HOT TOPIC: How to talk to someone who isn’t religious


That is one of the scariest words in the Christian dictionary. Evangelism is kind of like diet and exercise. We know we should be doing it. We have every intention of doing it more. But it’s just so hard to find the motivation and the time.

But it doesn’t have to be that daunting of a task. Telling others about Jesus should be as natural as telling people about that new restaurant that opened up down the street. Being a witness for Christ shouldn’t be any more difficult than telling about that AWESOME trip you took during Spring Break.

Shouldn’t be, but it is. I think it’s because we have stopped relying on and listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Witnessing the resurrection wasn’t enough to really turn the disciples around. Even 50 days after the resurrection the disciples are still in hiding, keeping to themselves. They don’t break out and begin winning the world for Jesus until they receive the Holy Spirit.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Jesus knew the disciples couldn’t do it on their own, and he never expected them to. He knew it would take a greater power than the human will in order to spread his kingdom. We talk about “willpower” but the human will is not very powerful. No, it was going to take a divine wind to fill the sails of this ship called The Way.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)

But if you are still skeptical about your ability or calling to be Christ’s witness, here are five ways you can allow the Spirit to do great things through you.


Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

As Christians, we each receive the same gift, the Holy Spirit himself, upon our baptism (Acts 2:38). Unfortunately many of us fail to recognize the work of the Spirit for what it is. Events and circumstances are chalked up to “luck” or “coincidence.” We have “chance” encounters. What we don’t realize is that the Holy Spirit works best behind the scenes. He doesn’t want any of the glory or recognition for himself, but he doesn’t want to be ignored either.

Once we are more in tune with the Spirit, we will begin to view every encounter as a divine appointment. Every person is a soul. Every stranger is a potential brother or sister. If we don’t keep in step with the Spirit, he may just leave us in his dust.


Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)

Jesus said that he himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus is the embodiment of love. No one ever loved like Christ loved, and no one ever revealed the Truth like Christ did. As Christ’s followers, we must be speaking the truth in love. Truth without love leads to pride and arrogance. Love without truth leads to shallowness and superficiality.

When speaking the truths of Christ to a skeptic, atheist, nonbeliever, etc., love must be overflowing with every word and action. It’s like the old saying goes, “They won’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” When we share the good news, it’s because we genuinely care for and love that person, so much so that we will try whatever we can to introduce them to Jesus Christ.


Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.” (Acts 17:22)

This is also one of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” But it is so true when we are trying to be witnesses for Christ. We must meet people where they are. It helps to realize that everyone is religious. No, they may not “go to church,” but for some people the bar is their church – or the concert hall or the sports stadium or the movie theater. Everybody has a god. Everybody worships something/someone. Everybody has some sort of belief about how the world works, what is right and wrong, and what happens when we die.

Our goal should be to understand where people are and go meet them there. Affirm what is good. As they get to know Christ they will begin to correct what is not so good. And, above all, pay attention to the questions they are asking. Everyone asks questions. But is the church providing answers to questions that aren’t being asked?


Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

Christians have been pegged by the world of nonbelievers as judgmental, hypocritical, homophobic, unloving, uncaring, and out of touch with society. Ouch. You see, the world knows something of the gospel that we Christians seem to forget: If you claim to follow Christ, you can’t keep hiding behind the mask of “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” Christ has called us to a new life, a better life, a holy life. If Christ is Lord, start acting like it!

The unbelieving world is excellent at seeing through our masks, our Sunday garb, and our blatant hypocrisy. If Paul had to beat his body into submission so that he would avoid these traps, then how much more so should we be on our guard. How we live matters. Period. Our actions can either provide evidence to our testimony or they can discredit it altogether.


What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

I think one of the biggest reasons people don’t talk to others about Jesus is because they think they don’t know enough. They are afraid of getting things wrong or actually leading people away from the Truth. But we must remember that converted hearts, transformed lives, and salvation for souls is NOT OUR JOB. That’s God’s business. He’s better at it. He has more experience. Let him do his job. Our job is to plant the seeds. Let God give the growth.

This would be like a witness in court thinking that it is completely up to here to win the case for the defendant. But it’s not up to the witness – it’s up to the attorney and the judge. Don’t go jumping into roles that are above your pay grade. We may be God’s co-workers, but he is still the boss.