Training people to share their faith is a key part of discipleship. As I’ve trained others over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Once people learn to share the Gospel, they often forget how to act normally when talking about Jesus. Sadly, it’s almost as if the training itself displaces their naturalness. Their voices can take on a compulsory tone. Instead of being conversational, they can come across as mechanical and preachy. When this occurs, people sense it immediately and put up their guard. We need to teach those we disciple to speak about Jesus with the same ease they speak about a friend. Normal conversation is fluid and respectful, and it allows for humor.
It also invites response. Listeners want the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. It’s too easy for evangelism to become a monologue when it should be a dialogue. Remember the words of Peter as you help others talk naturally about Jesus: “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ” (1 Peter 3:15,16).