Evangelism Challenge: I'm Afraid To Share My Faith!

evangelism-challenge

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

Let’s say you were talking in the church lobby with a friend. The sermon series is on the Gospel of Matthew and your pastor has just shared a message about how every Christian is called to share their faith in how they live and by what they say - including sharing the gospel.

Your friend says, “The pastor’s message hit home for me. I know I should be sharing the gospel, but the truth is, I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do or say. It seems like religion never comes up in conversation, and if it did, I’d be the last to jump in with something about Jesus. It would seem so out of place! I just get so nervous about it.”

What would you do or say next?


(Joseph Kamau Njoroge) #2

Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


(Tim Ramey) #3

Many places do speak of, what @Joe_Njoroge mentioned - the Holy Spirit giving you the words to say when you need them. I would encourage the individual to trust that the Holy Spirit would direct them how to answer as each person is different and the Holy Spirit will tailor the reply accordingly.

I think it so interesting that whatever means a lot to us, we end up talking about. If we are into canoeing, often our conversations steer in that direction. Again, I would remind the individual of that fact, not to put guilt on them but to see expression of their faith is because Jesus means so much to us. He’s our everything. Often that is how I begin, by saying that because Jesus means so much to me, I just have to talk about Him. It’s not done out of duty or pressure but because He means the world to us.


(David Schleifer) #4

@CarsonWeitnauer, this is a great question. Thank you.
This strongly catches my eye because of what I went through just last night as I found myself in doubt and second-guessing in my witnessing to a new friend. I realized that so many of my opportunities to share my beliefs, to witness, to argue the Truth have been stifled by my introverted personality, but mostly by my desire to please and to not get any weird looks or ruffle any feathers, so to speak.

In short, when I was sharing with my friend my personal interests, such as hiking and stargazing and studying philosophy and theology, and said to him that I was a Christian by the overwhelming evidence that I’d seen, which includes surviving the plane crash I endured, I was taken aback by his restrained response: “hmm ok.”

But in my second-guessing I’ve forgotten this: I am not the one to open his eyes, to save him, to redeem him. Certainly not! It is the Holy Spirit, as @Joe_Njoroge has cited, who will work in those who do not believe. We are the branches, not the whole working tree. And further, where we are week, He is strong in working through us.

In regard to answering Carson’s question, which can easily be applied toward any if our own hesitations in witnessing, I enjoy this thought:
When finally venturing out into the uncomfortable, it is there that we will find that comfort and courage.


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #5

Hi @CarsonWeitnauer. This question is significant in the life of the church. In general, I do agree with @Joe_Njoroge and @Tim_Ramey that the Holy Spirit will be with us, and I’ll definitely use this fact to encourage a fellow believer in his or her faith.

However, this seems to be not that simple for me. You said that the scenario is that I’m at a church lobby with a friend, and that he is afraid in sharing the gospel.

Before I say anything, I would diagnose first his problem. I would probe further. First off, the friend said there that he does not know what to do or say. I would need him to clarify on that. Does he truly understand the gospel? What is the object of his faith? Is he afraid in case he is asked about a question he does not know the answer to?

Another thing, which I need clarity is why he would say that he’d be the last to jump in with something about Jesus. Like is he hesitant or afraid, since he’s not really living the Christian life? Or is he afraid to offend anyone?

Once he is able to clarify why he said the things he said, that’s when I’ll act or say accordingly to his needs.


(Jennifer Judson) #6

First I think I’d let them know that they’re in a pretty big club. Many of us don’t face our fears when it comes to sharing the gospel.

I agree that probing those fears, to see where there might be specific hurdles is a good suggestion.

Secondly, I’d suggest they pray for opportunities with people where it will flow naturally into the situation–not just jumping in there. If it’s with people you already know, do they know you are a Christian? If not, then examine why your lifestyle is leaving them clueless? Have you ever offered to pray for concerns in their lives?

To overcome fears we have to get pro-active. Is there a class or a small group experience to help build knowledge and confidence? Our church, through small groups all did a study based on Bill Hybel’s “Just Walk Across the Room.” There may be opportunities like this to grow and mature in your faith and find your kingdom purpose.


