Our Student LINC team is reading God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally by Doug Pollock. Most of us had read it before. But we are discussing to help us better equip our leaders in natural mode evangelism.
Last week during our staff meeting, one coach, Chris West, led a devotion from Colossians 4:1-6. We had a great discussion on what an open door is for the message. Chris told me afterward that since we were going over chapter 3 of God Space, “Noticing Your Way Into Spiritual Conversations”, the Colossians passage could help with our equipping.
He also referenced a resource that he’s used for years in training students at Dartmouth, at conferences, and with his student leaders over a distance. I thought you might find this helpful.
Top Ten Myths About Sharing Your Faith.
- It’s my responsibility to convert people. We are only responsible for what we can do, not what others do. Our responsibility is simply to take the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God. We don’t have to push!
- We can witness without words. By definition a witness is “one who testifies.” As Christians our lives need to be consistent with our words but they are not a substitute for them.
- We must “earn the right to be heard”. Partially true. While there is merit in the idea of gaining a hearing, the notion of “earning the right to be heard” can also put Christians on their heels. Do Hollywood producers call you to ask if you might be offended by the scenes and themes of their upcoming movie? Do your professors distort Christian ideas and qualify their lectures with an apology? All around us people are making bold assertions about what is right and true. We have the TRUTH. We are called to declare it tactfully and assertively.
- My friends already know what I believe. If your friends did understand what you believe and why you believe it, then there’s a good chance they would believe it too. It’s better to ask than assume. You’ll soon discover that people around you have all sorts of false ideas about God and what it means to be a Christian.
- People’s beliefs about God are based on reason. We often assume others have thought about their spiritual beliefs to the extent we have. Many people believe what they do more for emotional reasons or convenience. People often believe what they WANT to believe — what makes them feel good. This is especially true among “postmoderns,” who commonly think, “Whatever you believe about God is fine and true for you, but it’s not for me.” Sometimes you might even succeed in answering a person’s intellectual objections only to find they still resist. We need to lovingly discern “smoke screens” and find the core issues that keep a person away from God.
- People aren’t interested. To the contrary, there is overwhelming interest in discussing the substantive questions of life. Nobody likes to be pushed but there is strong interest in discussing spiritual ideas. By experience we’re seeing that many students are tired of shallow conversation and heavy-hand of political correctness that makes it taboo to talk about God.
- I must have all the answers. “When I came to you brothers I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness, fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Nuff said.
- I must have a close long-term relationship with someone before I can share the gospel with him. While this helps, the gospel’s inherent power is not bound by our personal connections. God might sovereignly bring people across our path for even a brief time, so that we would share the message of Christ with them. Remember the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch? (Acts 8:26-40) Sharing the gospel is a supernatural action that requires supernatural power. That’s why the disciples were told to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be God’s witnesses. (Acts 1:8) That power is available to every believer! Considering the scope of Jesus’ mission to reach the whole world, we can’t afford to wait to develop a close personal relationship with everyone before presenting the message.
- I must wait for people to come up to me, ask me why my life is so different, and ask me to tell them about Christ. Jesus said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 Fishing for men requires initiative on the fisherman’s part, not the fish! Sharing Christ with others is an active endeavor, not a passive one.
- Sharing your faith is inherently confrontational. Most people are uncomfortable with interpersonal confrontation. Sharing your faith should be a conversation not a confrontation. Yes, there is a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm, but on a personal level, people need to know that we genuinely care about them. We need to develop the art of asking good questions and listening. See Luke 2:46-47 The principles in this passage are excellent – very insightful with regard to our personal witness. If someone is clearly uncomfortable discussing God then we should back off. Whoever said that the same social rules that apply in “normal life” don’t apply in personal evangelism?
- 10a Bonus. I must tell a person everything I know about God in every situation. Not every opportunity to share the message is equal. In some cases you’ll have just a minute to talk, ask a question, share an idea, or simply listen. Make the most of it and relax. (Col 4:5) Try to discern how much a person is ready to hear. Jesus Himself said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” John 16:12 Even with His disciples he did not feel compelled to unload everything at once.
Why not ask your leaders to look at Colossians 4:1-6 and ask them what an open door is for the message. Then ask what might hinder them in sharing their faith. You now have 10, actually 11, possible things and some responses.
Spring Coaching Tips
- All good things start (again) with Jesus.
- A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together.
- Select Next Year’s Leadership Now.
- A new 31 Day Experiment.
- Natural mode launching.
Selected Tips from Fall 2016
- “Act as if it were true”.
- Ways a coach helps.
- Did you know…?
- Movement Leadership Forms.
- Ministry beyond ministry.
- Launch and Build Bridges Movements.
- Future Teachers Living Missionally.
- A Destino Multiple Movements Case Study.
- Freshman Takeover Night.
- Some ways to build student leadership.