I became a Christian at the age of 11 through reading a book from my school library (Treasures of the Snow by Patricia StJohn). I had no direct contact with any Christians that I remember. I understood an absolute minimum, but when I finished the book, I went down to a shady grove at the end of our yard, and on my own, made a commitment to Christ that has affected the rest of my life.
The extent of my understanding was as follows:
- there were things in my life that I wished I had never done (major issues like stealing candy from my mom's purse and lying to get myself out of trouble!)
- God would forgive me and I could start all over again with a clean slate if I said sorry to Him and asked Jesus to take control of my life.
- Jesus wanted to live inside me by his Holy Spirit.
When I gave my life to Jesus, a divine transaction took place and I was flooded with joy. I intuitively understood that Jesus needed to be King and Lord in my life (although it took a while for me to work that out in practice). Within a couple of weeks I led my friend next door to the Lord too and together (again with no outside help) we began to grow in our faith.
I am in a minority. The vast majority of people surrender to Jesus through the help of a friend.
If we are to see the Kingdom expand through multiplying disciples, then ordinary people need to share their faith with their friends and those they come in contact with.
Do the people in your church know how to share the good news of the Kingdom? What is this good news? There is a just and righteous King who, by sacrificing his life, has made a way for us to enter his Kingdom. Now that he lives within us, wherever we go, the King goes, and he has all authority. (Check out my previous posts on this subject here and here.) The King desires to live out his life through us, both individually and corporately.
An interesting activity is to ask the people in your group to decide what is the minimum a person needs to know in order to become a Christian. What would a five-year-old need to understand? Then have them break into pairs and share with each other this good news, again using no Christianese.
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5 replies on “The art of sharing your faith”
Your story isn’t too much differently from mine. I was 20, a little older, however. I became convinced there was a spiritual realm mostly through observing nature. I had read a lot of philosophy and religious books about Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American religion etc. and came to the conclusion that Jesus and the Gospels were real. It took me six chapters into Matthew to realize that. The sermon on the mount convicted me of my sin and within a few weeks, someone clearly shared the Gospel with me and I understood it for the first time, even though “Jesus freaks” had tried many times before. I fell like ripe fruit and remember feeling like a load had been lifted off my back. A work of fiction, btw, also played a part. It was Lord of the Rings that helped awaken my heart to receive the Gospel story.
I came to the Lord in 5th grade after reading a book by Kathryn Kuhlman in which a salvation prayer was printed at the end of the book.
God is so amazing in the many and varied ways He reaches his people.
I was alone in my bedroom because I was off school sick. None of my family were Christians. I was maybe about 10 or 12 years old.
My older brother had been given a book on bible stories and I was reading it in bed. I disliked the New Testament and the story of Jesus because the ending was sad, the hero was killed. I cannot remember reading the story of the resurrection!
I preferred the war stories in the Old Testament, and had just started reading the story of Samuel as a boy with Eli at the tabernacle. God called to Samuel three times before he responded to God. As I was reading this, God was obviously messing with my insides, I could really sense him!
I got out of bed and on my knees. I just said, “God, don’t forget me!” That was the limit of my cry.
He didn’t forget. Although I knew nothing of the technicalities, nor what Jesus did for me on the cross, looking back, I know that I was born again, and that I experienced the presence of God in my bedroom, and in my heart.
Just me and God.
I told nobody, got on with my childhood, until God spoke to me again sometime later with further revelation of himself.
You will note that I had no idea of who or what the Jesus of the bible was. I just knew God.
I’ve been turning over in my mind in recent months how much God cares for widows, orphans, the poor, needy, hungry, thirsty, prisoners, naked etc. I think most of us evangelicals overspiritualize those passages. So I’m chewing on how our service to those also should be included when we talk about “the art” of sharing our faith.
Fascinating that several of you have commented on how a book impacted you. The Lord has laid it on my heart that one of my next major writing goals should be a work of fiction that leads people to Jesus. We’ll see how it goes…
The seed of the Kingdom is the Word of God (Luke version of the parable of the sower) and I’m a firm believer in bringing people under the influence of the Scriptures. A couple of you also comment on that.
Dan, I’ve just spent a week away speaking at a couple of conferences, and I’ve been totally blessed by the people I met or heard about there who are in the process of transforming their communities by doing just what you describe. I plan to blog on it soon. For example, one network of organic churches has reduced homelessness in their city by 25%. What could be accomplished for the Kingdom if we gained a vision for this kind of thing.