How Do We Share Our Faith With Our Friends?

How Do We Share Our Faith With Our Friends? July 28, 2023

How do we share our faith with our friends?
How do we proclaim & live out the gospel within friendship?
Photo by fauxels:


We’re coming up on International Friendship Day. How does our faith impact our friendships? How do we share our faith with our friends? How do we proclaim and live out the gospel within friendships? 

After spending my teenage years and so much of the first half of my adult life in evangelical churches, it’s taken me a long time to settle into some ideas about sharing the gospel with my friends. 

For a time, back when I was in my early 20s, I was friends with people essentially like myself. We mostly looked alike and believed the same things. We’d met at a Christian college or in church or at a women’s Bible study. Notice a theme?

After I had my second child, I realized that I didn’t really know or regularly interact with anyone who did not share my beliefs about God. At that time, for me, the question was not how to share my faith with my friends. The question was – why are all my friends exactly the same? 

You see, I lived in an echo chamber. The good part was that I felt extremely validated in my ideas. Surrounded predominately by people who agreed with me, how could I not? The bad part – as I saw it at the time – was that I couldn’t very well share the gospel if I never interacted with anybody who didn’t already believe the gospel. 

Now, of course, I realize that there are many bad parts to having only friends who are just like you. For one thing, it’s boring. Further, we don’t learn or grow if we only hear our own ideas echoed back to us. Anyway, back then I was just wondering who I was supposed to tell about Jesus if everyone in my circle already knew about Jesus. 

Gradually, my circle expanded. My collection of acquaintances and friends became more diverse again, much as it had been when I was growing up in public school.

Then the question resurfaced:  how would I share my faith with my friends? 

As an evangelical Christian, I knew my responsibility to fulfill The Great Commission. But I wrestled with the most effective and loving way to do so. I’d known plenty of Christians who offensively shared their faith, preaching at everyone they encountered. To be honest, I’m sure I’d been that Christian before, and I didn’t want that to be my M.O.

When one of my daughters was a preschooler, she would walk right up to someone and ask, “Do you love Jesus?” Though she was indisputably adorable, her tactic led to some awkward moments. Clearly, that would not be my strategy. 

Little by little, I figured out loving ways of sharing my faith by learning from respected mentors and by observing the train wrecks of evangelism that pushed people away from God. 

Over the years, my understanding and perspective about sharing my faith have shifted somewhat. Though I still believe God has created and called me to be light in this world, my ideas about what that specifically means have changed a bit. 

So how do I share my faith with my friends? How do I proclaim the good news of Jesus to others? 

I share my faith by loving God and loving my neighbor.

At least, that’s what I try to do. Obviously, I screw it up in a million ways. But I try to be guided by love.

When I am trying to figure out what a passage of scripture means, I ask what the most loving interpretation is. What will most likely lead to a love of God and a love of my neighbor?

When I am deciding how to vote or how to think about a social or political issue, I ask what position is the most loving? What looks and feels most like love for my neighbor? 

In John’s gospel, Jesus is recorded as saying, “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” That’s where that 1960s hymn came from:  “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”

If I can love God and love other people, my friends will feel the loving effects of my faith. 

I share my faith by doing good whenever I can.

The disciple Matthew, just after recording the Sermon on the Mount, told of Jesus’ teaching about being salt and light: 

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Jesus said that when people see us doing good, it gives glory to God. So I try to do good when I see the opportunity. 

If I can do good whenever I have the chance, my friends will see my faith in action.

I share my faith whenever someone asks me about it.

In his first letter, the Apostle Peter advised early Christians to always be ready to give an answer if someone asks about the hope within them. I assume this means that followers of Jesus will live with such overt hopefulness that observers will become curious.

Peter went on to remind his readers to give this answer with gentleness and respect, maintaining a good conscience. He proceeded to differentiate between suffering for doing good and suffering for doing evil. Within this context, we can surmise that “defending” one’s faith in ways that are not gentle and respectful would bring about a suffering for doing evil, rather than a suffering for doing good. 

If I live with a hopefulness that arouses curiosity, I will have the opportunity to gently and respectfully talk to my friends about the Jesus who is the source of my hope.

I share my faith by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

Again, I certainly mess it up plenty often. I don’t always bear the fruit of God’s Spirit. Sometimes, I bear the fruit of being hangry or tired or just plain selfish. Sometimes, I bear the fruit of Y’all are on my ever-lovin’ last nerve. 

But every day, I do ask God to help me be filled and overflowing with the fruit of God’s Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

That is the sort of fruit that attracts people, that appeals to people. Like any refreshing snack, that’s the sort of fruit that makes people want to know where it came from and how they can have more.

If I overflow with things like joy and peace and patience and goodness, my friends will be drawn to the faith that produces that fruit. 

I share my faith by being a real friend.

Nobody wants to be a project. Nobody wants to be the target of some Christian’s missionary-friendship endeavors. That sort of friendship feels as shallow as it really is.

Every now and then, someone I haven’t spoken to in years hits me up on Facebook Messenger to tell me about the amazing skincare products they are selling or the miraculous vitamins that have changed their lives. Each time this happens, it feels gross. It’s obvious this person doesn’t really want to reconnect; they just want to sell me something.

That’s how it feels when Christians target people to evangelize. Those targets can see right through the start of the sales pitch; they know we’re trying to sell them Jesus. 

This may sound controversial to evangelicals, but I do not strike up friendships with the intent to evangelize. If I am friends with someone, it’s because I want to be friends with them. I like them. I want to spend time with them. Or -if our schedules won’t allow that, as is often the case, I want to send them snarky text messages or hilarious TikToks or just the right gif.

Then, as we talk about life, I talk about my faith. Because if we love Jesus and live by faith in God, then it’s nearly impossible to talk about life without talking about our faith.

If I am an authentic, genuine friend, then sharing my faith with my friends comes naturally.

When we have a diverse group of friends, we learn from each other. It isn’t so much how we share our faith with our friends. It’s how we are genuine, legitimate friends who transparently share our lives with each other.

Maybe the right question is – how do we overflow Jesus within our friendships?

The gospel begins with the good news of Jesus’ extravagant love. When we live out that love, along with the hope and joy and goodness that are part of Jesus’ character, then we are sharing our faith with our friends. And we’re being a good friend to boot! 

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