We’ve all had the moment where we want everyone to know about our church or our faith … but we feel that inner voice telling us, “Don’t be THAT guy.” You know, that guy with the Bible verse for everything, or the woman that spontaneously prays out loud and freaks people out. How do you connect your friends to your faith?
1. Go to God on behalf of your coworkers–not vice versa.
We’ve all known the person who comes to us and tells us what God told them we are supposed to do differently in our life. “God told me to tell you to not apply for that position,” or, “God wants you to stop playing that secular music so loud at the office.” When we do that to people they wonder, “Why does God talk to you and not to me?” Take time each day to pray for your coworkers … and then look for opportunities to ask how you can pray for them. For instance, if a coworker is going through a tough time, ask them, “When I pray tonight, mind if I pray for you?” I’ve never met anyone who has said NO. When they say, “Sure,” then ask, “How can I pray for you specifically?” This will make them think of their faith more than perhaps they ever had. Then … a few days later … ask them how it’s going. Continue praying for them.
2. Demonstrate kindness.
The only new command Jesus gave us was to love others as he loved us. This can be demonstrated in so many other ways aside from telling someone how they need to start going to church with you. Start by bringing them their favorite coffee drink in the morning. Invite them to lunch. Offer to help them with a project at the office. Give them credit for the work they do. The Apostle Paul said, “It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.” So, start with kindness.
3. Ask questions rather than give facts.
One of the tactics I’d use in high school was to debate the science teacher about evolution. Or when kids would say, “Oh my God!” I’d say, “He’s my God too.” Guess what … no one ever said, “Good point. How can I become a Christian like you!” Many of us are armed with all of our apologetics and reasons for our faith (which we need), but it’s not necessary to lead with that. When someone makes a comment about our church attendance or maybe their own confusion about God … ask them, “Why?” For instance, if someone says, “I don’t believe the Bible,” instead of debating, just ask, “Why is that?” Most of us would be amazed that when we hear people’s reason for why they don’t believe what we do … we often understand why they wouldn’t. Perhaps they had a horrible experience at church. Maybe they were betrayed by a believer and it tainted their thoughts about God. The other reality is that most people don’t know WHY they believe what they believe, they just believe it. So ask them, “Why?” And then follow up with another question. And then another. Then let them wrestle with it. No need to debate. Just listen. Most have never had anyone care.
4. Share your story.
Then when its time to talk about your faith … when they finally look at you and want to know more … or when you sense the time is right … just tell your story. Most people are more interested in the story of your faith than the facts of your faith. Just like when Jesus healed a blind man and he had to explain it to the religious leaders … the blind man simply said, “I don’t know all the facts, but here’s my story – I was blind, now I see.” For us, its here’s who I was … here’s who I am. Don’t worry if it’s not a story that is movie worthy, just make sure it’s real. No one can argue with your story.
5. Invite to a website before a service.
With the option many churches give for online services, it’s often what people view before they ever enter a church building. So forward them a service that might help them with what they are dealing with. Pass along a website of your church and let them check it out. For instance, if they are going through a rough time in their marriage, send them the last series your church did on marriage. With our church I’m finding people’s progression is to see something on social media, then watch a message, then watch an entire service online, then show up at a physical church campus later. Often this process takes months, maybe years. So use the website as a great way to plant seeds.
We often think the way to help someone find Jesus is to overwhelm them with books, data, and invitations. Remember, people are not on a truth quest, they are on a hope quest. So give them hope. Share your story. Share messages. Pray often. And always lead with kindness. You’ll be amazed how God will use that!
Praying for you!