Who finds evangelism easy? Who feels they are good at it? Who feels they’re reaping much fruit from their witness to family and friends? Who feels they always have the right words to say to people to explain or defend the Christian message? Who finds it easy to stand out and be different from the crowd? Not many of us will answer those five questions positively, though I am sure God is often doing more behind the scenes than we realise!
However the Apostle Peter, when speaking to Christians living in a hostile first century world, where they felt like ‘aliens and strangers’ says:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)
Four Principles to Sharing Your Faith
Notice four things that Peter says about sharing our faith.
- Start by revering Christ – Christian witness starts with putting Christ first, above all else, and fearing him more than you fear people, and loving him more than you love getting ahead in the world. Once you do that you’ll live a life that is so radically distinct and different from those around you that…
- People will ask you questions – Peter expects the Christians to be both radically engaged with the world around them (they have friends and are part of the fabric of society) and yet so distinct and different from the world around them (they are unlike their friends in many ways) that they provoke questions. The lives of the Christians, especially under suffering, persecution, set-back and disappointment are so hopeful and beautiful it causes those around them to wonder how they do it. So when the questions come…
- Be prepared to give an answer – Since Peter expects Christians who live radically engaged yet radically distinct lives to be asked questions, he commands us to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have. That is what this seminar will be about. But when we answer…
- Speak with gentleness and respect – when the questions come, don’t ram it down people’s throats. Don’t try to ‘win the argument,’. Don’t have your own ego or glory so invested in your answer that you lack respect and kindness. Answer truthfully. Answer rationally. Answer persuasively. But ensure that the manner in which you answer models the message you are proclaiming…a message of grace! If our manner does not embody the message, the message will fall on deaf ears.
The Provocative Witness
In summary Peter wants us individually and corporately to be a provocative witness, which I summarise like this:
“People prepared to give an answer, live lives that provoke a question”
He wants us not to go and shout the message out to a world that is already fairly hardened and hostile to it. He doesn’t want us to ram it down people’s throats and bash them with our bibles. If people are not willing or ready to listen it’s no use shouting louder! Instead he wants us to live beautiful, pure, attractive and provocative lives that reveal a hope and a joy, a confidence and a humility that our friends do not know nor understand…and it starts to spark curiosity in them. When they ask questions, we speak of Jesus and what he has done for us. I have written much more about this idea here and here. For more information do listen to my talk ‘prepared to give an answer’ on 1 Peter 3:15.
The Seminar – Sunday 22nd January, 6.15-7.45pm
So if you feel you are not good at sharing your faith and want help to put these four principles from 1 Peter 3:15 into practice then do come along to this seminar where we’ll do four things:
- Debunk bad assumptions about evangelism, and look more at what it means to be a ‘provocative witness’
- Learn how to share our personal story in a way that connects with people
- Learn how to share the gospel in three simple ways that helps connect with people
- Have time for Q&A, including planning ‘part 2’ if there is the demand for more training
The Seminar will start after our Sunday Gathering (around 6.15pm) and last 1.5 hours. Pizza and refreshments will be provided