As Christians, we have been told to tell other people about Jesus (Matthew 28:18–20; Luke 4:18–19; Romans 10:14), but sometimes it can be straight-up weird. I’ll be the first to admit that I have definitely experienced that uncomfortable feeling when I’m talking about Jesus, especially when the other person isn’t necessarily picking up what I’m putting down.
So how do we talk about Jesus without making everyone around us want to go sit in a bathtub full of scissors rather than listen to us clumsily explain the gospel?
First, know the gospel! It’s hard to tell other people about something you don’t fully understand yourself. Here is the simplest explanation: All humans have sinned (Romans 3:23) and because of that sin, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23). However, Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross for our sins (Romans 5:8). Through his death, the payment for our sins has been made, and we are saved (Romans 10:9,13). And with our salvation comes peace (Romans 5:1), no condemnation for our sins (Romans 8:1), and eternal life with God (Romans 8:38–39). Boom goes the dynamite. There it is.
Also, we have to recognize that God, Jesus, and the gospel are worth sharing. Have you gone to school and immediately looked for one of your friends because there was something you just HAD to tell him or her? For example, “Dude, tell me you saw Steph Curry last night! He is playing out of his mind.” Or for girls, maybe it’s, “Becky, guess who I heard wants to ask you to prom? Can you believe that?” There are some things that just can’t wait to be told, and the gospel is one of those things.
The way we feel when there’s something on the tips of our tongues that we can’t wait to tell other people is exactly how we should feel about the gospel. “I have to tell you what I learned on Sunday.” or “You need to hear what happened this weekend at Vertical Reality.” Those are both great ways to introduce Jesus into a conversation. Our eagerness and excitement to share life-changing news can often overcome our anxiety and awkwardness.
Another thing that’s important to remember when sharing the gospel is that it’s personal. Don’t shy away from sharing how Jesus has affected your life. If you believe in him, then you have experienced the radical life change that comes with trusting in him. A great place to start is by simply explaining your experience. “I wasn’t so sure about the whole Jesus thing, but then “so and so” explained it like this . . .” or, “Everything changed for me when I fully understood how Jesus . . .”
The personal approach is great, especially when you’re talking to someone you care about. People who care about you will care about what’s important to you. It’s easy to talk about sports, school, music, TV, movies, and anything else that matters to us, right? If we’re eager to talk about things that are important to us, then we should be eager to talk about Jesus.
These are just some ideas to get you started. I know it’s not easy, and I know it can be difficult. Trust me. I’ve been there. However, when you feel the tension of how people might react when you tell them about Jesus, make it clear that you are sharing the gospel because you care about them. People may be standoffish toward religion or Jesus or whatever, but no one is going to fault you for caring.
Penn Jillette is a magician and a well-known atheist. He doesn’t agree with much of anything Christians have to say, but he offers an interesting explanation on how important it is for believers to tell other people about Jesus. Check out the video below and remember . . . it’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Show people you care about them by telling them about Jesus.