Sharing our faith with lost family, friends and strangers can be a daunting task. We all know that we should be good witnesses of the most important message in the universe – that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again – but none of us have the evangelistic gifts of Billy Graham. Some of us have a hard time figuring out how to fit 140 characters into a tweet let alone share the Gospel with clarity. Not to mention the fact that we live in a post-modern post-Christian world and most people think we’re idiots if we still believe in the existence of God.
So how do we practice one of the most basic tenets of our faith, sharing the Good News, with effectiveness? How do we share this 2,000 year old message in a new way in 2015? Here are some valuable truths and simple steps to becoming the light we want to be in a very dark world.
1. Stop Trying to Change People
The first vital truth is to recognize that we are not responsible to change people’s hearts, the Holy Spirit is. God is the one who convicts people of sin. He is the one that draws lost people, reveals truth, shows them how desperately lost they are and brings about the response (John 15:16, John 16:8). We are simply the tool God uses to demonstrate the Gospel in word and action. He does all the important stuff. Knowing that God does all the heavy lifting should take a huge weight of our shoulders.
2. Stop Making Excuses not to Witness
The second vital truth is to realize that sharing the Gospel is not for people with special gifts or abilities but for every person who claims to follow Christ. We are not “called” but commanded to bear Christ to all people in all places at all times. The best part about this is that we are uniquely equipped to do it through the grace of the Holy Spirit and His Word. The Gospel message itself is the source of power and transformation, not your presentation, personality or prize-winning haircut (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
3. Start With Your Story
You don’t need to be an ex-gang member Asian refugee like me to have a story. Everyone has a story and it is worth sharing. It begins with life BEFORE you were committed to Christ. Climax’s at HOW you met Christ or gave your life to Him. And ends with how your life has been changed AFTER knowing Christ (Acts 26:1-5). Take some time to write down your story. Practice reading it out loud to yourself and most importantly keep it under 60 seconds.
4. Share Jesus Story
You are not witnessing if you are not sharing the actual Gospel message, which is simply the truth about Jesus dying for our sins, being buried, yet rising again to prove His claims AND that through Him all people can be saved through repentance and faith (Luke 25:45-48). This must be shared in a way that others can easily understand. Remember to always address the basic worldview of the lost people in your community who might be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Animist or Agnostic. The core Gospel will always remain the same but the manner in which you share varies from people to people.
One way to share with people in the U.S. is to use the bridge illustration which is simple enough to draw on a Starbucks napkin. Using Romans 6:23 as your outline, you can easily draw a little guy that is separated from God by a huge chasm of sin. Then you draw a cross bridging the gap explaining that Jesus’ death and resurrection is the only hope we have for reconciliation with God. Finally, remember to always ask for a response, “Where are you standing now? What is stopping you from going to the other side?” Take some time to practice this and draw it all over your bedroom wall.
5. Seek Out People that God’s Already Prepared
We already mentioned that the Holy Spirit is the one who draws lost people; so that means that He has already prepared them to be spiritually open. The only way to find these spiritually open people is to use spiritual means. Jesus gives us some principles for finding “People of Peace” in Luke 10. In this passage Jesus sends out his disciples to share God’s love, power and Kingdom message of repentance with lost people. The disciples experience much rejection but there are a few people who invite them into their homes. These people of peace are the ones who receive the Kingdom messenger, accept the Kingdom message and invite others from their relational networks. The story of the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:31-34, is an example of how he and his entire oikos (Greek for household) came to faith because God had already prepared him as a person of peace.
Normal people have been sharing this extraordinary message for over 2,000 years. They have been sharing it with lost friends at parties, family members over a meal and strangers in the marketplace. Nothing has changed. Just because culture changes doesn’t mean our message is irrelevant. The Gospel will last while the world passes away. And if the Gospel is really the most important message in the universe, then why are you waiting to share it? Happy New Year.