Lean into the weirdness: Sharing the gospel with courage and compassion


19 Apr 2024


Lean into the weirdness: Sharing the gospel with courage and compassion


A little while ago, I took my son to the library.

Given my son’s curiosity and his life in a global city, I decided the library would be an ideal place to learn more about other faiths and cultures.

What I wasn’t expecting was to encounter someone of another faith at the library.

Completely unprepared, I was walking to the carpark with my son when a Sikh man approached me. I had just borrowed a book on Sikhism, intending to start there and introduce my son to their beliefs. The man was delighted to see I had that book. I smiled but kept my guard up, my mind half on the journey home.

Initially, our conversation revolved around why I had the book in my hands and what other things we could do to learn about Sikhism and the importance of faith. What I now wish I’d done is question him more and introduce him to the Christian faith that I’m also teaching my son. There were so many opportunities to share the gospel with him, yet I was unprepared, and I missed the chance.

As the conversation ended, I simply shared my thanks, turned away and took my son to the car – leaving the opportunity to bring Jesus into our conversation behind. I’d botched it.

Next time, I don’t want to miss the opportunity.

Yet, the idea of sharing the gospel with someone for the first time does often feel weird and a little scary, doesn’t it? The thought of having that life-altering conversation with someone else can be fraught with awkwardness and misunderstanding. Our skin can prickle. We can get that awful dry mouth sensation as we face the prospect of rejection. What do we even say?

In a world where faith can often feel like a private affair, stepping out as a Christian can be terrifying. Yet, amid uncertainty and hesitation lie rich opportunities for us to be used by God to help change someone’s eternity. The question is: how can we faithfully serve God by sharing his good news, authentically and lovingly, in that moment? If the opportunity arises to speak to that Sikh man again, what should I be doing differently?

We all need to be reminded that the gospel is for the person who God has put in front of us. The moment or opportunity to share our faith really isn’t about us at all.

It can be daunting. Sometimes, just as I did, we may feel like we’ve completely botched the opportunity. As a new missionary, I know I still have a lot to learn. But reflecting back on my encounter in the carpark, I wanted to share some helpful tips to have that gospel conversation for the next time one of us might be caught unawares.

1. Come out of the Christian closet

We are loved and forgiven by the God who created us. We are heirs with Jesus to an inheritance that can never fade or be destroyed. We know this is good news – the best news – and we’ve accepted it for ourselves. Yet there are times when we are scared to share this truth with others, the most important thing in our lives.

It takes a moment of courage to let people know who we are—followers of Jesus. But once we do, the gate is open to sharing with them more about the most important news we could offer. Whether we casually mention that we spent part of the weekend at church or proudly identify ourselves as Christians, openly and honestly sharing who we are can lead to meaningful conversations.

I go to a Turkish barber. Recently, a seemingly mundane trip for a haircut turned into a profound opportunity to share the gospel with my hairdresser, who is rejecting her own Muslim background. She asked me what I did, and I said I was a missionary.

By being open about who I was, I was able to have a conversation that sparked curiosity and led to a genuine exploration of who Jesus was and what he came to do. At one point, when I told her what Jesus did for us on the cross, she stopped cutting my hair and looked at me incredulously. I could see that the gospel’s implication had landed in her heart.

The fact is that once we come out of the ‘Christian closet’, the way is open to speak to people about the life-changing message we have.

2. Lean into the weirdness

Sharing our faith might feel strange at first, but it's essential to lean into that discomfort. The Bible never promises that sharing our faith will be easy, but we are told to do it. Every person we meet is someone who God has put before us. They have been placed in our path for a reason. So, trust God. Trust his process.

God is sovereign. Once we acknowledge that, we can engage in genuine conversations and share the message of Jesus with authenticity and vulnerability.

It is weird to have that gospel conversation that can change someone’s life – especially if it’s in an unexpected time or place. Lean into it. Let’s not feel too out of our depth.

Witnessing on the street one time, I took the plunge to ask a passer-by what he thought about Jesus and found he was a flat earther- I told him it didn’t really matter If the Earth was flat compared to whether Jesus was really God’s Son sent to save us. If we can talk to someone, we’ve already got the skills.

