We are not all evangelists…
Talking to other people about our faith can be VERY difficult, and for all sorts of different reasons. Today there is also a lot less of the negative attitude towards faith that there was, even twenty years ago. In fact, people are often more open to hearing about faith than we might think. But that still doesn’t make it easy to do.
Perhaps there are a few things it is helpful to remember at the start. We are not all Billy Graham (if you remember him) or Ashley Evans! And that’s ok. In fact it’s the way we are meant to be. The apostle Paul talks about being an evangelist as a gift of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:11). Jamie reminded us at the synod last week that we are all given different spiritual (and natural) gifts (1 Corinthians 12) – and we are not all evangelists. So when we talk about our faith, or our experience of God, to other people, we don’t have to be able to explain the whole gospel message and then expect a commitment from them right then and there. If we start with that expectation, it is likely we will be disappointed and perhaps quite disillusioned.
…but we can be witnesses
We may not all be evangelists, but we are all witnesses. I think it is a bit different for witnesses. Witnesses can only talk about what they have personally seen or experienced. So we can only really talk about Jesus as much as we know, or have experienced, for ourselves. This does NOT mean that if we can’t explain the whole gospel then we don’t have a proper faith. Our faith is a gift from God. None of us has a complete or perfect understanding, or experience of God. We only have what we have been given, and we cannot look down on someone else, or on ourselves, because of what we might think is a ‘lesser’ faith (theirs or ours).
So it is ok that we do not know, or understand, everything about our faith, but it can still be difficult to know what to say. Let’s just pause for a moment. I wonder what difference God has made in your life? It might not be obvious to you at first, and it might need a bit of thought and reflection, but this could be the starting point of our witness. I wonder what it was that first attracted you, and then perhaps what has kept you coming back, to Jesus? I wonder where your faith began?
Join us to explore a bit further
Even with these starting points, it can still be difficult to know what to say or do. But there are other small and simple steps that we can take, sometimes without even saying anything at all, to witness to our faith. To explore some of these ideas a bit further come and join our next ‘What is mission…’ zoom conversation on Tues 22nd March, 7.30-8.30pm. Contact me for the zoom details.
Jon Steel (Synod Mission Advocate)