For 30 years, I have observed Lutherans and many others from the mainline church have a difficult time reaching out to others with the message of Christ. There are many misconceptions about our call to evangelize. We are not asked to debate theology. We are not asked to espouse doctrine. We are not called to be experts at apologetics. We don’t need a divinity degree to share our faith. Let’s look at scripture.
Acts 1:8: But 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.
As is always the case, God acts first (sending the Holy Spirit), and we respond by witnessing. So, let’s examine the word Witness.
Witness: One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced: a witness to the accident. An attestation to a fact, statement, or event; testimony: One who publicly affirms religious faith.
We are called to witness to what we have seen and heard. How have we seen God active in our world lately? Where is that still, small voice guiding us? Through the Gospels, many times Jesus says, "For those who have eyes to see, let them see." Can we still our lives enough to have the eyes to see God at work around us?
So, instead of quoting scripture, or talking about your church or denomination, find a way to tell someone a story about how God has answered prayer, shed light on the path ahead, given courage and strength for the darkest hour. Tell how God has used others to touch you, and how He has used you to touch others. It is your story, and no one else can tell it. Our stories are forged through the tests and trials and tears of life.
To the unchurched in this postmodern world authenticity is key. The one question the unchurched want us to answer (a bit of wisdom from Bill Easum) is, "What is it about your relationship with Jesus Christ that I can’t live without?" In other words, don't tell me about Jesus; but, do you know him, can you introduce me? They are looking for an experience of God, not a theological diatribe.
Are we truly modeling discipleship in our walk? Are we living the Marks of Discipleship? Are we being the hands and feet of Christ in the world? That's authenticity. For the postmoderns, spirituality is a journey, not a place, not something that happens for an hour on Sunday morning. It is something that impacts our whole lives, work and play, home and church.
Christ does not need an attorney arguing His case; he needs a witness. Until we open an ongoing connection to the Spirit, we won’t have much to witness about. We cannot tell about how God is working in our lives until we slow down and deepen our connection and begin to see Him more clearly every day.
Opening up that pipeline helps us see how God is working all around us. Connecting with your gifts, you can discern a calling that only you can fulfill. That makes an authentic witness. You won’t be able to stop sharing. Wade in a little deeper, and you will have the time of your life! Servant leadership is deeply satisfying. Find a need and meet it. You will never find an easier way to make a friend.