It’s hard to share your faith at school. No one wants to stand out or have unpopular opinions. When I first decided to share my faith, it was in college. Through intense study I became a passionate Catholic – but everyone around me either didn’t care or they strongly disagreed with me. And I was terrible at explaining myself.
I realize now that there were some simple techniques I could have used to share my faith more effectively. Keep these in mind and you can be a positive witness at your school, no matter how old you are or what kind of school it is.
Live Your Faith Simply
You don’t have to make loud displays of your faith. You don’t have to shrink into the background, either. Instead, try to have a subtle influence on people, without drawing too much attention. For example:
- If people are gossiping, don’t contribute to it.
- If someone shares a personal problem, quietly pray with them.
- Tell the truth.
- Be kind.
- Help people.
- Wear Catholic t-shirts.
- If someone asks about your weekend, don’t be afraid to say you went to Confession.
Eventually you’ll start to make an impact simply by living a faithful, Catholic life, and people will want to know more.
Get to Know People
I went through 12 years of elementary and high school with the same people, and on graduation day there were still classmates I didn’t know very well. It’s always easier to stick with your core group of friends than to risk rejection from a new person. But, if you are intentional about getting to know other people then not only will you make new friends, but you’ll also discover how your faith can speak to their lived experience.
This means investing in others. Be present to the person in front of you. Show an interest in their story. Spend more time listening and asking questions than talking about yourself. You might even challenge yourself to meet one new person a week. If you take this person-centered approach to life, then you’ll find open doors to share your faith with others, and your own life will be enriched.
Pray and Respond
When I first tried sharing my faith in public, it was at a crowded farmer’s market. There were so many people walking by that I didn’t know where to begin. Instinctively, I started judging people: “He is too scary.” “She will probably reject me.” “They are too preoccupied.” My teammate noticed this and reminded me: You don’t have to judge people. You don’t have to wait for the perfect opportunity. If you stay in conversation with Jesus, He will show you the way.
Even at school, we can get so anxious about new social situations that we forget about Jesus. Try not to wait for perfection or expect people to respond a certain way. Instead, ask Jesus to bring you the person He wants you to meet today. When he or she walks by, you’ll know it. You’ll feel the tug at your heart that says, “Talk to that person.” Then the only thing left to do is to respond.
Have a Heart
Maybe the problem is that the eagerness isn’t there. I get that. My intense introversion compels me to talk to no strangers ever. But, I also know that I have been called by my Baptism to share my faith with others. The Christian is constantly asked to choose between his comfort and the salvation of souls.
If your desire to share your faith is weak, then double-down on your relationship with God. Start taking prayer and the sacraments more seriously. Start taking your sin more seriously. Ask Jesus to give you His own heart for His people. When He gives you that heart, ask Him to constantly inflame it.
Zeal for the Lord always leads to zeal for souls. Seize the moment! I’m certain that God is waiting to fill you with His love so that you can share that love with everyone around you.