When was the last time you shared your faith with someone?
I ask, not to shame those of us who haven’t talked to anyone about Christ in quite a while, but to draw us back to the journey.
We hesitate to talk to people about the Lord for any number of reasons. Maybe certain aspects of witnessing don’t fit our personality temperament. Or we don’t know what to say. Or we don’t feel we’re a good enough person to adequately represent Christianity. Or we fear rejection.
However you slice it, there’s some aspect of pain we’re trying to avoid. The truth is, to witness for Christ, each of us has what Pastor Rico Tice calls a “pain line” we have to cross.
My wife, Jean, is the only Christian among her four siblings. Not long ago, her mom passed away, and Jean called for a family conference. Everybody sat down in the living room, and Jean went through a detailed explanation of the Gospel and shared what her faith meant to her. At one point, one of her brothers put his hand up and said, “Jeanie, I love you, but I’m an atheist. I don’t believe any of this.”
That’s the pain line.
Crossing it isn’t easy. It takes a certain amount of courage and a whole lot of God’s grace. But I think it’s also helpful to have a few mental handles to hang onto that can help you feel more comfortable when those conversations arise.
It’s also good to know how God has equipped you specifically for communicating the Gospel. What are you most comfortable with? What fits your gifts and abilities?
On our program today, we’ll discuss all of that and more with Pastor Rico Tice, the senior minister of evangelism at All Souls Church in Langham Place in London. He developed an evangelism tool called Christianity Explorer, which introduces people to Jesus all around the world. His thoughts about sharing Christ are thoroughly tested, and he’ll help us better understand how God wants to use each of us.
In a nutshell, Pastor Tice breaks down sharing the Gospel like this:
At the heart of the Gospel is Jesus, and there are three things we want people to know about Him: who He is – His identity; why He came – His mission; and what it means to follow Him – His call.
What’s our role in conveying those messages? The New Testament talks about evangelism in three different ways. Scripture describes the “evangelist,” who’s job is to equip God’s people for works of service. Then there’s the “pastor” talked about in 2 Timothy 4. Thirdly, all of us are to be witnesses. But Pastor Tice warns us, the word “witness” has its root in the word “martyr,” so there’s no reason to expect that it’ll be easy.
And how do we witness effectively? Pastor Tice offers these four suggestions:
First, celebrate people. God has divine plans that puts people in our paths. Get to know them. Celebrate them.
Secondly, serve them. Who are your neighbors, and what are their biggest pressures? How can you come alongside them in those areas of their lives?
Thirdly, “telling.” In other words, out of the context of your friendship with them, look to speak to them in ways that address the deeper needs of their heart. This will require you to inch up to and cross the “pain line” in some way.
Fourth, “exiting.” When you’re speaking to a neighbor, if they don’t respond well to the direction you’re taking the conversation, exit it and return to building the relationship. Wait for another opportunity some other time.
But the point is to be willing to take a risk. You might meet resistance. But you might discover a sense of hunger that you can speak into.
If you struggle in sharing your faith, today’s program is for you. We’ll discuss at length how to walk through each of these steps, how to handle fear and rejection, and what to do when you don’t know the answers you think you should.