If following Jesus is good, and we believe it is, then the loving, compassionate thing to do is to share that goodness with others. If what Jesus teaches is true, and we believe it is, then the implications of this life upon the next are hugely significant. Jesus teaches that hell exists and that people who choose not to pursue God will, in the end, be granted their wish. They will exist for all eternity apart from God. Whether there be literal flames or not, the worst thing about hell is this separation from God.
Most people comfort themselves by the thought that they are seeking “God” and that, therefore, all should work out well. The issue becomes more sensitive, however, when we begin to reflect on how Jesus taught that he himself is God. If we grant the truth of this claim, than for anyone truly to seek God, he or she must recognize God in Christ. To choose away from Christ is to choose away from God. This is why Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” The alternative is to deny that Jesus is God, but to do so is to say he must have been deluded or a liar. Neither of these options are consistent with the soundness of his teaching nor the impact he’s had on human history. So we are confronted with this unique circumstance: he claims to be God (usually an indication of craziness) but in every way appears anything but deluded or false. No one in the history of the world combines such a radical claim with so much sanity. As one person put it, “No one has ever thought of the word Jesus should have said.” To pursue God is to pursue Christ.
Given this background, how should a thoughtful, loving Christian go about sharing his or her faith with others? We often make this more complicated than it needs to be. At bottom, it is no different than telling someone about some aspect of who we are. There are all kinds of ways to do this, depending on personality. Most people just need to find their voice. The “Faith Story” worksheet and the book recommendations below will help you to do just that (see especially, “Becoming a Contagious Christian.”)
There are some important principles to remember. 1) Sharing our faith, contrary to how it can feel sometimes, is actually the loving thing to do. Not sharing is an act of selfishness. 2) Avoid slipping into a “you are my project” mentality. God brings non-believers into our lives for myriad reasons (for friendship, to teach us something, so that we might share our faith, etc) and being open to developing a full orbed relationships where there is both give and take is what is expected of us. 3) Be open to all kinds of opportunities. Sometimes we obsess about one person (usually a family member) and close our eyes to other opportunities around us. It is all about God’s timing and it is a shame to waste good opportunities while we focus all our effort on that one person who might not be ready yet. 4) Learn to pray and pay attention to God’s promptings. One of the greatest aspects of sharing our faith is the way it helps us to develop a richer, more urgent relationship with the Lord. 5) Finally, sharing your faith is easier in community. Talk to your friends about what is going on and ask them to pray.
My Faith Story (worksheet)
Out of the Saltshaker, by Becky Pippert
Becoming A Contagious Christian, by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleberg
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J.I. Packer
The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman
Just Walk Across the Room, by Bill Hybels
1. Work out your faith story and practice sharing it with the people in your Home Group
2. Choose a Gospel presentation pathway and have someone in your home group pretend to be a non-believing friend while you share the Gospel with him or her.
3. Along with your Home Group members, commit to share the Gospel at least once this week. At the next meeting, share your stories.