(Dave Kenny) #7

Great topic

So far, the answers have been excellent. I found myself nodding with each of them. I have very little to add (only one thing really), so I will echo what has been said, and then add

My immediate response would be like @omnarchy. I would come alongside, empathize, and find out more of where the fear is actually rooted. I would also encourage him to specifically pray for an opportunity this very week

The one thing that I would add is that I would offer to do some community service event with him… one organized by the church… a soup kitchen, a wardrobe ministry, something where the church is giving something away to the needy. I would then script him with 2 or 3 statements to get him used to talking.

IE: When giving someone a warm meal, simply say “may this meal bless you”… when someone replies with gratitude, then follow up with “do you have a church that you would call home?”…

Just keep rolling with those two combo’s… the ice will break and some of the fears will be overcome.

After that, feedback and repeat!

So… the gist is, I would try to find a way to “do some witnessing together”.

Dave


(Carson Weitnauer) #8

Hi friends, I think each of you offered very thoughtful answers. Especially because the friend shared they don’t know what to do or say, one way of thinking about the question behind the question is that your friend lacks training. My own follow-up question would be, “That sounds completely reasonable. We are often told TO share our faith but we are rarely equipped to do so. I wonder… has anyone ever trained you how to share your faith? Has anyone ever shown you how to share your faith?”

If they were to say, “no, not really,” then my follow-up question would be: “are you interested in becoming genuinely ready to share your faith with others?” and, if so, I would invite him or her to attend the Sunday community I lead at church.


(Roy Bunger) #9

I can identify with much of the above discussion. I am no longer as “afraid” to share my faith as when I was young, being more confident of the gospel (life experience has a way of quietly confirming to us the truth of scripture regarding the human condition, the nature of God, etc.), but what I struggle with is BEGINNING (getting started, breaking the ice, etc.) It has always seemed to me that any “planned” or “contrived” conversation starter regarding spiritual things falls hollow. I usually wait for some sort of “natural” introduction, which often never comes.

Sometimes, we simply do need to “venture out into the uncomfortable.” And as one of the brothers above mentioned, all true evangelism is ultimately of the Spirit, and we rest and trust in him.

And as another brother mentioned, what is truly in our hearts will simply FLOW OUT. May we be so filled with love for Christ that our desire to obey and please him (and our love for the souls of men) will trump the fear we feel.


(Simon Kinsinger) #10

[quote=“Dave_Kenny, post:7, topic:2515”]
"So… the gist is, I would try to find a way to “do some witnessing together”.
I absolutely love what you said there! The heart of Jesus was to equip, train, and disciple His followers so that they could then go and do likewise. I believe we need more of that kind of discipleship!


(SeanO) #11

I know this is an old thread, but just tonight I went out to play soccer and two guys - Alesandro and Peppe - were already there playing. I introduced myself and we played for about an hour - lots of fun! We sat down to take a break and I thought maybe I should share Jesus - but then I had a moment of doubt. They won’t be interested, I thought. But then my training took over and I simply asked, “Have you guys ever heard the whole story of Jesus from the beginning of creation to the end of all things?”

They shook their heads no and I asked, “Would you like to?” They said they were catholic and would be very interested. I did not have a script and I rambled a bit, but I was shocked to find that every time I looked up they were paying close attention. Apparently a famous rapper had just died - and I was able to tie that in as well. Afterwards, they both thanked me and we played some more.

You guys - please pray for Alesandro and Peppe - that the seeds planted would produce fruit! And as I was reminded tonight - remember that people are curious to hear about God - it is written on the human heart. Praise our Lord Christ!


(Steven Kalinowski) #12

Realizing this is an old thread but really appreciate the start of this thread.
It took me years before wanting to share my faith. There are a few reasons I guess.
1- quite the introvert
2- afraid to not have the answers
3- quite frankly wondering if I was just getting sucked into some kind of group psychology
4- the obvious - don’t want to be ostracized
5 - to be honest - the promise of having the words to speak hasn’t always happened.

Now - still have the fear but once I get started … I really am empowered.

I think it may be good to be sure why we believe or at least be ready for the opposition or one’s faith may get clobbered.
Any thoughts?


