Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28: 19-20)
After months of not being able to sit down in his local coffee shop, my husband met a believing buddy there for coffee after it opened up. Upon entering, all the servers greeted him by name and chatted him up, as they are trained to do. But it was also quite obvious they all – some fellow believers and some not – were truly happy to see him back again. They weren’t just happy about the return of a dependable customer but because he spreads joy, happiness and understanding everywhere he goes.
My husband serves as the store’s resident philosopher and the young staff’s substitute father or even grandfather, depending on their age. Their reaction made such an impression on his friend that he had to comment, “Man, you really do a great job here.”
God’s light shines brightly in him. The people he meets everywhere he goes feel it.
Over the course of our 36 years of marriage, I’ve observed and studied his interactions with people – I’m an introvert and he is obviously an extrovert. He can talk to anybody about anything. But what he most wants to talk about is faith, or more specifically, “The creator, God the father; the in-dwelling Holy Spirit; and the Son, Redeemer, who pays for sin.”
His opening line most often is, “I’m a Jew…for Jesus,” which typically gets people’s attention. With that opening, he usually finds people willing to engage, some who are believers but often folks who’ve been turned off by bad experiences in churches or by religion with a capital ‘R.’ To that, he has a ready answer that religion and faith aren’t the same things, then off he goes discussing their experiences with religion and his approach to faith.
What my husband has honed over the years is his “Faith Elevator Speech” – that pivotal 30-second introduction to biblical truth that gets conversation going. He has prepared in advance answers to the common objections he encounters.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)
He lives and breathes the Great Commission. As layperson in the church, he wholly believes that the good work he is called to do is to share his testimony of faith. He often says, “I’m God’s man on the outside,” meaning outside the walls and structures of the church.
It’s often observed that many of the faithful are uncomfortable talking to strangers about our beliefs and what God has done in our lives. We hide our “light under a bushel basket” in fear we may viewed as religious extremists or holier-than-thou perfect people. Or we might be branded as MAGA-hat Republicans or worse, haters, as media pundits have recently taken to call those who uphold the Biblical definition of life, male-female gender roles and marriage.
And the culture is being infected by the toxic Woke agenda, which is in complete opposition to the Gospel. That’s all the more reason why we can’t be silenced.
To follow the call of the Great Commission, we must develop our unique, personal and authentic “elevator speech.” Maybe it’s as simple as substituting “Blessings” for thank you or other conversational salutation, like “Lord willing,” when scheduling an appointment or meeting. It may be developing a catch-phrase that can lead into a deeper discussion or just interjecting some mention of God into conversation.
Heaven knows, there are more than enough topics that come up in casual conversation that we can bounce off of into a statement about God and how our belief in Him upholds us in this fallen, corrupt world.
Since I am most often with my husband when he strikes up conversations with strangers, I simply follow his lead and interject comments where appropriate. And because I am a writer more than a talker, I do my part by regularly sharing articles about faith on Facebook from various faith-based news services, usually including my own perspective on the article and a quote or two from the piece. Likewise, I follow various faith ministries on Facebook and repost appropriately. Even on LinkedIn, a primarily business and professional networking site, I’ve seen more faith posts lately and because I like or share them there, I am seeing more coming into my feed.
And every week I publish a newsletter for my church that includes, besides the latest news, a verse from Psalm, a hymn, and a more extensive reading from the New Testament drawn from the previous week’s service. The idea is to prime the pump for the coming Sunday so our church family is encouraged to come out and fellowship and worship together.
The newsletter is a particular blessing to me because it keeps me in the Word and from what I hear from members of the congregation, a blessing for them as well. Needless to say, it is the most opened communication from our church, which typically sends out two or three other messages per week. (Let me know if you’d like to see a copy as a model for your church’s outreach.)
As believers, we have a responsibility – or more correctly, a call – to share our faith “as we have opportunity” to do so. It doesn’t have to be slick or profound and never aggressive or confrontational – just sincere, authentic and from the heart. As far as I am concerned, it is the most “good” we can do for those we encounter on our walk. And while it can be spontaneous, it is far better to prepare in advance with an “elevator speech” of your own. With practice, it will become easier and easier to answer Jesus’ Great Commission call.
Please share in the comments below your “elevator speech” to help others develop their own.