“Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT)
One of the most frightening, yet, most satisfying things I’ve done and do, is to share my faith with someone I don’t know well or may have just met. It’s frightening because a person’s soul may be on the proverbial line, and it’s satisfying when they open their heart and mind to Jesus. In the churches I served, one vital component of my tenure as pastor was pouring what I know about sharing my faith into others who were hungry to learn.
In a recent Turning Point devotional David Jeremiah shared these statistics: “According to a Lifeway Research survey, 66 percent of Christians ‘are not familiar with any “methods for telling others about Jesus.”’ Additionally, 70 percent of the Christians interviewed ‘have not shared with a stranger how to become a Christian in the past six months.’ John Sorensen, president of Evangelism Explosion, said, ‘Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith, yet this study reveals few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism.’”
Evangelism Explosion is the training I took and used to train people in my church. During the training we would split up and go into neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and sharing with anyone who would listen. In one training event I attended we were sent into a neighborhood where there’d been a number of break-ins and robberies, so we thought we’d be wasting our time. But I was amazed at the number of people who not only opened their doors but invited us in to hear the Good News we were eager to share.
It can be intimidating to share when you don’t feel confident in what to share, but another common fear is that someone will ask you a question to which you’re not trained to answer, or they’ll become confrontational or argumentative. In more than 50 years of sharing my faith, I’ve never had either of those things happen, and it’s not because I’m so smart or well versed. It’s simply because God has chosen the person with whom we share before He chose us to share with them.
Yes, of course, people ask questions, we want them to; otherwise, we can’t tailor our presentation to their need. And yes, I’ve been asked questions I didn’t have an answer for, but I felt quite comfortable saying to them: “That’s a great question, one for which I don’t have an adequate answer. So, how about you do some research, and I’ll do some research and let’s meet in a week to share what we find out.”
Something else we too often allow Satan to magnify in our mind is that it’s about what we know, but that’s focusing on the wrong thing. Yes, we should have a track to run on, but sometimes our “track” is interrupted, and we have to be flexible. In those times it’s critical that we realize the bottom line isn’t “what” we know, it’s “Who” we know. I’ve grown quite confident that whenever I’m led in a direction that causes me to shift my planned outline, the Holy Spirit will guide me in how I need to respond.
The most comforting and encouraging aspects of sharing our faith with someone is realizing that God is using us to help someone understand, not only how to prepare for heaven, but how to have a growing, intimate relationship with the King of the universe. Explaining to someone the great news of who Jesus is and what He accomplished on our behalf, isn’t about “hell insurance.” It’s about knowing, loving, serving, and walking faithfully with the One who literally sacrificed His life in our place. Why did He make such a sacrifice? To open to us the opportunity to walk with Him in life’s pathways, assuring us that we’ll never walk alone.
That’s the most loving thing we can ever do for anyone. Please don’t deprive yourself of any opportunity He gives you to offer that tremendous gift to someone who needs to hear it.
Blessings, Ed 😊