Stormy Harding stared at her phone. A list of her friends’ names rested on the table before her. The rain poured. It was the final day of Cru’s Big Break 2014 conference in Panama City Beach, Florida, and Stormy was sitting on the patio of a café. She was about to call her friends to talk about Jesus.

Fear and doubt set in. “Who am I to tell her about Christ when all last semester I was such a bad example?” she thought. But somehow, God gave her the courage to type the numbers. The phone began to ring. Suddenly her nerves began to dissipate. She had taken the first step.

Why is it so hard?

It is often most difficult to talk about our faith with those who know us best. With practice, we can conquer the fear of sharing the Gospel with strangers, but somehow talking with our friends seems much more difficult to overcome. The fear can be paralyzing. More seems to be at stake – our reputation, the relationship.

“When you share with strangers, they’re just that, strangers. It doesn’t matter if they reject what you say,” Stormy said.

But it’s different with friends. Will she reject me? Will he think I’m crazy? Would she even believe me?

These doubts are common.

How do we move beyond insecurities and fears to communicate our most important news with the most important people in our lives?

Why would they listen?

At spring break the year before, Stormy was drinking and partying with her softball teammates. Though a Christian at the time, she lived a double life – consistently at Bible studies and Cru weekly meetings, but spending weekends as the typical college partier.

She felt trapped and isolated. “I was showing my teammates this false type of gospel,” she said, describing herself as a hypocrite.

But God woke her up.

Stormy’s life began to change throughout the next year, and her passion for Jesus was rekindled. She found that with strangers or coworkers, Jesus naturally came up in conversation. But she still believed that her teammates would never listen to her.

“They’ve seen me act this way, so why would anything I say be held as truth? Why would it be valid?”

Conquering fear

But on that rainy day in Florida, Stormy pushed her fears aside. She called each of her 12 teammates, arranging to talk individually with five of them the following week. One of her teammates was Taylor Sheer. “There’s something important we should talk about,” said Stormy. “So, let’s hang out!”

Taylor was raised as a Christian, but since going to college she had drifted from God.

Sitting side-by-side in Stormy’s apartment the next weekend, Stormy told her about Jesus dying to bring her life. She explained that each person has a choice, to choose the world or to follow Jesus, the King who sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins. Stormy expressed how she longed to run the Christian race with Taylor, but she couldn’t do that unless Taylor made that decision for herself.

Six months later, Taylor committed her life to Jesus.

3 ways to take that first step

Telling friends about Jesus can fill us with anxiety, but here are three tips to help you take that first step, as Stormy did.

  1. Pray for your friends and for opportunities. Make a bookmark with 5-10 names of people you want to talk about Jesus with. Keep it in your Bible or your planner so you remember to pray for them. Trust God to provide opportunities.

  2. Practice curiosity. We are responsible for having spiritual conversations with our friends, but asking questions about their lives can spark interest in your beliefs. One of the best ways to do this is to seek out time with your friends and practice being curious about them.

    How is she really doing? Is there something really challenging he’s going through? What things does she love to do and why? What is his family like?

    The ideal spiritual conversation is one that your friend starts.

  3. Practice focused listening. This takes some concentration, but it shows care for the other person. Keep your mind focused on what they are saying. Don’t try to think of the next question to ask, or the next comment to make. Trust God to give you the right words to say and the timing.

Stormy found it difficult to take the first step to talk about her faith. But within the next few weeks after making that first call, Stormy had moved beyond fear to be able to have Gospel conversations with each of her 12 teammates. Her intentionality and her natural love and care for her friends allowed Stormy to easily transition each conversation to talk about Jesus.

Rachel Ferchak

a Pittsburgh native, serves as editor-in-chief of digital and print communications for Cru. A 2012 graduate of Ohio University, she received a journalism degree, which so far has taken her around the U.S., to Morocco, Russia, Spain and Moldova. Contact Rachel at Rachel.Ferchak@cru.org.

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