Talking to People about Jesus

Workplace Evangelism for the 99 Percent

Bill Peel & Jerry White 12 Mar 2024

Editor's Note

This article is the fourth in a four-part series on workplace evangelism. In Part 1, we made the case that the most strategic mission field today is the workplace. In Part 2, we discussed the ‘how’: How can Christians who do not have the gift of evangelism effectively bring the gospel into their workplace? Part 3 examined factors that create wise communication and identified both appropriate and inappropriate times to talk about faith in the workplace. In this article, Part 4, we introduce a subtle yet compelling way to foster gospel conversations at work, measure a person’s spiritual interest, and create curiosity about the Christian faith.

If you want someone to hear the truth, you should tell them the truth. But if you want someone to love the truth, you should tell them a story.

Andrew Peterson, Christian musician and author

When you go to work as Christ’s ambassador, to whom will you speak? Atheists, agnostics, or people who practice other religions? Clients or coworkers indifferent or hostile toward God? Now picture these individuals on your mental desktop and envision yourself in a conversation with each one. Consider what you would say to arouse their curiosity, so they’re likely to listen long enough to learn how God loves them and wants them to experience abundant life on earth and eternity in his presence through a relationship with Jesus. If this kind of conversation gives you heartburn, you’re not alone. But it’s simpler than you think.

Today, with technology and strategies of every stripe, it’s easy to become obsessed with evangelism tools and techniques—edgy videos, eye-catching Instagram posts, new acrostic approaches, the latest apologetic arguments—all of which can be helpful. But people need more. Tim Keller reflected on talking about Jesus with secular, often hostile New Yorkers: ‘Unless people find our conversation about Christ surprisingly compelling (and stereotype-breaking) their eyes will simply glaze over when you try to talk to them .’[1] 

People need information, answers, and rational arguments, but we are all ‘desiring beings’— feeling our way through life trying to find what we’re missing, often not knowing what we’re looking for.[2] Helping people see how their deepest longings are met in Christ can create irresistible curiosity. And if you can tell a story, you can do this. Jesus certainly knew this and gave people more than facts. He addressed people’s heartfelt needs by telling stories. He shaped information into meaning that helped people visualize and experience the truth in tangible ways that piqued their interest. When he wanted to awaken people to the stunning marvel of the Father’s outrageous love, he didn’t just tell them about God’s love, He told them a story that spoke to their deep longings—the Parable of the Prodigal Son.[3] When he wanted a self-righteous Scribe to grasp what it meant to love one’s neighbor, he told the story of the Good Samaritan to help the Scribe rethink his limited notions of love and the extent of his neighborhood and obligation.

Stories are Powerful

Rather than using facts to knock at the front door of a person’s mind, often bolted from within, a story allows truth to enter through the back door of the heart.

According to Alasdair MacIntyre, we are ‘story-telling animals,’[4] so in evangelism, stories should populate our spiritual conversations with colleagues. Rather than using facts to knock at the front door of a person’s mind, often bolted from within, a story allows truth to enter through the back door of the heart. 

We find the back door of a person’s heart by first listening. Good storytelling is always a two-way street. If we want to tell stories about Jesus, we should listen to other people’s stories first. In your conversations at work this week, what have you heard coworkers say about their backgrounds? How do they spend their time or what are their priorities? What are their spiritual experiences—positive or negative—their joys and pains, their successes and challenges? How does God fit into their life—if at all? Prompting people to tell snippets of their story can begin simply with, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ followed by a question about a detail they’ve shared. 

Taking a cue from a comment about a similar occasion when God met a significant need in your life creates a connection between your story and theirs. Linking your story with theirs can give people a glimpse of what it’s like to be God’s child and the benefits of a relationship with him, such as a time when he gave you a sense of peace amidst pain or loss. Your story may take less than a minute or two to tell, but if a detail connects to a need or circumstance in the listener’s life, it can stimulate questions and open doors for deeper conversations. Effective stories can cause people to drop their guard and listen with an open mind.

To prepare for opportunities ahead, consider the conversations you’ve had at work lately. What concerns were expressed—fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, joy, appreciation, peace? What similar experience have you had where God’s word spoke to you or when he met a specific need, where you learned a lesson or where you began to see something differently from his perspective?

Stories can begin with something as simple as a casual mention of our faith during normal conversation. It might be an answer to a question about such mundane things as our plans for the weekend. For example: ‘I’m doing some yard work and teaching a class at my church on healing and divorce,’ or ‘I’m coaching an inner-city baseball team in a playoff game,’ or ‘I’m playing golf with friends and going to church on Sunday.’ Revealing an aspect of how we spend our time tells people what’s important to us—which may puzzle some and prompt them to ask more about why we do what we do. Their curiosity can create an open door to tell a story that explains a bit more about how important our faith is to our lives.

The Power of Our Story

When we sense that God is at work in the lives of people with whom we’ve shared faith stories, it may be time to tell our best story—our own testimony of how God drew us to faith in Christ. 

