Sharing faith?

One of the things that I’ve always struggled with growing up in church is the concept of sharing my faith.  I think it is important to share our faith.  I think it is important to invite others into the best kind of life that we find in the way of Jesus.  However, I’ve often felt that we’ve overly simplified this process and have also made it too much like sales.

I’ve been at schools and in churches where evangelism is a skill you learn that includes walking people through a set group of questions or progressions, helping them to logically see how they need faith.  I’ve received many a tract (I have a collection so if you have any laying around please send them to me.), some given to me because people want me to get saved and others given to me to share with others (which I could never do).  I’ve also seen a sort of abadonment of talk about bringing people to faith, which is not what I think any of us are after either.

I also feel that people are very interested in what we believe and want somebody to be convicted and caring about something, as I mentioned here when I highlighted a video post by Penn Gillette.

There have been a lot of conversations about this lately.  I’ll highlight a few here:

1.  Dan Kimball along with a gaggle of other big names are working on a new “community” that will embrace this new evangelism for a new day.  It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with and how they language this!

2.  I just ran across this article on Salon.com that is really well done and I think pretty fair about street evangelism and young people.  Kevin Roose goes undercover at Liberty for a semester to see what he’s missing as a college student.

3.  Greg Stier from Dare 2 Share, who is known for sharing and training students to share in this kind of a way, responded here.  This is a helpful response for me to understand both Greg and some of the whys.  (I really like Greg as a person and have enjoyed my encounters with him.)

4.  All of this I’m reading and writing in light of a new study on the Religious Engagement of Undergrads.

What about you???  Do you share your faith?  How?  I’m looking for less deconstruction and more stories and imagination.

How do you talk about this?  I think language is important.

What about those of you in youth ministry?  How do you “train” or “educate” students about this?  Or do you at all?

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2 Responses to Sharing faith?

  1. Jessica H says:

    Having been in a Christian bubble for most of my life, even when I was in public school, I feel like I’ve lost touch with how to relate to others that aren’t part of the Church. I still have a few friends from high school that aren’t Christians, but most of my friends now are within the Church somehow.
    I tend to share stories about my experiences or people I know, and sometimes it’s as though I’m hiding behind those stories and not really making conversation. Also, I’m not sure of connecting points because of the “bubble” that I’ve been in for so long, and because most of what I am involved in is church-related. So maybe I don’t have much of an imagination anymore.
    Those are my thoughts.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Just read the Salon article. Wow. I think the absolute key to evangelism is authenticity. There was nothing, absolutely nothing authentic in that article. At least, nothing authentic beyond the shallow and fearful “I don’t want these people to see hell.” Authenticity means loving the person regardless of whether they answer the four WDJD questions in the affirmative. You know why people are wary of Christians? Because they sense an inauthentic agenda behind our evangelism efforts.

    Two weeks ago I went to the local Buffalo Wild Wings with a few friends to watch this year’s “Wrestlemania”. During that evening, I was drawn into the drama and spectacle alongside many people I had never known before that evening. As we experienced hysteria to the point of jumping up and down and hugging each other, I realized that there was more authenticity in that small community than I have experienced in some time. Nobody held up a proverbial shield against one another in an attempt to save face. Nobody held a hidden agenda in the community. We were all, for the lack of a better term, emotionally and intellectually naked. We bore everything to each other with no pretense as we celebrated a fun evening. Why can’t church be more like that? Why can’t evangelism be more like that?

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