend, or during phone conversations. We would talk about various topics, including how my relationship with God was changing my life.
If they sounded interested in learning more about God, I would buy them a study Bible or Christian book or would send them links to Christian songs. Keep it simple. You don’t have to preach a sermon. Just be a friend. Ask them about their faith and what they believe. Listen to understand and not to argue. It’s the love of God that draws people to Him. It’s the Holy Spirit who touches their heart and will change their thoughts and attitudes.
Spend time with that person. Find ways to serve that person. Send them an encouraging text or note or a Bible verse. Let them see how you handle the stress and strain of your own life, and then be ready to answer their questions or to pray for them.
Invite and include
If you’re still not comfortable with sharing your faith just yet, you can still invite that person to service, a church activity, or to a Christian event. Or you could invite them to dinner or to your next small group meeting.
When I first started talking about Jesus with family and friends, I would invite them to church or to evangelistic events. I would also ask if I could pray for them. With time, I would invite some to make a decision to follow Christ.
Some went on to receive Jesus or started going to church. I’ve had lovely conversations with others and have been able to pray with them through tough times. Everyone is different and some of your friends or family will need more time than others to open up and talk about their faith, so be patient. Keep praying and see what’s the best way to intercede, interact, and invite those people in your life to learn more about Jesus.
Sharing your faith may feel uncomfortable or nerve-wracking at first, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Introvert or not, if you ate at a fantastic restaurant or read a phenomenal book, wouldn’t you tell your friends about it? You wouldn’t be worried about being annoying or imposing your opinions on them. You’re just telling them about this wonderful discovery you’ve made.
If a friend or coworker said they have a headache, you’d probably tell them what’s worked for you or might even suggest they see a doctor. You’d do so out of love and concern. Not to be pushy or demanding.
Telling people about Jesus can be like talking to someone about your best friend or significant other. In an even greater way, let’s tell others about our Wonderful Counselor, Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Provider, and Friend, Jesus.
For example, if someone asks you how you’ve been able to handle that obstacle you’ve been facing or how you can be so optimistic at a time like this, kindly tell them that you’ve found strength or hope or courage or joy by praying to Jesus or by reading His words and teachings in the Bible.
If the person seems interested in hearing more, then perhaps share a Bible verse or story that has encouraged you or share why you’ve turned to Jesus for help.
If the person seems tense or is unwilling to listen, that’s ok. Let them know you’re happy to tell them about Jesus at another time and move on to another topic.
Sharing the hope of Jesus can become more natural when we remember it’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus. We don’t have to use fancy words or have the whole Bible memorized. Sure, you could take evangelism classes and get trained, as I eventually did, but you don’t need that to get started.
As the old saying goes, sharing the gospel is like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. The man born blind, whom Jesus healed, didn’t have a long explanation about what had happened to him. He just shared the impact Jesus had on him: “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25b NIV).
So what difference has Jesus made in your life? Don’t be afraid to share parts of your story. It can be as simple as saying something like, “I once was like this, but Jesus rescued me and now I live for Him. Jesus can help you too. Can I tell you about my friend who gave me hope?” In a world that’s full of pain, sometimes hope is the only invitation a person needs.