How to Talk to People about Jesus

Our most important mission is to talk to people about Jesus. But how? Where do we start? What if we feel inadequate?

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Mark 16:15 ESV

“Would you like me to tell you about Jesus?”

The man who had just buckled into the seat next to me cocked his head. He looked like he wasn’t sure what to say.

I tried again.

“Like, do you know how much God loves you? And how his son gave his life for you? And how God has a wonderful plan for your life? Do you want me to tell you about that?”

“Um…” the man finally said. “No.”

Looking back on this airplane encounter, I have to laugh. (And I hope you’ll laugh with me instead of being appalled by my evangelism technique.) The thing is, I was twenty-two years old, fresh out of college, and certain that everyone wanted to hear about Jesus and his life-changing love.

Today, some forty years later, I still believe people want to know Christ—and that God wants us to help facilitate that connection. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” Paul writes. “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:13-14 NLT)

How indeed? How can anyone hear about Jesus unless someone tells them?

We may know this in our heads. We may recognize the Great Commission, the passage where Jesus looks at his disciples—at all of us—and says, “Go.” (Matthew 28:18-10 ESV) And we want our family, our friends, and even strangers on the other side of the world to be saved.

And yet we balk.

We don’t feel equipped, or comfortable, doing “evangelism.” Shouldn’t that, we say to ourselves, be left to the professionals? To ministers? TV preachers? To folks who have that particular gift—or who at least those who don’t find talking about Jesus so awkward?

To borrow a line from my onetime seatmate, “Um…no.”

Tell Your Story

The Great Commission—the privilege of introducing people to Jesus—is for all of us. And while there are many different approaches to sharing the gospel, I find that one of the easiest and most natural ways to bring up the topic is to simply speak from your own experience. Tell what God has done for you.

We can take our cue from the psalmist, who felt compelled to talk about God’s deeds and his power to save “all day long” (Psalm 71:15 NIV). Or from the demon-possessed man Jesus healed, who “told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Luke 8:39 NIV) Or maybe we resonate with the Samaritan woman, the one Jesus met by the well. The sin and shame of her past was no match for the transformational power of Christ’s love. She couldn’t keep the news to herself—and as a result, many believed. (John 4:39 ESV)

All of us have a story.

And, like all God’s commands, telling our story—talking about Jesus and what he has done—comes with a blessing. Joy multiplies when our love for the Lord brims over and impacts the lives of our neighbors and friends. I love what Paul wrote to his friend Philemon:

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”

You have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Could there be a more encouraging benediction? Let’s ask God to give us the courage, the grace, and the words we need to share his love, that we too might refresh the hearts of his people.

In His Word

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV)

In Your Life

Think about your own salvation experience. Did someone talk about—or model—Christ’s love for you? What sparked your curiosity? What compelled you to trust God? Take a few moments to read the Samaritan woman’s story in John 4, and imagine yourself in her shoes. How would you tell your own story?

We Recommend

Read more about sharing your faith (plus how to pray about thirty other topics, from relationship needs to finding freedom from worry and fear) in Praying the Scriptures for Your Life: 31 Days of Abiding in the Presence, Provision, and Power of God. With short, easy-to-read chapters, this devotional book invites you to read, reflect, and respond as you trust God with every area of your life.

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