Posts tagged Witnessing
The Introverts Awesome Guide to Sharing Your Faith




The story is told of a man who desperately wanted to share his faith but he was afraid. So he began praying a special prayer to God. "Lord, I'm too scared to tell people about Jesus but if you give me a clear sign that you want me to witness for you, I will! So give me a sign Lord. Amen."

The man felt really good after this prayer. He had just thrown the ball in God's court so from here on out it was up to God to make things happen. So he grabbed his things and jumped on the bus to head to work. That morning the bus was surprisingly empty. At about the third stop a woman dressed in a suit walked in. There were many seats empty, but for some weird reason she sat down right next to where the man of our story was sitting. There was a troubled look on her face, but the man just ignored her. Then suddenly the woman pulled out a Bible and began to read frantically from one side to another as if she had no idea where to even begin. Then, to top it all off she slammed the book shut and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Oh, what must I do to be saved?"

At this the man of our story timidly looked up to heaven and prayed, "Lord, is this a sign that you want me to witness?"

I'm not sure how much more evidence this wise-guy was waiting for, but one thing is clear - witnessing freaked him out to the point that he was still looking for a way out even when it was staring him in the face. And truth be told, this is the primary reason why many Christians never share their faith - or at least struggle to do so. It's awkward, scary, and a bit confronting. And for those who are introverts the struggle can be even worse! But have no fear, below I share with you what I have found to be the introverts awesome guide to sharing your faith. (note: the guide is not just for introverts. Works for everyone.)
  1. Pray for the person you want to share your faith with for a specified period of time. It can be for two weeks, a month, or even longer. Just don't drag it out for too long.
  2. Mingle with the person during that time in non-religious ways. Use this time to either strengthen or to build a trusting relationship. The best way to often do this is to find innocent activities they enjoy and ask them to teach you (note: innocent. Don't ask them to teach you how to puff-puff-pass if that's what they are into).
  3. Serve the person during that time by finding small or perhaps large ways in which you can meet a need of theirs. It could be something as simple as helping them with an assignment or something as big as walking them through relationship drama. And remember, you are simply there to "serve" not "resolve". Stick to the former. The latter could land you in a mess you don't want to be in.
  4. When your specified period of time is up, share your faith with the person by using the following approach:
    1. Tell the person you have been praying for them. That's it. Its that simple. And in my experience I have never had anyone, even the most non-religious, get angry or defensive about this. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it would be really rare. At this point all you are doing is saying something like "Hey, I just wanted you to know that I try to pray often and recently I have been praying for you." Once you have said this just gauge their reaction. If they are thankful or open then go on to the next step. If they seem weirded out or standoffish then back off and set a new time limit to pray for them. When the new time limit ends, remind them you have been praying for them and then go on to the next step.
    2. Ask them if there is anything specific they would like you to pray for. You can do this simply by saying, "I love praying for other people. Is there anything specific I could ask for when I pray for you?" Note: Don't say "Let me know if there is anything I can pray for..." Most people will take this as a rain check and never actually tell you anything.
    3. Follow up on their requests. Sincerely pray for their request and follow up from time to time. Don't be annoying! Just be natural and sincere. Ask God to reveal himself to them via their request and then ask them how its going.
    4. Invite them to a non-churchy church event. Once you have been doing this for some time you will be able to gauge if the person is spiritually keen or not. Either way, plan a non-churchy event with friends from church and invite them. This could be a barbecue, a day at the beach, or a movie night. Whatever it is, make sure whoever attends this event knows to avoid discussions and topics that could scare a visitor away from ever coming to church.
    5. Ask them about their faith journey. This next step doesn't have to come before or after the previous one, but ask it when it seems natural to do so. Simply ask them about their faith journey. Don't ask them to debate or argue. Just ask them to truly hear and learn. Show sincere interest in them and be understanding.
    6. Share your own. Once they have shared their faith journey with you, kindly ask them if you could share your own. Then simply tell them your story and why Jesus means so much to you. Don't try and convert them, just share with them why Jesus means so much to you. Use this as an opportunity to gently challenge their worldview, but don't allow the discussion to turn into an argument or all is lost. Depending on their reaction you could even take a step forward and invite them to a visitor-friendly event at your church.
That's it guys! Pretty simple hey? Give it a shot and see how you go. Remember that you are praying through this entire process and never forget that its not your job to convert anyone. Even if you never get any response keep loving. Love is not a means to an end. It is an end in itself. So don't be loving because you want a conversion. Be loving just because. Let the Holy Spirit worry about the rest.

Note: This post was originally published at: livingstonsda.church/livo-blog


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Pastor Marcos is a millennial Adventist pastor with a passion for Jesus, the narrative of Adventism and the relevancy of the local Adventist church. He pastors in Western Australia where he lives with his wife and children. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram. He also blogs weekly at pomopastor.com
Should Christians Respect "Other" Beliefs?


Should Christians Respect "Other" Beliefs?
Last week I attended a gathering titled "The Dare Effect" with guest speaker Dilly's Brooks. This blog series are my thoughts on some of the conversations we engaged in.

