Simple steps on how to share your stories of faith.
Who loves a good story? I know I do. And the best stories are the ones where we get to know someone better. A surefire way to engage someone is to tell them part of your personal story. Here is one of mine.
I was 14 and attending my first church camp. I was not interested in God or faith as I did not grow up in the church. My family had just moved to a tiny Arkansas town which did not even have a stop light. It was a far cry from the suburbs of the Houston I had left behind. I was at church camp because I was invited and I thought, "Why not?" I had nothing else better to do.
There was a hell, fire, and brimstone preacher who came to speak. Honestly, all he talked about was hell, fire, and brimstone and it literally scared the hell right out of me, and I accepted Christ that evening. Later the same evening as I tossed and turned in the top bunk, all I could see were the images of hell, destruction, and death the preacher had spoken about. As an expert insomniac at 14 years old, these images did not help. I was so frightened I crawled out of my bunk and into the bunk of the female youth minister, who was gracious enough to let me sleep beside her.
While literally scaring the hell out of a person can work in terms of sharing our faith, I am going to go out on a limb and say I do not think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said to share our faith with others in Matthew 28:18-20. Sharing our stories of how God has changed our lives should be an invitation to relationship, not an exit strategy from hell.
Simple steps of sharing your faith
1. Live out the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (NIV) Why would anyone want to follow God if Christians do not act any different. Or, more importantly, if following God did not make a difference in this difficult world we live in?
2. Make God talk a part of your everyday routine. I work at a religious affiliated university. It amazes me when I discover a colleague who is a Christian. The reason it amazes me is because I rarely ever hear anyone mention God, faith, the Bible, what they learned in church the past Sunday, or anything of this sort. If God is actually important in your life, you will talk about it. If someone asks you how your day is going, mention your morning devotional and how it helped you focus for the day or how the message really spoke to an area of your life. You do not have to stand on a tabletop and say, "Excuse me everyone, excuse me, I am going to talk about God now." Simply incorporate God talk into your everyday conversations, like you would with anything else going on in your life. It should be effortless.
3. Understand the context. Where you are and what you are in the middle of doing matters. If I am a guest preacher, I could be much more direct and blunter. I could step on a lot of toes. If I am with a new logic class at the beginning of the semester, I will ease into the discussion of God slowly and over time. And, if I am writing a blog, then I am basically no holds barred. Sometimes launching into how to be saved it what is called for, more often than not, it is a story here, a story of there of the wonderful works of God in your life.
4. Ask good questions. Good questions can change circumstances, good questions can change a life. Just look at so many of the stories related to Jesus. The man could ask unbelievable questions that would cut to the heart of the mater. Jesus' questions caused people to examine their actions and their relationship with God. They invited personal response.
5. Trust God to move. Our job is to be a light for God, not to be God. Not that we could even if we tried. Our job is to witness, and God's job is to move in the hearts of the people. You may never know what happens to the seeds you plant, but God calls you to plant, nevertheless. Trust God, who loves us more than we could ever imagine to the love the friend, co-worker, son, daughter, or parent. Trust God, who will continue to woo through prevenient grace long after our words are a forgotten memory.
6. Release. Release the idea evangelism is a street preacher on a corner harassing walkers passing by. Release the idea sharing your faith requires a seminary degree. Release the idea you cannot talk about God at work. Release the idea leading others to Christ is someone else job.
Who taught you about God? Who led you to accept Christ? Now think, what if the individual thought it was someone else's job. Where would you be?
Now, look back on your life to the countless individuals who kept pointing you back to the most wonderful and amazing God even after you knew Him. I can name names and see faces: Sarah, Lynn, Mabel, Joe, Greg.... What if they thought it was someone else's job to help you course correct?
There comes a point when the job is yours and your alone.
This is the last blog in the 6 Spiritual Habits series. If you missed the other blogs in this series, go back and read them as they build upon one another. Feel free to follow me on Instagramor Facebook and share posts and make comments as you see fit. Also, if you have not signed up for my email list, please do so. I send out bi-monthly newsletters and am currently working on a special gift for my subscribers.