This article is adapted from a Global Missions Podcast interview with Benjamin, a pastor originally from Sri Lanka. In the full interview, he presents an introduction to the teachings and practices of Hinduism and suggests ways that Christ-followers can share the gospel with Hindus in a sensitive way. Listen to the full interview here.
Hindus, generally speaking, are very approachable, very open. Talking about religion and spiritual journeys often fascinates the Hindu, so Benjamin encourages Christians not to back off when you meet a person from a Hindu background. They like Christianity, they like Christ, they like Mary. But sharing the gospel with a Hindu is a long process; you have to be committed to a long-term relationship. Benjamin offers some tips for building that relationship.
1. Take interest in their name.
One of the first things Benjamin encourage Christians to do is to learn the meaning of a Hindu person’s name. Hindu names have meaning and significance, and they are happy when someone takes interest in their name and learns to pronounce it the correct way.
2. Ask good questions.
Benjamin often uses these seven worldview questions to explore a person’s spirituality. They give a good opportunity to figure out where this person stands, and whether they have understood the tenets of their own faith correctly.
3. Give them a Bible.
Hindus love holy books, so don’t shy away from giving them a Bible. Benjamin likes to suggest they start reading in the Gospels.
4. Pray together.
Hindus love prayer. They are fascinated that Christians talk to God in such a personal way. Benjamin likes to end a conversation with a Hindu with prayer for their needs, but in the first part of the prayer, he says a declaration of the gospel.
5. Celebrate together.
Consider inviting them to a relevant gospel event. For instance, you may be surprised to learn that Hindus love to put up a Christmas tree and Christmas lights and to give gifts. Caroling in Hindu homes is a great way to reach out — sing carols, read the Christmas story, and pray over them.
6. Use religious terms carefully.
The concept of sin is a challenge to Hindus. Orthodox Hinduism says that it’s a sin to call someone a sinner! We can’t use the word “sin” and assume that everyone understands it. We have to define sin, talk about the consequences of sin, talk about the character of our God. When we come to the idea that the only way to get to God is through Christ, that becomes a major stumbling block for Hindus. John 14:6 is a verse that would turn them off. But, we have to be faithful and share this truth.
7. Judge not.
If you go into a Hindu home, you’ll see all kinds of idols and pictures. We may be tempted to say something negative, but refrain! Just build a friendship, and on their own later, they might ask questions about idols and then you can talk about it. One explanation Benjamin heard from Hindus is that they want something in front of them to remember to whom they are talking or paying homage.
Thank you, Pastor Benjamin, for sharing from your years of experience! Click below to listen to the full interview with Pastor Benjamin.
This article is reposted with permission from the Global Missions Toolbox, an online resource designed for “SENDers” – faithful Christ-followers who will not necessarily live on a mission field themselves yet are earnest about advancing the Great Commission. Find out more about the Global Missions Toolbox here.