(Brittany Bowman) #13

@SeanO, praise the Lord! It is encouraging to hear of your boldness. Thank you for mentoring us here. If you don’t mind my asking, what was the general outline of what you shared?


(Steven Kalinowski) #14

I guess it seems that Christians can be pressured to witness before they are ready and that fear is normal in the process for many.


(SeanO) #15

@Brittany_Bowman1 Amen! Let us pray for both of these guys! As I said, I rambled a bit and I think that is fine, but here is the general outline.

The Fall of Man

Adam/Even lived in perfect world. God gave them one command - do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good/evil. The serpent came into the garden - here I usually briefly discuss 3 points, all throughout emphasizing that satan is a liar and works through distorting truth.

  • Did God really say? satan always begins by questioning God’s Word
  • You will not die - satan denies that sin has consequences - here I tied in the rapper who had died - since they had already said everyone expected him to be killed because of the life he had chosen to live - but more generally sin is destructive in all of our lives. Since they were young men, I talked a little about honoring God with our bodies and how the joy of God is greater than beer/pizza (than when their new wine abounds as it says in Psalms)
  • the fruit is tasty - the lure of sin is like a trap - it pull us in and destroys

Our Sin Separates us from God

Isaiah 59 says our sin puts a wall between us and God. I talked about how we have all fallen short - listed the ten commandments very quickly and Jesus’ interpretation of them. Then discussed how everything we chase but God is a cracked cistern. Sex, career, sports - in the end only God can satisfy the desires of our hearts, but we have cut ourselves off from Him.

Jesus’ work on the Cross

Through Christ we have the hope of being reconciled with God through His death and resurrection. We can overcome sin - we are all slaves to sin - but Jesus can give us the victory. Even as a Christian we will always have a battle between the flesh and the Spirit, but in Christ we are able to walk in the Spirit and not gratify our flesh.

A New Heavens and Earth

I very briefly discussed how this world is very messed up - they had been talking about that before. But how Jesus will one day make it new - no more death, pain or people hurting one another.

I then asked if they had every prayed to know Christ - they were catholic after all. They said no - I asked if they would like to - they said yes. So I prayed over them after giving them a warning - I asked if they were truly willing to attempt to honor God with heart, body and soul because it didn’t matter if not and we are not saved by the faith of our parents, priest or pastor. They said yes and we prayed. Then we chatted some and continued playing.

I probably rambled more than that in reality :slight_smile: But that is roughly what I felt the Lord wanted me to communicate.

Pray for these guys!!!

Do you have any feedback on what I communicated? If you notice there was no complex apologetics - just the good ole Gospel. And in my experience, for 8/10 people, that is really all it takes. Most people are not going to ask you hard questions - even if they have them - without a relationship. And the Gospel is enough to save - yesterday, today and forever! And even if they do ask you hard questions, people respect honesty - if you say you honestly don’t know that is not a problem at all. Most people respect that and will remember your sincere heart. And even when I haven’t had all the answers people often have still wanted me to pray for them - not necessarily to receive Christ but just for their lives - which is a blessing and shows that God had indeed made Himself evident.


(Brittany Bowman) #16

@SeanO, Thank you for sharing this! It’s encouraging to hear your story, and I prayed for your friends this morning. The good ole Gospel is such a powerful message. What a great reminder God already has it packaged and ready to go, he just needs someone to deliver it. Your boldness has been an inspiration.


(SeanO) #17

@Brittany_Bowman1 Thanks for the encouragement and may the Lord truly do a great work in these young men’s lives!


(SeanO) #18

I just wanted to follow up on this and say that God is so faithful! These guys invited me back out to play tonight and instead of two there were eight guys. I was able to share the Gospel with all of them and pray with a young man whose father is a pastor and is planning to be baptized soon. No more accepted the Lord with me, but seeds were planted. It certainly doesn’t always work out this well from my perspective, but it is amazing what God can do when we are willing to just ask those we hang out with if they’ve heard the whole story of Jesus.

Again - please keep all these guys in prayer that the seeds would produce fruit!


(Jimmy Sellers) #19

Bless you brother. May God continue to use you.


(SeanO) #20

Thanks @Jimmy_Sellers - you’re a good guy man.