When it comes to sharing our faith, the hardest part is getting started. Salvation, eternal life, Jesus — they’re not exactly everyday conversation topics. It’s no wonder that many of us aren’t confident about bringing them up with friends, colleagues, or new acquaintances.

Instead of worrying about how to have the “big talk,” focus on small talk. Casual conversation is often all you need to get a person moving closer to Jesus. When someone is just starting out on their spiritual journey, the first step is to trust a Christian. There’s an obvious requirement here: they need to know you’re a Christian before they can trust you as one.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl (Matthew 5:14-15).

“Hello, my name is Bill and I’m a Christian,” is probably not the way to go. The key is to just be yourself and not to edit God out of your small talk. When your colleague asks you about your weekend, you could mention the great spiritual retreat you went on with your church. When it’s the night before a big exam and your classmate groans, “How can you be so calm?” You could say, “I’m praying a lot.” You’ll be surprised at how often your faith will flow naturally into the conversation when you choose to make it known.

Do you really need to use words? It’s tempting to think, If I’m living for Jesus, people will notice and ask what’s different about me. If that happens, that’s awesome! But let’s be honest — the world isn’t divided into “wonderful Christians” and “everyone else.” There are a lot of really kind, stand-up people who are Buddhists or Muslims or atheists. Most people won’t know where your love and joy come from unless you tell them.

Sometimes your hints will go somewhere, and sometimes they won’t. If your friend changes the subject as soon as you mention anything spiritual, don’t push it. The important thing is that you’ve given them a little window into who you really are and who you believe in. As you keep building trust, your small talk will most likely turn into “big talk.” When that happens, remember the Holy Spirit is with you and will guide you in what to say next.

updated September 2019

Photo Credit: Bill Green