How Do I Share the Gospel When I Don’t Know Any Non-Christians Personally?

AUTHOR: Ben Beasley

Questions and Barriers About Evangelism


Romans 10:1-17. What are Paul’s motivations for evangelism? How does that relate to his understanding of the good news?


During the 13 weeks of e90, we will focus on the practice of evangelism. Each week we will address a question or common barrier related to sharing our faith. Take the next 5 minutes to read a blog from Ben Beasley about how to share our faith when we don’t personally know many non-believers.


How Do I Share the Gospel When I Don’t Know Any Non-Christians Personally?

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:9-16)

In this passage, Paul is assuming something…and it is a big assumption. He says in verse 15 that those who are sent by Jesus will actually share the gospel. He is writing this to a church in Rome, which was a city of about a million people. Rome was a global city so the population was diverse, but they all needed to hear the gospel. According to Paul, who is to share the gospel? The sent ones…the church, and that means, all of us.

Sharing the gospel can be difficult. Have you ever wondered, why? Why is this so difficult? If you are anything like me, and you’ve been a Christian for a while, you might feel what pastor Jon Tyson in New York City calls ‘missional angst.’

The term ‘missional’ is essentially the posture that Christians are to take in western society. Instead of sending people to other places like missionaries, we understand that people here, in Kansas City and all around us also need an encounter with God.

‘Angst’ is a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one, about the human condition, or state of the world in general. Synonyms are anxiety, fear, and dread.

What I’m trying to be honest and transparent about is that many of us know we have a call to share the gospel, but we have a dread within us concerning this call. We have a feeling of dis-ease about it. We are anxious about it. Some of us have a real deep desire to see God move in the lives of non-Christians, and at the same time we have a deep sense of angst about how that is actually going to happen.

Sometimes the barrier to this is simple: we don’t have any non-Christians deep enough in our sphere of influence. If this is you, and you live with a certain ‘missional angst’ about it, let me share with you three practical next steps to head in the direction of creating opportunity.

1. Find a ‘third space’ you feel comfortable with.

If you are in a place where you don’t find yourself around many non-Christians on a regular enough basis to cultivate a friendship with them, then I’d encourage you to find a ‘third space’ in which to do that.

A ‘third space’ essentially means a place that is neither your home or work, but a place you frequent enough to develop relationships. For me, that place is the gym. I go at similar times each day, and over the course of a year, I’ve built up relationships with people from all walks of life.

This ‘third space’ can be anything. A coffee shop where you become a regular and know regulars. A cigar lounge where you enjoy a stogie. Coaching a kids sports team where there is consistent (and positive!) parent interaction. The key to this third space is that it’s something you would do anyway. You typically enjoy showing up and would do it anyway…you are just a bit more strategic.

2. Patiently cultivate relationships.

I’ve had many spiritual conversations with people at the gym. But, it rarely happens quickly. I’m never eager to force it. I want to cultivate relational trust. I want people to witness how I live and operate. I want to really get to know people. When there’s been space and time to deepen a friendship, a spiritual conversation happens much more naturally.

Another part of cultivating a relationship with non-Christians is that one needs to be willing to befriend someone without needing to theologically or morally affirm the decisions that person makes. In order to grow a relationship one should always be honest, but we should also be kind, slow to speak and quick to listen. When a Christian is quick to offer moral advice or a judgment on a non-Christian’s life and world without being first welcomed into that space, that relationship won’t go far.

The challenge is to withhold judgment. To listen is to love. God is very capable of distinguishing between our desire to love our neighbor and an active affirmation of their lifestyle. People need to be loved where they are. Are you willing to do that?

3. Steer clear of a defensive posture.

Sometimes spiritual conversations can take a weird turn when people get accusatory or have questions you might not be able to answer. I never feel pressure to respond to someone who is forcing me to take a posture of defense. The author Marylinne Robinson once said, “…nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense.” I’m not sure that’s a hard and fast rule, but I think the spirit of it makes sense.

If someone has a rebuttal for everything I say, I don’t feel that I have to constantly defend my position or respond. I’ll be honest and say, “You know, based on how this conversation is progressing, I don’t think there’s anything I can say right now that would change your mind. Is that true?”

That typically evens things out a bit. Sometimes the tone and tenor of the conversation changes, but typically it means the conversation is over.

These are three practical next steps to cultivate a space in which to have meaningful spiritual conversations with non-Christians. I encourage you to find that third space that works for you. Purposefully and patiently enter into friendship with others in that space. And then free yourself from the need to take a posture of defense.


Pray for your 9 for 90 seconds; pray for God to bless them.

Day 72 of 90


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