A recent study revealed a gap between confidence and connection.
77% of Christians feel confident to talk about Jesus, but 42% said they don’t know any non Christians well enough to talk to them. There is a gap forming where people who are willing and able but not relationally connected to those around them.
The study also revealed that 52% of Christians agree that other believers are better suited to talk about Jesus than they are.
Although this cannot be addressed quickly, here are three ways you can begin to build confidence, inspire connection and celebrate conversations within your church community.
The invisible needs to become visible.
What is happening every day needs to be heard and celebrated. For to long only conversions stories have been visible on platforms. Someone new to faith sharing their story. How they were invited, came, and now their life is changed. Incredible stories that you should never stop sharing. But alongside this there needs to be stories of conversations. Members of the church encouraged to share that they spoke with someone that week about Jesus. The invisible conversations that take place in playgroups and staff rooms. That step of faith they took to share their faith with a friend. These need to be heard and celebrated on platforms to. The outcome of someone making a decision to follow Jesus or come to church is not within their control, but having a conversation is. By showcasing (making the invisible, visible) you are validating their efforts. Giving them examples to learn from and be inspired by that are happening within their community every day, and providing a pathway to share their experiences.
Resource your people with invitations and teaching
Do you encourage your people to invite others to church? Resource them with invitations. Simple leaflets or wallet sized cards with location and time information on is all they need. Be generous with your resourcing to. Give out bundles. Move pass the one leaflet seat drop model, and gift people with 10 or more at a time. This not only encourages them to have more conversations but also takes the pressure off only having one leaflet to give out. If confidence is high lets resource them well.
Teaching is key to. Talking Jesus the study I mentioned at the beginning have an abundance of options you can signpost to or deliver yourself. Practical teaching on how to craft your personal story and share a simple Gospel message. One of the biggest barriers to people talking about Jesus is they are worried they won’t have the answers. They don’t need to have the answers! They simply need to be equipped with simple steps and know how to signpost people to places they can ask their questions.
Create space for relational connection
There is a need to help people build relational connection again. Although you can not match make friendships for others you can create space for this to happen. It may be as simple as marking one night of the week in the church calendar as free and communicating this is an intentional night to spend time with friends outside of the church community. You could even build partnerships with external organisations such as food banks or local children’s centres where you send in volunteers once a week to help. I know churches that have struck up group discount deals for local gyms, or have formed teams for weekly pub quizzes. Anything that encourages community outside the church where relational connection can form.
If you would like to read the latest Talking Jesus study and discover what resources are available to you via our toolkit go to https://talkingjesus.org/