So many people unlearned of You
And You are their last hope
But if I keep quiet and not say a word
How will they ever know?
What’s causing me to feel rejection?
You had to face it too
Lord give me boldness to share your goodness
So they can know the truth
If you don’t tell them, who will tell them how will they know?
Go! Go! Go!
- Lisa McClendon
When’s the last time you received some good news? Remember how it made you feel? We have the opportunity to share the best news that someone could ever here: “God wants to be in relationship with you, and offers forgiveness and restoration.” Think back to when you first heard about God’s love for you and how it’s changed your life. The gospel (an Old English word meaning ‘good news’) is the message of hope that so many desperately need. Paul asks some fundamental questions to reveal the need for us to do our part:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
For people to accept the message of God’s love, they have to hear it first. For the message to be heard, we must proclaim it. As we practice the habit of telling God’s story, we need to see our part in the story. The last words Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended to Heaven are recorded in Acts 1. He told them:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
One important criterion marks the time between Jesus’ departure and return: his followers spreading the gospel throughout the world.
We have opportunities to proclaim this good news wherever we find ourselves: at home, on the job, at the gym, anywhere. Before we go, though, here are some “best practices” to help us establish this habit. tweet
I. Believe that people are searching for good news. One of the major obstacles preventing us from sharing our faith in Jesus is the fear that no one thinks God’s love is good news. We often accept the notion that no one wants to hear it, but the exact opposite is true. Look at Jesus’ words:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38)
Jesus saw the need around him. The problem wasn’t a lack of interest in the good news, but a lack of willingness to go out and tell others about it. He asked his disciples to pray for more help from those willing to share the message, not for more people who saw the need. He would then challenge those same disciples to be the answer to this prayer and proclaim the good news themselves. Today, many are confused and desire to know the truth that will set them free. How do we pray for others, and how do we live as an extension of God’s answer to that prayer?
II. Proclaim a holistic gospel message that heals the body and saves the soul. The good news we find in the Bible is not simply a “get out of hell free card.” Jesus didn’t die just so we could go to heaven, but for us to enjoy a life full of joy and wholeness here on Earth. tweet
The Bible records the holistic gospel message clearly:
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. (Matthew 9:35)
Jesus travels, teaches, proclaims, and heals in this passage. There are occasions when teaching people about Jesus is needed. At other times, people need to hear your personal story, and at others, we work to heal our broken world. Jesus proclaimed a holistic gospel, and so should we. In a world where there is so much injustice, sickness, and despair, he gave us the privilege to proclaim good news that there is hope, justice, and healing in Christ’s eternal kingdom.
III. Start the conversation. This week, we have explored God’s story, knowing our own, and asking questions to discover the listener’s story. For any of those practices to be meaningful, we must start the conversation. At some point we all struggled with learning to read. We went through a time when complex phrases frightened and big words intimidated. Over time, through practice, we improved to the point where the question shifted from, “Can I read?” to “Will I read?” The same is true with sharing the gospel. Regardless of our experience or age, we have the right and the privilege to share the best news, the most powerful hope. Here are a few steps to help you start the conversation. Try them out them out over the next few days.
- Reach out to and listen. We are all at different stages of our spiritual journey and could use a guide to help us get to the next step. Ask God to reveal those in your life who you could simply get to know, or know better. Invite them to share their story over a meal, or coffee. Reaching out is the first step of meeting them where they are in their personal story. Most don’t have the benefit of someone asking how they are doing in a genuine way lives–this is an opportunity! Then follow the conversation where it goes.
- Find common ground. Build a relational bridge by looking for ways to connect. This is a way we show love to others: sharing something in common so we can build deeper relationship. It could be your family background, a college major, or similar tastes in music. Find some common ground to connect with others. Avoid terms and phrases like “saved” and replace them with words more widely used, like “rescued.” Using language particular to the Church intimidates those we share with when they don’t understand the words we use. If you use theological terms, be inclusive by explaining what you mean..
- Create a better story. God’s story of restoration is beautiful and compelling, but it’s not always easy to see. Others need to know that we’re not sharing so that we can tell them they are bad. We’re here to tell them, “There is life for you.” Reflect back on the key components of your story (Day 24). Ask the person the questions discussed on Day 25, then prepare a transition from your story to the gospel. It can be something as simple as this: It sounds like you have a lot going on in your life right now. Can I share with you something that has given me peace?
- Download Free Apps to help you share your faith! Here are a few that come with instructional videos for how to use the apps:
- The Life Conversation Guide. This app uses three circles to share the gospel. The circles tell the story of God’s design for life, the brokenness we experience, and how the gospel makes us whole. This resource helps you know what to say.
- This app is a very creative way to have spiritual conversations casually. Soularium uses images to start a dialogue about the gospel message. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Soularium uses the power of images to help people tell their spiritual story.
- The Perspectives app is like a game which reveals one’s worldview. Players select “cards” based on what they believe. If you desire to have conversations with those who tend to have big questions about spirituality, the identity of Jesus and the meaning of life, this app is for you. The app gives you the ability to text the person you’re engaging with their results.
- Participate in the Known Campaign on February 17th. The Known Campaign provides sweatshirts and toiletries to those in need, and offers opportunities to share the gospel as well. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Written by Rasool Berry
Edited by Christina Utley