Youth pastors, like myself, often teach our students to be bold in
their faith. We reference many faith heroes in the Bible who proclaim
God’s truth and how the hope found in Jesus can change everything.
is good. Really good, in fact. Most of us, as humanity, are very
uninterested in talking about faith, religion or really most things
that are substantial. I’m not of the line of thinking that every
conversation has to be deep, but being intentional on occasion could do
all of us some good. Oftentimes, when people share their faith, they
will talk about doing street evangelism. If you don’t know what street
evangelism is, the essence is that you go and talk to strangers and try
to get them to accept Christ as their Savior. Now, I completely
understand the urgency of the Gospel, and that it is definitely Good
News for all. The problem lies in the approach. Experiences like these
often just push others farther away from God, accomplishing a result
that is the complete opposite of the initial goal for us as followers.
I was in seventh grade, I remember going around my local mall and trying to
start conversations with people about God. My only motivation was to
see them accept Christ into their lives. I had the Bible tracts, the
five-question survey (with the last question asking if someone would
want to be saved right now), and the training to change a
conversation to intentionally ask this stranger whether or not
they knew Jesus. My motivation was pure. The problem lied in the fact
that I did not know this person. I did not know their experiences. I
didn’t know their family history. I didn’t know if they had just had a
tragedy strike their lives. I didn’t know if they were interested in
spirituality at all. Here I was, forcing myself into their lives to try
to get them saved. Looking back, I wonder if all these acts were just
efforts to make myself feel better about my own insecurities in my
faith. It’s as if I wasn’t leading enough people to Jesus or something.
I got to high school and college, I abandoned the street evangelism
tactic. I wholeheartedly believe God can work in any way, through
any situation; I just found that it wasn’t working for me. Most people
I talked to saw right through my naivety and walked away after rolling
their eyes at me. But I did not stop sharing my faith. I ended up
sharing my faith with many of the people God had put in my life. The
kid sitting next to me in band. A friend on the basketball team. My
roommate. And even my family.
But sharing God’s story of redemption
and how our hope is found in Him was much more difficult with people I
loved. I couldn’t merely say what I wanted and move onto the next one.
I would be asked tough questions that I did not always have the answers
to and still have to live in community with these people for a long
time after our discussions. And the dialogues were ongoing. It was not
just a one-time event, a one-and-done type deal. It was difficult. And
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe 100 percent in a conversion
experience, but the process of coming to find the truth is a journey.
To just save souls to chalk them up as a notch on a spiritual belt or
to be able to brag to your Christian friends is just boasting. And that
makes God upset. Paul writes the following in 1 Corinthians:
chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the
things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may
boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,
holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who
boasts boast in the Lord.”
When I came to you, brothers, I did not
come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the
testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with
you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness
and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not
with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the
Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but
on God’s power.
Paul approaches his teachings in “weakness and fear,
and with much trembling.” He comes humbly to plead with the church at
Corinth that they may see the Spirit’s power. Even Paul, who writes
two-thirds of the New Testament, is scared to present this message.
When we take these actions into our own hands, it is actually going
against what God would have us do.
That’s why I think it is good to
be scared to share your faith. If you are nervous about sharing your
faith with someone, it likely means you care, and care deeply about
that person. It’s easy to haphazardly tell someone to listen to you
because you have the truth. It’s extremely difficult to tell the ones
you love about a God who has changed your life. It’s intimidating
because you know right after this difficult conversation, you might
experience some awkwardness. Or disagreements. After this seemingly
difficult experience, it is often back to the mundane. You head to do
the dishes together and watch television for the night. You will still
be in connection with this person you love for a long time. This is the
beauty and hardship of evangelism.
The next time you are nervous
about sharing your faith, know that it is OK. This shows you care, not
necessarily that you are ill-equipped or not educated enough. God is
your confidence (Psalm 71:5) and God is your strength (Psalm 46:1). Be bold
and push yourself if you are apathetic toward ever sharing your faith,
but don’t become one of those bullhorn guys either.
So … what do you think? Is
it actually good to be scared to share your faith? Does that really
show you care about the person you are trying to converse with?
Sigmon is a writer at TaintedCanvas.com and is a young worship and
youth pastor in Rochester, NY. He enjoys basketball, laughing
and his fiancé, Sarah.