I sat in an ordinary sorority chapter meeting my senior year of college. A sister that I knew of but didn't really know, Mel, sat down next to me and we started talking, getting hushed several times over the course of the hour.
After the meeting ended, we traded numbers and continued to stay in touch. She began asking me more about my faith and I mean it when I say she asked some HARD questions.
There were so many times I felt unsure of how to say the right thing and often doubted I had a good enough answer. But she continued to ask and seek and share her heart on road trips and during movie nights.
We became close friends quickly and during spring break of our senior year, we went on a mission trip together. After several days full of more prayer and questions, we reached the last day of the trip.
We looked for a place to escape the crowd so we could pray and came upon a little copy room.
“That'll do,” I remember thinking as I opened the door.
And there we were, on a copy room floor. both of us in tears, as she said, “I'm done fighting it. I'm just ready. I'm so ready,” and she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. It was raw and real and such a beautiful moment of surrender.
Over the past couple of years, I've watched her grow more and more into the woman God crafted her to be, pursuing more and more of Jesus.
This past weekend, she was baptized. I share this story with you not only because of how in awe I am of God and how He works but also to encourage you in this:
I believed the lie that I was too young and unqualified and broken to share my faith when Mel started asking questions. God proved me wrong. You are never too young or unqualified or too broken to share your faith.You are never too young or unqualified or too broken to share your faith. Click To Tweet
Mel believed the lie that she wasn't worthy of a personal relationship with Jesus. God proved her wrong, too. You are never too unqualified or too messed up or too far to fall into His arms, even if it's on a copy room floor with tears making your mascara run down your cheeks.You are never too unqualified or too messed up or too far to fall into His arms Click To Tweet
So if you're not sure how to share your faith, here's my take on it:
Maybe it's best just first admit you don't have all the answers–both to yourself and to the friend you hope to reach–and just pray over them and/or with them instead. There's a lot of power in prayer.Maybe it's best just first admit you don't have all the answers. Click To Tweet
Don't be afraid to show your own brokenness and be vulnerable yourself. It's stronger testimony for someone to see you relying on Jesus than pulling yourself together and keeping up a perfect image. Sharing your faith is done best when you pray for wisdom, become a constant student of the Word, ask her questions, invest in her, listen to their pain, hug through the tears, and let your only answer be the Gospel.Don't be afraid to show your own brokenness. Click To Tweet
I've heard it said that simple way to be prophetic is to share your story–what you've seen God do in your life–and offer hope.A simple way to be prophetic is to share your story and offer hope. Click To Tweet
Everyone is ultimately looking for hope. Hope for healing, hope that they have meaning, hope that there's more to life than what meets the eye.
Because this life is hard and confusing sometimes and all I really know that the answer is Jesus. He is the hope and if you walk in that hope–if your life continuously reveals HIM (not your knowledge or moral compass or anything else) as the answer, if you consistently cling to the Rock and let it be known that you've come to the end of yourself and rely only solely on your God, that is attractive.This life is hard and confusing sometimes and all I really know that the answer is Jesus Click To Tweet
Is it perfect? Nope. It shouldn't be. But it points to the One who IS perfect and the only One who can do the saving.
This isn't about succeeding or failing…you can't fail (in a big picture sense) if it is of God. you don't do the saving anyway. He does. You might make mistakes but you can't mess up His plan no matter how hard you try.
The key to sharing your faith with your friends is finding common ground.
My pastor recently taught the difference between effective, Relational Evangelism and Proselytizing, which are two very different things.
Proselytizing is the attempt to convert someone from one religion, belief, or opinion to another. This is generally what people think of when they hear the word evangelism. However, proselytizing doesn't require developing a connection with someone, knowing them, or their heart (or really caring much about it) at all.
This kind of sharing of faith is what tends to turn people off because it's pushing a belief on someone without really loving or knowing them first. Of course that's offensive!
However, relational evangelism is to remove unnecessary barriers to keep people from knowing, trusting, and following Jesus. It's done in such a way that it is gracious and attractive because it essentially says, “I found something GOOD that's been GIVEN TO ME (not that I was good or perfect enough to earn) and I want to tell you about it. Then, you can decide for yourself.”
It's not a debate or a matter of trying to convince or act like you've got it all figured out. That's when the ugliness of pride shows its face and thats when you lose people.
So, how can you really do this, practically? Here's what I recently learned that I'm going to pass on to you:
- Communicate: I care about you enough to the Truth IN LOVE
- Communicate: I care about you more than I care about proving I'm right
- Make fewer statements and ask more questions: seek to understand them, their position, and their heart.
- Don't be combative or offensive: don't turn it into a debate. You will need to stand by Truth but don't cut them down or let your pride push you over the edge.
- Ask permission to share! Put THEM in the driver's seat. If your life backs up what you say you believe, if you love with humility and kindness and intentionality, you can respect them as a person by giving them the option to hear. Say something like, “I'd love to tell you sometime what God has done in my life and if you'd like to hear about it, I'd love to tell you.” This opens the door for you to share your testimony and connect with them instead of just showing them a little booklet with four steps to salvation. 😉
Again, it's ultimately about finding common ground, seeking to understand, and sharing with the full confidence that Jesus is the only one who can change anyone and He alone has the power to change everyone.
So, you really have nothing to fear. Take the pressure of yourself to know it all or have it all together.
Because the fact of the matter is that it's not about you or about being right or proving anything.
You share your faith by the grace of God, not by the will of self.You share your faith by the grace of God, not by the will of self. Click To Tweet
Be open, be honest, be available to listen and approachable enough to talk to. Don't force it but don't fight it. Keep your eyes peeled. Have those conversations even when the enemy tries to hush you. Listen when you're tired. Stay up late eating popcorn and talking if that's what it takes. Ask the hard questions, admit when you don't know the answers and look to the Word. Share the Truth. Ultimately: tell fear to take a hike, surrender your pride, rely on Holy Spirit, and just pray.
Beautiful things happen not because of what we do but because of what God has done and because of what He does.
Here are a few verses to encourage you when it comes to sharing your faith:
1 Peter 3:15-16 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
2 Timothy 1:7-8 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God
Luke 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
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