The advent of a New Year is always a great time to re-calibrate our lives for what matters most. The same is true for our church family. The challenge before us is always to answer this question: How can we more effectively reach our generation with the good news about Jesus? GOD IS AT WORK in the world, drawing people to himself. How can we be a part of it?
The answer that comes up for me is twofold.
First, there is the power of invitation. Christians should be inviters. This means invite someone to tap into their spiritual side. It can happen by inviting people to church, or to a small group or a class. It can happen when you invite someone for coffee, or to come into your home. Relational faith sharing, sometimes called “friendship evangelism,” is the most effective in today’s world.
Secondly, and closely related to the first, is to share your own faith story with others. Depending on the circumstance, you should be able to share the story of how you came to faith in a minute or two, but then also be able to go into greater detail and perhaps share for the better part of an hour. In our Crosswalk Connect class, I share my faith story in less than 5 minutes. Here’s a suggested outline: My life before connecting with Jesus; how I got connected to Jesus by faith; and what my life is now that I’m walking with the Lord.
Here’s something interesting from C.S. Lewis on this subject. He once wrote a somewhat obscure essay entitled, “Modern Man and his Categories of Thought.” Interestingly, this was written way back in 1946, yet it is remarkably applicable in today’s world. Lewis contends that when the New Testament was written, and the early church was spreading like a summer wildfire, the evangelistic task was to reach people in three groups: Jews, Judaizing Gentiles, and Pagans. Here’s what these three groups had in common, which was a touchstone for reaching them with the good news about Jesus:
- All three believed in the supernatural
- All were conscious of sin and feared divine judgment
- Each offered some form of personal purification and release
- They all believed the world had once been better than it now was (in other words, that we live in a somehow ‘fallen’ world)
But now, Lewis argued, the average person probably shares in perhaps none of those marks. In other words, faith sharing is more difficult now. But here’s what is working for us: Every person has a spiritual void in their life that the Lord Jesus came to fill. The Holy Spirit is working to draw people to faith. We can be a conduit for the Spirit’s work.
Can I challenge you to be an inviter in 2017?
Can I also challenge you to be a sharer of your faith story in 2017?
I’m praying that 2017 will be an epic year for you personally, and for the Crosswalk Church family. Remember, God is at work!
Love in Jesus,
P.S. I love faith stories! Each year, Christianity Today shares the “Top Ten” Testimonies of 2016. Follow the link to access them. I promise you good reading. Here are some teasers:
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Gavin Peacock: Professional Soccer Was My God
My sense of well-being depended entirely on my on-field performance.
Mitali Perkins: When God Writes Your Life Story
Even while I was raised far from Christian faith, God revealed himself through classic children’s books.
Marcus Doe: Why I Forgave the Man I Once Plotted to Kill
Revenge fantasies were darkening my heart before I trusted in Jesus.
Kathie Lee Gifford: How Billy Graham Led Me to Christ
My Christian faith got me to and through Hollywood.
GOD IS AT WORK IN PEOPLE’S LIVES! PASS IT ON!