The church began in a culture that placed a lot of emphasis on the concept of honor/shame. It was the duty of every citizen to act it ways that brought honor to one’s family and the society in which they lived. Anyone who did this was accepted and perhaps even praised for their actions. The opposite of this was acting in ways that brought shame to one’s family or society. Those who did this faced rejection and perhaps even death if the offense was serious enough.
This is the society in which the Apostle Paul lived. As the first century progressed, it became more and more offensive to the Romans for someone to be a Christian so the Roman authorities began persecuting them. This is why Paul wrote 2 Timothy from prison. In this letter, he writes that even though he is in chains for the Gospel, he is not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:1-14). He also encourages Timothy to continue in his work for Jesus and to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We live in a modern society that is becoming more hostile to Jesus. The question we have to wrestle with is: Are we ashamed of Jesus or are we willing to take a stand for him and share the Gospel with others?
To help us share our faith with others, he Evangelism Team offers the following approach:
Research shows people aren’t attracted to a church because of the pastor. Most people attend a new congregation because someone invites them. They only stay long term if they develop a relationship with people in the congregation and feel they have become part of the group. In order to help us reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Evangelism Team and Pastor Dave suggest the following approach:
1) Ask God to lay 3 unchurched people on your heart. They could be inactive members of Snake Spring Valley or those who have never attended church.
2) As God reveals names to you, begin praying for the Holy Spirit to draw them closer to Jesus Christ.
3) Ask God which one of these individuals He wants you to develop a relationship with so you can encourage her or him to walk closer with Jesus.
4) Once God reveals this person to you, pray for God to:
-give you the words to say which will encourage this person.
-open the other person’s heart and spirit to hear the words He wants you to say.
-show you when you should speak and when you should wait. (Remember, God knows what’s going on in the other person’s life and thoughts so please wait for God’s leading.)
5) Actively look for opportunities to develop this relationship. Then take action. Invite her or him to lunch, offer to help with a project, bake something, take soup provided by the Soup Outreach Ministry, etc. Ask God to give you grace and strength when this inconveniences you. (Please remember: Don’t expect unchurched people to act like Christians. You may have to endure some crude language or behavior. If this happens, don’t be offended.)
6) Make certain this person is a friend and not just an evangelism project. People can tell if your friendship is genuine or not. If someone feels like a project, it will only strengthen the reasons she or he has for avoiding Jesus and/or the church.
7) As your friendship develops, ask this person to attend church events with you. It might need to start with activities which are non-threatening to an unchurched person, such as the Church Festival or an Easter / Christmas Eve service. Many unchurched people already attend these types of events. Be willing to give this person (and hopefully her or his family) transportation if necessary. If this person doesn’t respond to your requests, don’t abandon the friendship. Keep working at it.
8) Once this person starts attending church services and activities, keep encouraging her or him. Keep walking beside this person and help her or him grow in faith.
9) Keep praying for the other people God laid on your heart and befriend them also.
In order to faithfully share our faith with others and be faithful to Jesus in our modern culture, we need to take the same approach that Paul did in 2 Timothy 1:1-14. We must:
1 – Pray (Vs. 3) – When we try to serve God without praying, we’re trying to do it in our own strength instead of relying on him.
2 – Act (Vss. 8b – 11) – Talking about it isn’t good enough. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”
3 – Results – They are God’s responsibility. We only need to be faithful to what God calls us to do and leave the results up to him.
As we share our faith with others, we must remember one important thing. We are to lead people to Jesus Christ – not just attend church. Just because we attend church doesn’t mean we’re a disciple of Jesus any more than standing in a garage mean we’re a car.
Are we willing to let go of our fear about what others think of us and be faithful to Jesus in every area of our lives?