Think for a moment about how quickly you tell someone about the things you love. Whether it is a favorite movie, a favorite coffee shop, or Mom’s famous cinnamon rolls, we love to share the things we love with others. Why, then, is it so hard for us to talk about the Gospel? Ask about our favorite baseball team or the best restaurant in town, and we can give you an in-depth analysis. But ask who Jesus is, and all of a sudden we have a pressing appointment.
There is fear in sharing the Gospel: What will people think of me? Will I say the right thing? Will they reject me? Will they think I am one of those crazy Christians? Instead of placing so much stock in our own reputations or words, let us instead remember John’s words: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18–19).
Here are some simple ways to help you share the awesome power of the Gospel.
Always begin by remembering whose you are.
The foundation of our witness must always be rooted in the identity given to us in Christ. Beginning at the beginning is always the best way: remember your Baptism and reflect on the free gift of salvation that is yours in Christ Jesus. The battle is won, and He has done all the work. Sharing the Good News in light of that good news is simpler now, right?
Admit your sins.Confessing the truth from 1 John 1:8 is another way to witness:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Admitting that you, as a Christian, still struggle with sin is a powerful witness. Many outside the Church imagine her people to be hypocrites. Sharing your struggles shows the power of Jesus. It is the quickest way to share how in our weakness He is stronger.
Be a regular, pray for people, and don’t forget to follow up.
My church plant is new and without a building, so our staff meetings are held over pancakes at a local restaurant. I felt the conviction as we started these meetings to pray for our waiters and waitresses. A simple, “Hey, we’re going to pray before we eat. How can we pray for you?” can go a long way. Friendly greetings, prayers, and follow-ups are amazing ways to convey the love of Christ. Generous tips never hurt either.
This idea also works in your neighborhood, place of work, fantasy football league, and the like.
Earn your voice.
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus tells us the simplest way to share His grace:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
We do not do good works for our faith; rather, we do them for the benefit of our neighbor. If faith comes by hearing, then the Holy Spirit uses our works to pave the way for His greater work. Earn your voice by serving others. Love them. Regularly practice random acts of kindness to those around you for the love of your neighbor.
Learn how to succinctly proclaim the Gospel.
Never assume that people know what the Gospel is. Declare it for them: “Jesus died for you.” Paul tells us that faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17), so make sure you learn how to proclaim the source of your faith.
Learn your story.
As Lutherans, we are often gun-shy of the word testimony. We worry that works-righteousness will wriggle its way into the narrative. One of the greatest tools God gives us in witnessing, however, is our own personal story of faith. Learn how to tell people what God has done and continues to do in your life. Declare the sins from which He has freed you, and share the depth of love God showed you in your Baptism when He claimed you. As you tell the story, remember He must increase and you must decrease (John 3:30).