After a sermon on 1 Peter 3:15 (be prepared to give an account of the hope...) there were questions invited.
One question via SMS, but it was 'good' we were told (you know: "Good Question?", like it might have been a poor question).
It was 'how does one 'give an account...?'.
The paid Christian who delivered the sermon said, "It's just practice." Also, "…there’re lots of courses you can do..."
That was it.
So, you tell an 18 year old to 'just practice'. Practice what? Which courses, where?
Completely unhelpful and indeed denigrating answer. If it had been my question at that age, I'd 've been crushed.
Here's my answer:
"I'll be starting a small 'skills' group later this year and I'd invite anyone interested in this question to come along (a bit of quick planning on the hop). In the mean time I want to leave you with three thoughts:
1. Remember its YOUR account. No one can tell you that you're wrong. What is the hope, where it come from, how was hope absent before, what is it now? What's better about now?
2. You don't have to make a 'conversion' in one conversation, just seek to plant a seed/stone in the shoe and answer the question to the depth or not that you want to.
3. When you do speak, manage the conversation. Say what you want to to get the result you want. Have a few types of reasons for why you are a Christian/read the Bible/are part of a church.
and a bonus '4'. Ask questions. When someone makes a spiritual/values type of comment, ask they why they said/think/believe that and explore their response with them.
When you've had such a conversation think about it, maybe keep a journal. Read how other's have presented their faith journey. Study the Bible so you know the way of life (Genesis to Revelation).
Talk to other Christians about your experiences.
Underlining this is be prayerfully conscious of wanting to speak and our Lord will provide the right opportunity at the right time for you to fit into
For me, I was never not a believer. Here's how I might start:
I've always thought that life makes sense that it comes from somewhere. It didn't just happen, but a super always existing mind is behind our own minds, but separate. Not part of us. We're not just an atom assembly, were a real being.