We never know when God might open the door to someone’s heart, so we should always be prepared to share the gospel with a hungry soul. At the heart of the gospel is the historic fact of Christ’s substitutionary death and bodily resurrection. Sent by the love of the Father, Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment we deserve, so we could be reconciled to God, live an abundant life, and spend eternity with Him.

When we weave these facts into the story of our personal faith journey, it’s hard for people to argue because it’s our story. Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa is a simple, clear example we can follow for telling our own story:[5] 

  1. A summary of his life before he met Jesus 
  2. A description of how he met Jesus
  3. A summary of his life after he met Jesus.

Resources abound to help you sharpen your salvation story. One of the most effective is found in the Navigators 2:7 discipleship training curriculum.[6] 

Telling faith stories can generate faith-giving conversations—but, they can also invite questions and objections that deserve answers we may not be equipped to offer at the moment. Deeper questions of apologetics are beyond the scope of these articles,[7] but, at the very least, we can guide sincere colleagues to resources that answer their legitimate questions. Books like C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity have for decades helped many skeptics find Christ. Some other print and online resources can be found in the footnotes.[8]

Talking to Jesus about People

Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.
—J. Sidlow Baxter

As we’ve noted in previous articles, the rapid and far-reaching spread of the gospel in the first centuries was due in large part to the mass mobilization of ordinary Christians in the workplace who took their faith to work. More important, however, was their persistent pattern of prayer. They believed what Jesus said, ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him’ (John 6:44); so, it’s not surprising to see the vital role that prayer played in the historical record throughout the book of Acts.[9] 

No doubt we have more advantages than the early church, but we have no more power than they did. And we have less, if not empowered by the Spirit through prayer.

Numerous Scripture passages can help us pray for specific coworkers and friends we encounter during the day. We can pray that: 

  1. The Father will draw them to Himself (John 6:44).
  2. They will come to know and believe the truth of the gospel (Rom 10:17; 1 Thess 2:13).
  3. Satan will be restrained from blinding them from the truth (Matt 13:19; 2 Cor 4:4).
  4. The Holy Spirit will convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8–13).
  5. God will send other Christians into their lives to influence and point them toward Jesus (Matt 9:37–38).
  6. They will believe in Jesus as their Savior (John 1:12; 5:24).
  7. They will turn from sin and confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 3:19; 17:30–31; Rom 10:9–10).
  8. They will grow in Jesus (Col 2:6–7).

We can also pray for ourselves and fellow Christian coworkers. Many Scripture passages remind us of the confidence we have in God as Christ’s ambassadors in the workplace. We can pray that:

  • We will do excellent work that attracts others’ attention and brings God glory (Prov 22:29; Matt 5:16).
  • We will treat people fairly and develop a good reputation with unbelievers (Col 4:1; 1 Thess 4:12).
  • Our conversations will be wise, sensitive, grace-filled, and enticing (Col 4:5–6).
  • We will be alert to open doors and be bold and fearless to enter (Col 4:3; Eph 6:19).
  • We will be able to clearly explain the gospel (Col 4:4).

Prayer, blended with wise communication, built on good work, godly character, and genuine concern, invites God to be at work in our work—where every interaction with every person is spiritually significant.

In Closing

If you are a pastor, evangelist, or missionary, as you’ve reflected on these four articles, we pray that you’ve seen the strategic nature of the workplace to the Great Commission and the importance of helping workplace followers of Christ, ‘the 99 Percent’, take their place. But remember, they are lizards and not frogs. They need your affirmation, encouragement, equipping, and inspiration to see the value of their work to God’s kingdom and graciously show the people with whom they work and live, the way to Christ. They can change the world. If you are a workplace follower of Christ, we hope you recognize the immense value of the actual work you do. Your work matters to God. We also hope you see that missions begin where you work. It may lead elsewhere, but it starts in your workplace where you can help coworkers and colleagues take one step closer to a relationship with Christ today. It’s a process. It will be slow. But God is at work in you and is calling you to join the multitude of believers who have gone before you, who have taken their place as Christ’s ambassadors at work. You are changing the world.


  1. “Defeater Beliefs and a Gospel Sandwich,”
  2. Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen, Apologetics at the Cross: an introduction for Christian witness in late modernism, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2018), 174.
  3. Luke 10:25-37
  4. Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 3rd ed. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008) 216.
  5. Acts 26:2-29.
  7. If you want to dig deeper, we recommend Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen, Apologetics at the Cross: An introduction for Christian witness in late modernism, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2018).
  8. Books by Tim Keller, The Reason for God and Making Sense of God as well as Rebecca McLaughlin’s Confronting Christianity, Gregory Koukl, Street Smarts: Using Questions to Answer Christianity’s Toughest Challenges, are helpful in how to use Socratic questions. Got Questions ( is an online encyclopedia of answers to questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, or theology. What Would You Say ( offers quick answers to Christianity’s hard questions via 5-minute videos.
  9. Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42, 47; 4:24, 31; 8:15; 9:11, 40; 10:9, 30-31; 12:5; 13:3; 14:23; 15:25; 20:36; 21:5; 26:29; 28:8.