Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out is a book I wish someone had handed me early in my walk with Jesus. I came to Christ as an adult after over a decade of skepticism of all things religious, and it became clear to me early on in my walk with Christ that part of following him was sharing my faith with others. The thing with evangelism is that though all Christians are called to share their faith, not every Christian has the calling of an evangelist. Forget standing on a street corner and proclaiming the good news of Christ, most of us aren’t even comfortable having a spiritual conversation with a coworker at lunch. So, if you’re a natural evangelist, the church thanks you because the church needs you! But, as I said, Christ calls all of his people—not just pastors and missionaries—to be disciple-makers and witnesses of his goodness and salvation—no exceptions. D. Scott Hildreth and Steven A. McKinion have written a book for the rest of us, who “freak out” when we think about sharing our faith.
What they lay out can best be described as “lifestyle evangelism,” and it’s so common-sense-based, you almost ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of this?” Yet, I think so many of us have been thinking of evangelism in such a narrow way we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t do it. We think that if every conversation doesn’t end with us calling the person to repentance and faith (with complementary Bible verses), we’re not doing evangelism right.
To start, one way to open the door to sharing your faith is to live as Christ calls us to live, which includes caring for people and letting those relationships bloom and lead to conversations—conversations which will allow you to share your faith naturally. Instead of worrying about how to answer every objection, instead focus on simply explaining the big story of the Bible and making sure the person understands it. I even once said to someone, “Listen, I know you don’t believe in it, but I just want to make sure you understand what the Bible teaches and what I believe.” Your goal isn’t to win a debate, but to tell the story of the Bible. Again, this happens best in dialogues—not monologues—in relationships.
The authors remind us that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit; we don’t convert anyone, but we’re called to be faithful. Our role is to “(1) retell the story of the gospel clearly, accurately, and convincingly; (2) try to eliminate any roadblocks or stumbling blocks from their minds that may keep them from understanding what Christ did for them; and (3) bring questions to their minds that show their need for a savior.” (I highly recommend the book Tactics by Greg Koukl, which compliments this book beautifully. If I were to teach an evangelism class, these would be the two main books I would use.)
Hildreth and McKinion’s book could easily be re-named, Don’t Be Scared: It’s Only Evangelism. I’ve been in ministry full-time a few years now, and I’m still not a natural evangelist. It takes effort and intentionality for me. There are certainly times when the Holy Spirit is already working on someone and that person is ready to receive the gospel as soon as they hear it proclaimed. But my experience has been that the most fruitful gospel encounters have taken place in the context of conversations between friends. Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out is a welcomed guide for those of us who don’t want to come across as salesmen making a pitch, but instead as lovers of Christ sharing Christ in love.
Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out by D. Scott Hildreth and Steven A. McKinion
*B&H Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book for review.