1. Listen First. Listening is sometimes challenging, especially when someone’s beliefs differ from ours. But listening is crucial to understanding where someone is in their faith. Only then can you know how to share your faith in a way that resonates with whom you are speaking. Plus, who doesn’t want to be listened to, heard, and understood? We all have this desire. Doing this for another is one of the most prized gifts you can give another.
Listening is a skill though and it takes time to fully develop. There are basics things to be reminded of to better help us listen: (1) Let the person finish speaking without interrupting the person; (2) Ask open-ended questions to encourage more sharing (questions starting with what, when, how, etc.); (3) Give the person your undivided attention; (4) respect their views no matter how much their views differ from yours; (5) make good eye contact; and (6) always be courteous.
2. Find Commonalities. After listening to another, share things about your faith and beliefs that seem in common to the other person’s faith or beliefs. Always be respectful when sharing these things though. Lead with words such as “believe” and “think” and avoid communicating in a way that does not allow for other beliefs.
For instance, say the Christian Faith holds the belief that Jesus is the Son of God instead of Jesus is the Son of God.
3. Show Kindness and Gestures of Thougtfulness. This goes without saying but impressing upon the importance of doing these things is worth repeating.
Showing kindness and gestures of thoughtfulness is one of the most effective ways to share your faith with another. Such as dropping off soup when a friend is sick or getting the door for someone or asking how someone is feeling goes a long way. Go out of your way to show others you value them—not just friends and family, but also acquaintances and strangers. You have no idea how much your kindness can impact someone’s day. Let your light shine!
4. Invite Them to Church or Another Faith-Based Event. Don’t be scared to invite who you are talking with to church or another faith-based event. You may want to invite the person to do something else first or even just exchange contact information. Use your judgment here.
If the person seems completely closed off to your faith maybe inviting them to doing a church or faith-based event may not be ideal. But the worse the person can say is no.
Be sure to create a welcoming environment if they go with you to church or another event. You can invite them to coffee beforehand or even offer to pick them up. If you want to bring another with you, make sure the person whom you originally invited is comfortable with that beforehand. It may be overwhelming enough for the first person you invited to try a new faith so bringing another could be too much. And always be kind and not pushy.
There you have it—four ways to talk to non-believers. Never forget, you are called to be the light of the world so shine bright so others can shine their light!
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