When they find out that I am a Christian, I don't want it to take them by surprise. Instead, I am hoping that when I finally have an opportunity to share my faith, or when someone tells them that "Nina is a Christian," that their response will be something along the lines of "that makes perfect sense" or "I should have known" or even, "that does not surprise me at all." Unfortunately, that is not always the case for Christians. In fact, and I'm ashamed to admit it, sometimes the response is the absolute opposite. Sometimes the response is an emphatic, "there is NO WAY he or she could be a Christian." Doesn't the thought of that just choke you up or cause a big knot to develop in the back of your throat like the ones you felt when you were a little kid fighting back the big cry? That’s because it hurts and you feel helpless in this situation.
Have you ever had that experience? The one where you worked on the same job or attended the same school with someone, you know them from a distance, but you do not know them personally. You see them day in and day out. You see how they respond to people on a daily basis. You notice that they can often be rude and maybe even a little snarky for no apparent reason. You witness their vulgar sense of humor and inappropriate comments. Even further, you shudder at the bite of their bitter sarcasm as it pricks innocent co-workers and customers. In your heart, because you feel they could use some TLC or as Erica Campbell puts it "a little mo' Jesus," you pray for them - that one day they would find Jesus.
Then, to your surprise, you find out that they profess Christ. You resist the urge to be “Christian Judgey,” but you are floored by the idea that your acquaintance, colleague, or coworker is a Christian. With everything within you, you fight the urge not to judge, but you are baffled, confused, perplexed, and bewildered.
This blog is not a commentary on how Christian’s should or should not behave. Instead, it is more of a call to reflect upon how we demonstrate to the world what it is like to be a Christians. Here’s the thing, we don’t always have an opportunity to do one-on-one, face-to-face evangelism as we share our faith. Many times, our lives are the books or the words that the world reads. I think the greater message here is not that you are a Christian and you see another Christian act “out of character,” but instead it is about the message that Christians send to “non-believers” when we act out of Character?
This is also not a call for us to create some “cookie cutter” standard for which all of us ought to adhere to; that has already been established. Christ is the standard. However, there are certain evidences, or as the Bible says, fruit we produce that let the world know we belong to Jesus.
I hope that my fruit reveal what type of tree I am and when they find out that I am a Christian, I don't want them to be surprised.
Evangelism is so important to life. I started to say “evangelism is important to the church” or “evangelism is important to our faith,” but it goes so much deeper than that. The message of the gospel is important to life. It saves lives (both naturally and spiritually), it gives people hope, and it shares the love of God our father to a dying world. This message of authentic evangelism is the bedrock of our faith. Without evangelism there is no growth in Christianity…and we are seeing the first fruits and emergence of this in today’s society.
Truth be told, Christians don’t evangelize anymore. Instead we try to bring people to church in hopes that the pastor or preacher will evangelize them. When we do invite someone to church, it’s usually someone who as already accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his or her life. As we studied Thom Rainer's “I Will” in bible study, we had the opportunity to discuss this same exact point. We, you and I, have a whole lot of undercover Christians on our jobs AND we are empowered when we meet one. Once we find out that one of our co-workers is a Christian, we feel like we could do cartwheels. A sense of excitement swells up inside of us that is near impossible to contain. We think to ourselves, "musician, cue the music...I feel a shout coming on." Yet, somehow, we contain our selves. After all, we are professionals. I mean, we could literally stand at the water cooler or snack machine share Christ "with another Christian" all day long. We even lose track of time and have to rush off to our next assignment because we’ve been so enamored with our newfound knowledge. I woud even venture to say that this “new knowledge” is so exciting that we can’t wait to home to tell our families about the events at the water cooler.
On the other hand, we would hardly open our mouths to share Christ with someone we are certain doesn’t know Christ.
Why is that?
When we offer Christ, we are offering life, and hope, and joy, and peace…Literally. Personally, I just couldn't do life without Christ. He is my LIFE. We have something that the world needs to live in this life and after.
The church should be filled with evangelist. Everyone is an evangelist. I feel like Oprah. You’re an evangelist, you’re an evangelist, you’re an evangelist, EVERYBODY IS AN EVANGELIST! Wait, but why isn’t everyone excited?
Walk with me through this analogy of the church as our campaign headquarters. This is where you come to get fed…motivated…updated…encouraged…this is where you plan, collaborate, strategize, and prepare for the mission. At the campaign headquarters, everyone knows the mission and the focus. Get our candidate elected. The questions loom in everyone’s mind “how we are going to win over those undecided, those who are our opponents, what is it going to take to win this election?” This is where you get your assignment. Are you going to be answering calls? Are you going to be knocking on doors? Are you the spokesperson?
Are you following the analogy? The church is where the sheep gets fed for the purpose of going into the harvest. Sadly, we have a whole lot of plump sheep while the harvest rots. In Luke 9:1-2, Jesus did a few things:
Jesus purpose for calling the twelve was to prepare them to do ministry. Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry. His disciples were with him for much of that time. They had seen enough and had been fed enough. It was time for them to begin their internship. It was time for them to put into practice what they had seen and heard during their time with Christ. So it is with us. We have to get out their and share our faith. We cannot complain about the decline in Christianity if we are not doing our part.
What hinders you from sharing your faith?
Eat (come and be fed). Pray (for those that God will send in your path). Go (share your faith)
Let’s start an evangelism movement. Eat. Pray. Go
Happy New Year!