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Are You a Faith Encourager?

Faith is about action. And you sharing your faith in action is worth much more than an invite to church.
A young woman assists in renovating a house

Most of us would like to consider ourselves encouragers. We want to help those around us by listening, passing on a piece of wisdom, or going out of our way to do something kind. Yet how often do we attempt to help others by telling them how our faith makes a difference in our own life? If that’s what’s most important to us, and guides our lives, then why not?

I think for most of us, talking about faith with family, friends and acquaintances doesn’t necessarily feel natural. Our idea of “sharing your faith” often has a forced feeling to it, like anyone who is sharing their faith is pushing it on someone, coming off as sounding “religious.”

I struggle with this all the time. It’s just so awkward.

It often makes me wonder how something so important to life as our beliefs and values have become so hard to talk about in a natural way.

The Outsider Interviews: A New Generation Speaks Out on Christianity, a book by Jim Henderson, Todd Hunter and Craig Spinks, addresses this in an interesting way. The authors went out and interviewed young adults who have been turned off by Christians today. Their discoveries led them to make three basic observations about how to talk about matters like faith with other people:

  1. Listen to them. Don’t talk to them like their faith journey isn’t valid, or that they don’t have something insightful and important to contribute to the conversation that you can learn from.
  2. Allow them to disagree with you without going on the offensive. If you approach them with the attitude that you have all the answers, then it is going to be a very short and boring conversation for both of you. Engage them as a real human being and let a conversation about faith have the same give and take that any other conversation might have.
  3. Don’t just invite them to church; invite them to serve with you. Faith is about action, and likely they share that premise. And you sharing with them your faith in action is worth much more than an invite.

I think the whole point is to be genuine. Avoid jargon, and don’t make assumptions that everyone agrees with you. Take a soft approach. Add a little humor, but stay true to who you are. If your faith is important to you, don’t hold back if that’s how you want to encourage someone.

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