1. “I could get pretty excited about being a part of God’s mission in the world. But, frankly, I’m overwhelmed already. I’ve got way too much to do right now. What should I do?”
For most of us, involvement in the mission of Christ will alter our life priorities. If we are going to invest our time and energy in God’s work, we can’t continue to do all of the other things we have been doing. We’ll need to make new choices in light of new values.
This process of reevaluation happens best in a community of Christians who are asking the same kinds of questions as you are. Question #1 would be a great discussion starter in a small group. In time, God will make his priorities for your life clear as you seek his will together with other believers.
That last sentence is so important. As a Christian, you have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and are committed to seek his will for your life. You live now under the reign of God. God will guide you into a new way of living as you seek him. In addition to sharing your quest for guidance with other believers, I’d urge you to ask God directly. The Holy Spirit dwells within you, not only to empower you for mission, but to make clear where in God’s mission you belong.
Beware of the tendency, however, to get overly involved in worthy Christian causes without giving up other activities. Well-meaning believers can exhaust themselves by taking on more than God intends for them at one time.
2. “Even though you talk about ‘just being honest,’ I’m still not comfortable with the idea of sharing my faith with others. What would you suggest to help me get started?”
Years ago someone admitted to me, “Evangelism is such a pain. It just makes me feel guilty. I wish I didn’t have to think about it.” As I reflected upon his confession, I framed a simple model for getting started in sharing Christ. I called it the “P.A.I.N.S. of Evangelism.” If evangelism is such a pain, then let’s go with that idea! You can begin to share your faith with others by doing the following:
Prayer. Since evangelism is primarily God’s work, begin by praying. Confess your hesitations and fears to God. Ask him to give you courage. Ask for a wide open door to share your faith with someone. Pray for those in your life who don’t know the Lord. If you pray faithfully, God will use you. (We could almost stop here, but a “P” model for faith-sharing wouldn’t be too compelling!)
Availability. If you are available, God will use you. As you pray, tell the Lord that you are open to be used to share the good news. Then, as you go about your normal business, remain available. God will sometimes give you a chance to share when you least expect it.
Invitation. Don’t panic! I’m not using the word “invitation” in the technical sense, to describe what Billy Graham does after delivering an evangelistic message. Rather, I’m encouraging you to invite people to gatherings where they will hear the good news. You may feel insecure about your ability to summarize the gospel message, but you can certainly invite a friend to church, or to a Promise Keepers gathering, or to a women’s Bible study, or to a retreat, and so forth. I have seen many tongue-tied Christians help lead a friend to Christ simply by inviting that friend to a place where someone else does most of the talking about Jesus.
Neighborliness. Scripture teaches you to love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep this in mind, God will open up opportunities for you to speak easily about Jesus. Moreover, your love will pave the way for a open-minded hearing of what you have to say.
Sharing. When God opens a door, walk through it. In an honest and humble way, simply share with people your faith in Christ. You don’t have to preach. You don’t have to pretend to be the Bible Answer Man. Simply explain what Jesus means to you and how he has enabled you to be reconciled to God. As you share, the Spirit will help you.