Why I’m on the ‘Back-Foot’ with conversations!

Body language can make such a difference.

Sharing your faith in conversations with others can sometimes be a challenge. The most useful hint I’ve discovered over the years and the most talked about tip I have ever shared is a principle I call “Back-Foot evangelism” or “sharing on the Back-Foot”.

Body language is very important when sharing your faith with others. The times that my body language has been too aggressive (what I call ‘Front-Foot evangelism’) have not gone well however when I’ve been more relaxed, conversations have been better.

If I physically lean backwards whilst sharing with others (standing or sitting), I naturally come across less aggressive, more relaxed and people in my experience have been more open to the conversation.

I actually tell myself to get on the ‘Back-Foot’ (position my body to lean backwards) when I’m talking with others. The opposite is for me to lean forward, to get in people’s personal space and come across over enthusiastic. You see, I’m quite passionate about sharing my faith and it’s easy for my body language to become aggressive and too pushy if I’m not careful.

And in Australia, lets face it, most people are not too keen on this!

Here’s an example about a potential conversation about the reality of God.

In this type of a conversation I have at times jumped in and let people know all too enthusiastically that God is so very real and that they should check him out.

I am sure you can imagine an enthusiastic, ‘Front-Foot’ way to communicate this.

A less aggressive way, the ‘Back-Foot way” when your neighbor asks you how you are, could be…

“I’m pretty good thanks. I did have an interesting thing happen to me recently though. I’ve been looking for a job and in desperation decided to start praying about it. Well, I’m not sure what you think about God but honestly, I went for an interview last week and finally got a job. I couldn’t help wonder if God had answered my prayer! What about you, do you think that faith and the whole Jesus stuff? Could it be real?”

You see this is relaxed, it does not have an overtone of pushing something on someone and it’s opened ended.

It gives the other person an opportunity to respond to my situation and share their thoughts. It shows respect in giving them an opportunity to answer and their response may reveal some interesting details.

It may give understanding on where we are coming from and why they do or do not believe in spiritual things. I guess it has the potential to open up a realm of possibilities, it has the potential to give me a glimpse into their heart and helps me shape an appropriate response.

I’ve never been disappointed when I have taken a ‘Back-Foot’ approach to conversations.

As you go about your daily life, can I encourage you to have conversations on the ‘Back-Foot’, to relax, to lean back, to ask open-ended questions and take the journey with people as they explore faith. Body language can really make a difference.


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