You’re a better evangelist than you think.
We’ve developed nuanced reasons for our silence, perhaps fearful that old methods have done more harm than good (tract distribution and megaphones, to name two examples). We stay quiet because (we claim):
- We don’t know enough / We’re not an expert on the Bible
- We’re shy / We don’t want to over do it
- We don’t want to offend any body
But I’m not buying it. The truth is, we’re all evangelists of something. We may be slow to speak about the Lord, but if you’re like me, it’s one of the few areas of our lives where we are hesitant to share our two cents.
Here are three areas of life where our evangelistic savvy is on full display:
We say we don’t talk about Jesus because we don’t know enough to share.
Ummmm…really? That’s not true when it comes to football.
Or futbol, if you prefer. Or any sport, for that matter. We don’t mind one bit circling up with our buddies and giving our not-so-expert opinion. And we do so passionately. This is undeniable proof that we don’t have to be an expert about something to be willing to share our experience.
There’s even a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar fantasy league sub-culture that is crazy fun. It also gives us more to talk about! We’re all amateur General Managers of fictitious franchises. Yet we can’t find time to be a hobby theologian. Just too busy.
I’m not knocking sports. I love sports. I played sports. I watch sports. And yes, I do my fair share of talking about sports. But if know where the right tackle of your favorite pro football team went to college (and have brought it up in an actual conversation), it’s probably fair to ask why you don’t know a single Bible verse or have some Scriptural encouragement ready for a co-worker when they’re struggling in their marriage. I’m not saying it’s wrong to talk about sports. It’s not.
What I am saying is that you don’t have to be an expert to talk about Jesus. We talk about lots of things we aren’t experts about.
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Healthy Lifestyle Products
We say we don’t talk about Jesus because we’re shy. We don’t want to over do it.
But I don’t know if there is anything being talked about more on social media than healthy lifestyle products. Even the promoters of these products joke about “another post about [insert product name here].” There are supplements, juices, powders and pills. There are oils you rub on your feet that make you…okay, my expertise on essential oils stops with the knowledge that they exist. I have no idea what the foot potions actually do.
My point is we can flood Facebook with news about life-changing products that will extend our lives and give us a greater quality of life and give us more energy for life and help us have a healthier life– and those are all fantastic things! I’m not knocking the products or the people that sell them. I’m not saying that it’s bad.
What I am saying is that if you are bold enough to mention those things again and again at the risk of overdoing it then why are you nervous to talk about your faith in Jesus? Why do we shout from the rooftops about making this life better but claim we don’t want to over do it in talking about eternal life?
We say we don’t talk about Jesus because we don’t want to offend anyone.
There is no more polarizing subject in America than politics. There is nothing more debated than political opinion. Check your newsfeed. Politics is big business. We have entire televisions channels and publications devoted to talking politics.
The average U.S. citizen is no exception. We will share our view on any number of issues, candidates, and strategies with the known risk of offending friends and family who might disagree. We don’t mind talking about things that are perceived as controversial. We speak up. It’s our right, and we don’t hesitate.
Listen, I’m glad we live in a free country. I’m glad we have freedom of speech. I’m grateful that democracy (as imperfect as ours is) provides us platforms for debate, dissent, reform, and checks and balances. I’m not saying talking about politics is wrong.
What I am saying is that the most common excuse I hear from people afraid to talk about Jesus is they’re afraid to offend someone. Then they post a political rant that leaves their friends unfriending them faster than you can say “fillibuster.”
We’re not afraid to offend.
So from our own lives we see that we don’t need to be an expert, we’re really not all that shy, and we’re not actually afraid to offend people. Not when we’re talking about something of importance to us, anyway. But that’s just it, isn’t it?
In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” It seems there is a correlation between what we say and what matters most to us.
I say this as an indictment on myself, not pointing the finger out into the blogosphere at others. The truth is, the reason for our silence–for my silence–is we don’t care that much. We don’t really believe what we say we believe. Talking about Jesus isn’t a priority because, the truth is, we have more important things to talk about. Or so we think.
The next time you think of yourself sharing the Good News, don’t break out into hives. Instead, think about how willingly we discuss unimportant things. You’re a better evangelist than you think you are.
The trick is spreading the word about the stuff that matters most.