Sharing the story like me.
To get the most from this weeks teaching.
No need for a podblast this week! We briefly cover helping people make a decision to become Christians. Your real work this week is to pick one of the examples that you think might help you find a model you could use as you talk about Jesus to others.
Teaching for Sharing the story like me.
Sorry, no podcast. I've a throat and chest infection so I'm afraid it would be like listening to gravel rolling round in a cement mixer. In its place are note (below). After reading them you can pick from examples of how others share and help others take the decision to follow Jesus. I've tried to give a short bio on each one so you can pick the one you think might be a good fit for you/your context.
So often, Christians do the hard relational work of walking with a non-Christian for weeks, months, or even years and then miss out on that moment of helping that person come into a relationship with God because they have outsourced that part of their witnessing to the professionals. Apparently people trained in ministry ‘know things’, it's their job!
I do believe that it is possible for every Christian to share their own story of Jesus with other people AND that they can help that person take their first steps to becoming a Christian. The other path we sometimes take is thinking that somehow/someway the person will eventually get it. I hear things like “I’m just planting the seed” or “I’m just watering the seed” or “the ground is hard and needs more prayer” but often it's the fear of the unknown that stops us in our tracks. We don’t know if they will be annoyed, offended. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves if we veer into unknown territory and get stuck for words.
At some point it requires us to not only be reactive in sharing our story about Jesus if someone asks, but also to be proactive, where we take the lead and start the conversation. None of this happen in a vacuum. We’ve already covered some of the things that are important.
During exiles we looked at promises and criticisms we practice by virtue of following Christ. This is like the mood music in the background for anyone who encounters us. Our attitude and our character matter. We thought about prayer, I gave you Paul's prayer request as a model. Open opportunities, open hearts and an open mouth. Regardless of whatever prayer model you use, its both fuel to us and places the impact and effectiveness not in our strategy or polished words but on this actually being God's work.
Two weeks ago we talked about Jesus and how he used story. Last week we spoke about Paul and how he explained the story. This week we are thinking about you sharing your story. I’m not one for scripts but some people are and later you’ll have the option to look at some if you’d find that helpful. I want to do some big brush strokes of elements that will help create a generous space for a friend, a neighbour, a colleague or a complete stranger make their own faith commitment. You might be disappointed, I won’t be telling you what to say. Honestly, I know this is scary for many, St Pauls says of himself that he entered moments of talking to others about Jesus with ‘fear and trembling’, scary is normal. But in the words of a wise Aberdeenshire woman, ‘hold your nerve’ when you get into conversations about Jesus. Go the distance.
Going the distance includes offering not just once but probably a few times the opportunity to respond to the conversation and should it be in that moment, a week or a month's time, the opportunity to make a decision to follow Jesus. If they said Yes, would you know what to do (other than get the professionals in!)?