Jesus never said evangelism would be easy. But he did say it was important. Clio Turner shares her tips on how every Christian can better love, care for and pray for their friends who don’t yet know God


Source: Lyndon Stratford / Alamy Stock Photo

We all know that the Church should live and breathe evangelism. Our DNA is in the great commission. But while Jesus’ final words about going into all the world and preaching the gospel (Matthew 28:19) might stir and inspire us on a Sunday morning, if we are honest, most of us feel rather squirmy and inadequate when it comes to actually pulling our finger out and telling others about Jesus.

So here are a few tips that might help. They are not the answer. Jesus knows that its blummin’ hard; the Bible cheerfully tells us that “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16) and “the god of this age has blinded the eyes of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But the following principles really can increase our confidence and unblock us if we are frozen by a sense of inadequacy and shame that we don’t share our faith more:

1. Lean in to Jesus. He’s the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He’s committed to finishing the good work he started in us (Philippians 1:6). Dependence upon him will always be worth a million times more than any life hacks from an internet article.

Billy Graham used to say that we should talk to Jesus about our friends more than we talk to our friends about Jesus. So, pray. Pray, pray, pray, pray PRAY! Ask God for strategies as to how to reach your friends.

2. Play the long game. Stay committed to people for months and years, not just days and weeks. Show people that you care and then keep on caring for them when times are hard or when friendship isn’t convenient or easy (and when people aren’t always nice).

I’m still praying for the best friend I made when I was three. I haven’t seen her for 35 years, but I still pray for her because I still care! The Bible says that my prayers are mighty and effective at pulling down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10). 

Once, I prayed for another friend for more than 15 years without seeing or hearing from her. We’d lost all contact, but I still cared for her and so I still prayed. She ended up moving right next door to me in the West End of London, although we’d originally met on the other side of the country. Only God can bring that about. We were able to pick up a lively, God conversation and I was able to pray with her several times before we moved apart again. She hasn’t come to know the Lord yet, but I’m not discouraged. I’m playing the long game and the God who brought my friend from one end of the country to the other, just so that I could talk to her about him, is still on her case!

3. Be bold. In our society we shy away from being confrontational with people or even going deep. I’m ‘affirmation biased’. I like encouraging people and affirming the good. I find it much harder to challenge or to correct. But as a lady from Barbados I knew used to say, “Sometimes there just ain’t no polite way of telling someone that they’re a sinner!”

Once we have earned the right to speak into people’s lives, we must pray for opportunities to highlight their need of a saviour. Keep loving, keep listening and God will show you when to speak and what to say.

4. Don’t give up. Most of us give up before we’ve even started because our faltering attempts to share our faith do not lead to instant conversions. Jesus never said that it would be easy but that it was important. Let’s move the goalposts. Try to see having a go at sharing the Good News as success itself. Just attempting to connect people in this broken, hurting world with the saviour is a brave and courageous thing to do. 

Don’t be put off by people’s apparent indifference or society’s sophisticated barriers. Inside each human being is a person longing to be loved and only God can adequately fill that void. People who don’t claim to be spiritual are often secretly really keen to know what God is like. The revelation that God is on their side and is for them, not against them, really is the healing that their lives are screaming for. We just have to continually seek God for ways of presenting his truth, so that people can see that it meets their felt need.

5. Realign the battle. When we share our faith, we are fighting principalities and powers, not people (Ephesians 6:12).

The real person made in the image of God wants to be free and needs to know their saviour. We are fighting on their behalf, not against them. And one day, many of them will thank us for it!