Had a conversation with a co-worker on Friday a few hours before the day was over. I simply asked a question and now I'll ask it to you: Can you name at least 10 separate brands of beer? My coworker immediately launched into a list that within 30 seconds encompassed some names I was familiar with, and others I would not have recognized. How about you? Could you name 10 separate brands of beer? Think about it, and if you have someone else in the room, see how long it takes you to come up with a list of 10.
Now, after you have answered the question, were you able to come up with 10? If not, how many were you able to come up with? Whatever your number, I have another question I'll ask you that I also asked my co-worker: How many of the 10 commandments can you name?
That question was a bit harder. My co-worker began with "uh" and proceeded to list about 5 of them. My challenge to you is, can you name at least as many of the 10 commandments as you could brands of beer, or could you name more brands of beer than commandments? It is not a test, just a fun way of starting a conversation about God and salvation you may not have tried before.
Here's a couple more questions for you: Do you share your faith in God regularly with others? What is the main reason you don't share your faith more often? I've had several conversations on this topic over the past two weeks, and the answers vary. In the end though, everyone I talked with admitted they do not share their faith as often as they should. Seems there are easier things to talk about, and talking about God seemed a rather difficult topic to bring up. However, at the start of this article I've just shown you at least one creative and rather fun way to bring up the topic, and the idea did not originate with me.
There is an evangelistic study guide called "The Way of the Master" by Kirk Cameron (yes, that Kirk Cameron) and Ray Comfort that I am studying with a group of people at the new Redeemer church that currently meets at the old Rookie's in Oxford. On Sunday morning is the regular service, but on Thursday night's we've been studying "The Way of the Master", and it has already taught me ways to start conversations about salvation that are not nearly as confrontational as what I am used to. Actually, the whole idea is to present the good news of the Gospel in a relaxed, conversational way that brings people into a frame of mind to think about their eternity with an open mind instead of clamming up and being defensive.
As a Christian, this is extremely important to me. My life on earth is meant to glorify God, but if I cannot open my mouth to talk about the One who saved me, then everything else I do will be hollow. I can go to church, sing the songs, read my Bible, pray, and worship God, but I am not here to just enjoy the Christian life, I am tasked with the opportunity to share my faith so that others also may choose. Problem is, most Christians are too afraid of what others think or how such a conversation may ruin a good relationship or friendship. "The Way of the Master" study is showing me new avenues and approaches to doing so without losing a friend. In fact, time and again it has proven quite the opposite. In the conversations I've had so far, the people I have talked to have been rather appreciate that I took the time to be concerned about them.
More than just being a witness though, as a father to two daughters, I also know that my example will teach them. They are watching me, and from my actions they will learn. I can tell them how important it is to talk to others about their faith, but if they never see me do it, the message will come across that while I think it is important, it is not so important as to require any real action. Am I raising daughters who will fear to share their faith, or will I choose to raise them with enough confidence in their faith to be concerned more about others and start those conversations that will allow them to do so? As well, do I care enough about others to offer them a conversation about eternity, and allow them to choose Christ for themselves?
How about you?
UPDATE: after writing this blog, I took my daughter and hit the JSU campus looking to talk to at least ten people. I met with three groups of people giving them an informal survey. Stay tuned for next week's blog when I will publish the results of those conversations.