1/30/17 Randy about 40
I walked up to the man in the coffeeshop today and asked about his beliefs. He turned out to be Randy, a Christian who shares his faith by trying to be a good example to coworkers and waiting for them to ask about his faith. He has had to wait a long time for any sign of interest. “I can’t do what you do, just walk up to random strangers like that” he told me. He thought it was a spiritual gift that only a few people are born with. It is not. What it is, though, is God’s expectation that we will use gifts available to us all to share our faith. Gifts like our time, health, the Bible, prayer, our testimony, patience, compassion. That said, I believe there are three main reasons why more Christians don’t reach out with the Gospel.
1.) Lack of Vision. Jesus provided vision when He said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” How many of our church leaders can say that? How many lead by example in the area of personal evangelism, taking us with them on the streets rather than just using their preaching platform to witness? We need bold leaders who show by example how to share our faith in a way that can be replicated, rather than just telling us to bring people to church to hear them preach the Gospel.
2.) Lack of Preparation. Peter wrote “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” First, do you read the Bible with the intention of sharing it with others? Do you talk to God about people with the intention of talking to people about God? In addition, now there are so many resources available - books, videos, podcasts. Don’t wait until your church has a class, take the initiative yourself. Lack of preparation is no excuse for those who are serious about sharing their faith.
3.) Lack of Practice. The way I approached Randy in the coffeeshop today is very different from the awkward way I approached people when I first started reaching out on the streets years ago. It has taken a lot of practice, and I am still learning. Here again, we need bold leaders to tag along with and learn from. Jesus said it is the wise who put His words into “practice”, and He sent his disciples out by two’s to do just that. They didn’t seem like they were ready, but if He had waited until they were perfect, they would never have gone out.
These three ingredients are interdependent. Practice inspires us to seek further preparation, and none of it will happen without vision. Try to envision yourself one day with no fear in sharing your faith because you are well prepared and have had lots of practice. Pastors, envision your congregation regularly sharing the Gospel as they follow your bold example. Without your leadership, it will never be embedded in your church’s culture, and you will be simply a keeper of an aquarium rather than leader of fishers of men.