Sharing your faith in public is the tension we feel as Christians. And to be honest, I think that tension is only going to be pulled tighter and tighter as culture drifts from it’s Christian center. Making Christianity more foreign to outsiders of faith more and more.
But Jesus inserted Himself into a Roman culture that didn’t have a Christian center either. It was actually hostile towards Christians. But yet, Jesus doesn’t come across in Scripture like he is “forcing his convictions upon us. Jesus preached some of the hardest messages, yet crowds continued to flock to Him. Part of the reason I think that faith isn’t potent in our culture is because we get nervous when the term ‘evangelism’ gets brought up. Even recently, surveys point to an overall decline of self-identified Christians.
But faith is still shared.
Here are 4 things to remember as we continue to share our faith in a faith-resistant environments:
1. Think both attractional and incarnational in the age of the “nones”
People are focused and will continue to focus their energies and efforts toward targeting seekers through attractional models of evangelism. Inviting people to your church to worship together and experience a wonderful spiritual experience. My church does this well. But as more young people are growing up with no awareness or little religious memory, people may find the attractional model more difficult to appeal to outsiders. Followers of Christ must learn how to embody the love and service of Christ in their workplace, neighborhoods and friend circles. This incarnational model is simply being, doing and telling good news where we live and work.
2. Cultivate a greater passion for mission
Pastors are not the only ones who are called to the mission of the church. A pastor’s role is to equip others to the work of the ministry of sharing your faith with others. Pastor’s should model how to articulate faith to those who are outside the church by how he/she references outsiders of faith during your weekend experiences. You should feel comfortable bringing an unbeliever to your church and pastor because they will model love, actions and words that will draw your unbelieving friend closer to Jesus. Replicate that passion to those around you. People in the seats on Sunday mornings are never meant to be merely consumers of religious goods and services. We need all of God’s people engaged in God’s mission, from their neighborhoods to the nations.
3. Articulate a clear understanding of the gospel
Sharing the Gospel should not feel like a “I have to do” but an exciting “here’s what Jesus did!” People don’t need self help but to deny self, take up the cross and follow. People don’t need to “turn over a new leaf” but to “live a new life” in Christ. We must articulate a message of faith that expresses Christ dying on the cross and resurrecting. The resurrection of Christ is one of the main hinges on the door of evangelism. Even the Bible says that if there is no resurrection from the dead, our faith is futile and is worthless (1 Corinthians 15:14). So don’t share a message that doesn’t involve the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
4. Focus on discipleship
God made us to grow and gave us an ability to receive growth. This can only happen through intentional awareness and leadership on the part of both leaders and church attenders. Evangelism is moving someone one step closer to Christ. How you grow closer to Christ will also be how others you impact grow closer to Christ. So don’t neglect your own spiritual growth. How you hear from God, study the bible and grow in community will inspire you to share what you are learning and experiences with others so that you can invite others into your thriving life.