First time here? Find my introductory post to member missionary work here.
Okay, we’ve all felt it. Sharing the gospel is scary! This is the most important thing to you and rejection hurts. Even more so, you don’t want to ruin a relationship or come off as weird. But at the same time, you feel like you should share the good news! So here to help are five starting points when sharing the gospel is uncomfortable.
1. Talk to Strangers
Missionary work takes some extraversion, so those of us who are introverts will find it especially uncomfortable. One of the first places to start is talking to strangers. It isn’t always natural — after all, when was the last time you made conversation with your cashier, bus mate, or the person next to you in line?
Get out of your comfort zone a little by just opening your mouth. Try a simple, “Hello,” when you pass someone on the street. You can make a goal to compliment five people a day. Go a whole day replacing bland questions like “How are you?” with “Busy day at work?” or “Did you learn anything interesting at school?”
I’m not asking you to distribute pass along cards; just get comfortable conversing.
2. Ask Better Questions
The gospel meets people at their core. For anyone to accept Christ, they are going to have to open up. All it takes is better questions.
Every person and situation will have different needs, and that’s where you and God will need to work together. But here are some simple questions to help others open up:
- “Oh really? Are you close with your dad?”
- “You sound pretty busy — what’s the hardest part about all of that?”
- “Sorry you’re tired! Has something been keeping you up?”
- “Did you have a church growing up?”
- “What’s on your mind these days?”
As an example, the missionaries in my area invited me to share a general conference talk with a friend. I had a friend in mind, but we had never had a significantly meaningful conversation. I prayed for an opportunity to get to know her better.
A few days later, our kids were at the park together and she mentioned that her sister was coming into town. I said, “Nice! Are you close with your sister?” to which she responded, “Well, we got a lot closer after my mom died and my dad left the picture.” One simple question taught me how to be a better friend.
3. Practice Inviting
Church aside, inviting anyone to do anything is nerve racking. I stay in bed for a week when someone turns me down for a lunch date. So if you are looking for a starting point, just practice extending invitations and getting comfortable with rejection.
When someone rejects your invitation, try not to take it personally. As you shift your mindset around “no’s,” you will develop the courage necessary to invite others to “come unto Christ.”
4. Use Gospel-Related Words
I don’t believe in the “wait for your friends to ask questions” approach to sharing the gospel because it’s a little too passive for me. But there’s nothing wrong with opening the door. By actively using gospel-related words in conversation, you are opening the door if your friends want to know more.
For example, every Monday the number one question at work is going to be, “What did you do this weekend?” Church is so routine that we typically leave it out. What if instead we said, “I went rock climbing on Saturday, and on Sunday I taught the 9-year-olds at church about forgiveness.”
The other day I was babysitting for a friend while she went to the temple. At the park, another friend came up to me and asked whose child I was with. I responded “I’m just babysitting for a friend.” How I wish I would have opened the door by simply adding, “I’m babysitting for my friend who went to the temple.”
5. Practice Explaining Your Beliefs
Sharing the gospel can be uncomfortable because we are afraid we will say the wrong thing. What if we say something offensive, confusing, or weird? The gospel is simple, but sometimes explaining it isn’t.
Find ways to practice stating your beliefs in a safe environment. Start with common questions you get asked, or common scenarios you are in. Then with a family member or friend, teach a principle in 30 seconds.
Focus on the benefits of the gospel like peace, happiness, and a relationship with God. Nitty-gritty details come later. Ask the friend or family member you’re practicing with how they felt. What made sense and what didn’t? Return to this exercise often in FHE, Sunday School, or family scripture study.
For more tips on sharing the gospel, click here — and feel free to share your own missionary work tips in the comments below!