How Sharing the Gospel Is Like Learning to Swim

My friend seemed a natural-born surfer. His love for surfing came out on many occasions. Almost all his devices had surfing stickers on them reflecting his passion for the sport. I assumed he’d been surfing all his life.

When I asked him when he learned the sport, I was shocked to hear that he was in his late 40s when he started! I was so impressed. He was a living example of someone who had the courage to learn something challenging and new at any age. Deeply encouraged by his example, I decided to pursue a dream I have had for a very long time. I decided to learn how to swim.

Many times, I tried to learn to swim but failed. I thought perhaps, I didn’t have the capacity to learn anymore, especially now that I was in my forties. For a long time, I gave up trying. However, after hearing Kevin’s story, I made up my mind. I would try again until my dream became reality.

When learning to swim the first step is to get comfortable in the water.

Google Provides Help

Google was my go-to source. I looked up “how to swim” and almost all the training videos said the first step was to “get comfortable in the water”. I should let go of fear and practice relaxing my muscles in water, they said.

When I read that, I thought… that step is simple enough. I can do that. I can go to the pool and do what they say so my body learns to relax in the pool.

My goal was simply to follow the instructions and get comfortable in the water. I followed the step-by-step drills and did not aim for more than was required of me.

As I did this, each day I saw progress. I could see that I was going to become a strong swimmer if I did not give up.

Another Skill I Long For

This experience reminded me of a disciple-making skill. It’s something I have been trying to improve on for a very long time. It is the skill of sharing the gospel with lost people around me.

This is a skill I need to learn. It did not come naturally. I had to start from the basics. For seasoned evangelists, some of the steps I needed to learn may sound silly. For me, they were important first steps.

I would like to share with you these basic baby steps. If you are diligent to practice them, you can learn the life-changing skill of gospel sharing.

Beginner Steps for Sharing Christ With Others

1. Go where you know you will meet lost people daily.

This is the first step. If you want to get comfortable talking to lost people, you must go where they are, at least once a day. Especially at the beginning of your journey, you must intentionally go out to meet lost people every day. This will force you out of your comfort zone. (This is similar to making it a habit to go to the pool daily.)

sharing the gospel

2. Get comfortable talking to lost people.

Even for an extrovert like myself, talking to strangers can be challenging. People are busy and oftentimes, they are on their phones. This makes it hard to engage with strangers.

I had to purposely plan to go where I knew people will want to talk to me. For example, I knew that if I would go to local shops when the rush hour had not begun, shopkeepers and other shoppers would be willing to talk. (This is like starting to enter the pool at the shallow end.)

Once you go out, the second simple step is to smile and greet people. (This is like feeling the water around you.)

After that, ask about their day. Listen well. When possible, ask open-ended questions to learn more about them. (This is similar to doing other drills like taking a deep breath and then learning to release that breath underwater).

Open Questions to Ask:

  • · What do you think of the school your kids are studying at?
  • · How long have you been doing this job?
  • · How did you decide to come live here?

Listen to what they are saying and give general comments.

Once you are comfortable doing the above, learn to respond to them in a positive way. Bless them with a good word, compliment their skills, or say something nice to encourage them. If possible, tell them you will pray for them.

Examples of Affirmations:

  • You have such a wonderful shop. I like the way you have arranged all your goods.
  • You have served me so well. Thank you. I will recommend others to you.
  • It’s good to hear about your children. I pray that they will do well in their studies.

Ask if you can pray for their needs.

As you get more comfortable talking to lost people, ask if they have any needs that you can pray for. (This is like learning how to float.)

You may get clues to how you can pray for them from their responses to your questions about their life and family. You can ask if they have specific needs. Or you can offer to pray for their health, business, family, etc. When they agree to receive prayers, pray a short prayer for them in Jesus’ name.

4. Share your testimony

As you get more comfortable talking with people, you will get many opportunities to share your testimony. (This is like learning how to kick while swimming.) You can share about anything God did in your life.

Because you want to share the gospel with them, however, sharing the testimony of how you came to Jesus is the best way to start. It is best if you prepare your testimony in advance. This article will help you learn how to do that.

Once you share your testimony ask: Do you have a story like this? Would you like to hear more about Jesus?

5. Share the Gospel Story

There are many ways to share the good news. It’s like how there are many kinds of swimming strokes. You should learn one or at the most two ways to share the good news.

Practice well until you can do a good job with the presentation.

Here are two simple ways to share the gospel – The 3 circles and the Creation to Christ Story. The 3 Circles is a short presentation, while the Jesus Story a bit longer.

You can learn how to share the Three Circles by watching the video above.

You can learn to share the Creation to Christ story by watching this video.

Keys to Remember

  1. We can learn new skills at any age. If you have not learned to share the good news with others, you can start now. No matter your age or experience, you can learn if you are willing to be focused, disciplined, and to follow the simple steps given above.
  2. Give yourself time to learn. For some it may take a few days, for others, it longer. The pace of learning does not determine the outcome. If you are willing to practice, you will learn the skill.
  3. Remember the goal. When learning a new skill, we can get stuck on the first steps because the final two or three steps maybe be more complicated and harder to master.

For example, I am still struggling to breathe while swimming freestyle even after many days of trying. I am tempted to give up and be satisfied with floating and swimming the backstroke. I must remember my goal and not give up.

In evangelism, I am now very proficient in Steps 1, 2, and 3 but I need to practice Steps 4 & 5 more and more. It is not enough to pray for people’s needs. I need to share the gospel with them.

  1. Invite others to learn this new skill with you. Learning with others is more fun and it can also provide friendly accountability that will help you achieve your goals.

As Natural As Walking and Talking

One day when I can swim laps in the pool, I may forget the simple steps I had to learn to do to learn how to swim. I will be very happy when swimming is as natural to me as walking is. But of all the skills that I learned and will learn in the future, the one that brings me the most joy is the skill of sharing the gospel with the lost.

I plan to practice sharing the gospel until it becomes as easy and as natural as walking and talking. How about you? Will you join me?

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