God once used a donkey for his purposes! (You can read the incredible account of Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22:21-39.) While he probably won’t use a donkey again, he can certainly use us for his good purposes as well.

3. Be ready!

Once we start praying to be used by God to bring people into his kingdom, he will send people our way. And these opportunities for gospel conversations can arise unexpectedly, whether at the hairdresser's or in a chance encounter with a stranger in a library carpark!

1 Peter 3:15 states:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I wish I’d seen that opportunity in the library carpark to share the love of Christ. I wasn’t prepared and felt like I dropped the ball God had lobbed at me.

If I’d thought about it a bit more, I could’ve shared exactly why I had that book for my son, and what it is that we believe. As Christians, we each have a testimony of things that God has done in our lives – we already have answers for why we have the hope that we have.

Next time, I plan to be ready to share mine, even if it’s just explaining the story of how God saved me.

No matter who God sends our way in whatever moment, we need to be willing to engage with them. It doesn’t mean we need to have all the answers prepared to share eloquently, simply that we’re willing to speak of our own faith and the reason we believe in Jesus.

The gospel is for everyone

4. Ask those gospel questions

Gospel questions are questions that go to the heart of what people believe. We can ask them in order to learn more about the neighbour God has placed before us. Questions like: “so what do you believe?” or “how does your faith support you?”

Rather than rushing to deliver a rehearsed gospel message, take the time to understand where others are coming from. Ask meaningful questions about their beliefs and experiences and listen attentively to their responses. After all, the message of grace is for them!

In my last conversation with a Muslim, I asked him about the Quran and what he thought was most important, and soon found he didn’t really care about his religions’ teachings so much as “being kind”- we had a fruitful chat but I had to step away from the normal talking points about the Trinity, Mohammed, validity of the Bible and the like, to start where he was.

It’s important to remember that God made us all differently. By meeting people where they are and addressing their specific needs and concerns, we can effectively communicate the message of grace and redemption.

If we assume we know where they are coming from, we may miss the real beliefs they hold at their core. It so easy to fall into the trap of thinking people from a different culture or faith background think the same and just launch into our prepared evangelistic spiel. But if you dig a little deeper, you may find that’s not the case.

In many of my talks with people as a new missionary, I find that people have many different notions of who Jesus is – from being a prophet, a teacher, a nice guy, or just a story but we know that Jesus is the Son of God, the only way to the Father. If I speak to people about Jesus without knowing who it is they think he is then I might miss out on sharing the real truth of the gospel.

5. Love our neighbour

At the heart of sharing our faith lies a deep compassion for others. Recognising that God has given us a way to be with him by sending his son Jesus to die for us, we are compelled to share the good news of Jesus out of love and concern for others’ eternal welfare.

We must not forget that bringing the gospel to others is an act of compassion, allowing them to experience the abundant life found in Christ. Whether it's a conversation with a hairdresser or a chance encounter in a car park, may our interactions be marked by a genuine love for our neighbours and a desire to share the hope we have in Jesus. Jesus gave his life out of love for us and the Father. Now we, through Jesus, have access to eternal life with him in the new creation; this should be a message we share with people because we hate the idea of seeing even one soul lost.

Embracing the journey of sharing our faith requires courage, vulnerability, and, above all, a genuine love for others. As we step out of our comfort zones and lean into God’s wonderful and perfect timing, may we faithfully share the message of hope and salvation.

Let's come out of the Christian closet, lean into the weirdness we sometimes feel when sharing the gospel, and extend compassion to our neighbours, knowing that our efforts are guided by the hand of a loving and sovereign God for his glory.

Why not pray for an opportunity to share your faith with someone now?

If you want more helpful ideas to share the gospel, why not listen to our Everyday Evangelism podcast? Visit and listen or watch our first season of Everyday Evangelism.

Written by: Martin

Martin works as a missionary in Lambeth, focusing on reaching out to Muslims and people from other faiths with the love of God and the gospels of Jesus Christ.