November 27, 2012

Two Ways to Share Our Faith

1 Peter 3:13-18

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
—1 Peter 3:15


It’s normal for most Christians to want to share their faith. And I’ve learned that there are two ways to do that: prescriptively and descriptively.

Prescriptive sharing of faith involves offering advice about what people should do to deal with difficulties they may be having. This is similar to what a doctor does when writing a prescription for medication to help with a problem. Prescriptive sharing usually sounds something like “Here’s what you should do about your situation.” It often results in a lot of defensiveness because, frankly, most people don’t want to be told what to do.

Descriptive sharing of faith can often be more helpful. It involves telling someone what worked for you. Instead of saying, “Here’s what you should do,” you’re simply saying, “Here’s what helped me.”

Most people find it less threatening to hear you describe your own faith experience. Instead of sounding like a salesperson, you’re more like a friend with a story. No one can argue with your experience about how God is working in your life.

Do you know anyone who might want to hear about how God has worked in your life? Ask God to help you sense an opportunity to do so. Can you share your story? Ask God to help you say the right words at the right time.

Lord, show us people who need to hear what you are do-ing in our lives, and help us to share honestly and with your love. We ask this for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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