Alterity is defined as "the state of being other or different". At first glance, alterity appears to be just a fact of life that we must all learn to live with. After all, our world is full of diversity. But how do we relate to this concept of "otherness" when it comes to faith and worldview? For example, Jesus declared that a connection to the Father is not possible outside of himself. In truth, Jesus has just declared that there is a gulf that separates man from God and that there is only one bridge which allows man to reconnect with God. Jesus then declares that he alone is that bridge. By default, all other bridges are faulty. In his immediate context these would have been the bridges of Platonism, Aristotelianism, Hellenism, Pharisaism, and contemporary Judaism. Jesus doesn't seem to mind that he is offending his hearers by neutering the perceived effectiveness of their systems of belief. He declares unequivocally: "No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)


So where does this leave us in the present age? In a world in which many worldviews and religions coexist? How are Jesus-followers to relate to the Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews? How are we to connect with the Marxist, Humanist, Skeptic, and Post-Modern? Do we respect their worldview? Or do we condemn it as just another faulty bridge unable to fully bridge the gap between God and man?

The question is truly not difficult to answer. All one needs to do is observe the many decades in which the church has attempted to force its belief on other cultures to realize that it never has nor will it ever work. If there is a faulty bridge that eclipses all other faulty bridges in its faultiness it is the bridge of coerced religion. If there is one thing guaranteed to not only keep man and God separated but to compound the separation it is this: religious intolerance. If the Jesus story is to penetrate the human heart one thing is clear - it cannot be forced.

However, the opposite is just as true. In our Post-Modern world tolerance has taken on a whole new meaning. What was once seen as a healthy respect for the "otherness" of another has now morphed into a type of indifference which considers the very proclamation of an alter-story the height of arrogance. In order to avoid being seen as Bible bashers many Jesus-followers embrace this hyper-tolerance and in doing so lose their sense of urgency - or even necessity - to share the Bibles redemptive alter-story. We reason that telling the story is too confronting so we stop telling it even though Jesus himself charged us to tell it.

So is there a middle ground? Is it possible to be intentional about the Jesus-story without being intolerant toward the "otherness" of the culture around us? I believe so. Here are some of the ways in which I personally approach this tension:
  1. Don't try and convert people. Just love them. It's God's responsibility to lead the conscience of man, not ours.
  2. Don't make relationships with people because you are looking for a baptism. Connect with them because you really, truly care.
  3. Seek to be with people. 
  4. Seek to understand people rather than argue with them about their beliefs. Ask them to explain their worldview to you and seek to truly enter into their world and see the world through their eyes. In other words, become an other with he who is another.
  5. Find common ground with other worldviews and celebrate those.
  6. Live out the Jesus-story in your personal life and be ready to connect others to him. Don't hide your faith. Instead, live it out in an organic and enriching way.
  7. Plant seeds. Let God water and grow them.
  8. Be prepared to teach the gospel from the Bible and to lead someone into a relationship with Jesus. Although God is the one who waters and grows the seed, he is known to use us as his watering-can.
  9. Seek God constantly for indwelling of his Spirit. Apart from him we can never hope to connect anyone to Jesus.
If we approach the religious tensions of our day this way we will find a good balance between being hyper-tolerant and intolerant. In this way we will fulfill the way of Jesus:
The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me." - Ellen G. White
Do you have any other ideas that can help? Share them below!



How "Hyper-Humility" Hurts Our Witness
photo credit: Frederic Poirot via photopin cc
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." - 1 Cor. 11:1

I have often felt as though, in our attempts at humility, we try and minimize the role we play in the lives of others. Preachers can often be heard asking Jesus to "hide" them "beneath the shadow of the cross" or saying “it wasn't me, it was Christ.” I have no problem with this outlook. It certainly is commendable in that it seeks to glorify God and not man. However, I think we often run the danger of being “hyper-humble” by pretending that we have absolutely no role whatsoever in the work of the gospel. 

The reality is that no matter how much we ask God to hide us beneath the shadow of the cross we will still be visible and no matter how much we give the credit to God people will remember our faces. Paul did not seem to shy away from that. He did not say, “don’t look at me, it’s all about Jesus” instead he said, “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul recognized that it was not about him, and yet he was there. He could not ignore the fact that others saw him and that he mattered in the work of the gospel. Had Paul been hyper-humble as some are today, rather than honor God, he would have damaged his witness. 

Likewise, I believe Christians should not be afraid to be seen, heard, and recognized. It is through our personalities, characters, and stories that Jesus is lifted up. Jesus is not glorified in spite of us as though we were just an unfortunate tool he had to use. He is glorified because of us and he finds great joy in partnering with us and using our individuality for his glory. 

When we attempt to hide our individual worth and value under the guise of humility, we are not really honoring God. Instead, we are allowing our insecurities to prevent Gods work in and through us from shining forth. I once heard of a church that had a huge cross in front of the pulpit so that when the preacher spoke all that was seen was the cross and not the speaker.  As noble as this may sound it missed the real beauty of the gospel. The beauty of the gospel is not simply in the cross but in what the cross has done and continues to do, and that can only be seen in people. It is through our stories, testimonies, and personalities that the power of the cross and of the savior is fully recognized. So let’s be humble and always be careful to lift Jesus up and give him all the praise. But let’s also be careful to not go to extremes by acting as though we don’t matter. God didn’t commission angels to preach the gospel, neither does he do it alone. He commissioned women and men to do so because he recognized that it was through their lives, personalities, characters, stories and smiles that he would reach the world.