DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Sharing our faith

When I was in college our church organized the college students into groups and sent us out on campus to share our faith. I was very nervous about sharing my faith on campus. I met the girl assigned to my group, who was a petite person. My nerves increased. Then I met the final member of my group, a guy that would remind you of the Incredible Hulk, minus the green body paint. My nervousness disappeared instantly. No one would disrespect us with this big guy.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

Sharing our faith isn’t easy. We have to become vulnerable. People can choose to listen and even receive what we share or they can reject what we share and leave us feeling dejected. Rather than risk rejection many of us choose to keep our faith to ourselves.

If we decide to take the risk, the next problem is discovering how to share our faith. How do you put into words what you believe? How can you share and not create an offense? What do you choose to share? How much is too much or not enough to help the person receive the wonderful gift of salvation? What are the right words to use? Is there a specific way that works every time?

Sometimes we are left with more questions about how to share our faith and we end up giving up on the opportunity. We feel inadequate to share our faith. We doubt ourselves and believe everyone else can do a better job than we can. Some people think it is best to leave it up to the professionals, those who have the gift of evangelism or pastors. Sadly, it is those who need to hear the gospel who miss out because we allow fear to keep us from sharing.

One thing we all know that doesn’t work is standing on street corners yelling at those who pass by, calling them snakes, vipers and sinners beyond the grace of God. No one responds positively to that kind of message. Also, it is not true. No breathing person is beyond the grace of God. We are all sinners in desperate need of God’s love and forgiveness. Sadly, people who spew out this kind of message chase people away from a loving and merciful God.

The most effective way to reach someone with God’s love is in a one-on-one conversation. It shouldn’t be a forced conversation. It should flow naturally. It’s important that the person knows you care about them. This often means that bringing up Jesus may not occur in the first or even the second conversation. It is important to build a connection with someone before sharing your faith in Jesus.

I believe the connection comes from your commitment to listening to the other person. We need to understand their situation, their story. I think that developing a friendship will often open the door for you to share your love for Jesus. Compassion and kindness are often keys that can open people’s hearts, not only to you but to the Lord. If we can help them in their situation, they will be more likely to listen to what we have to say.

Every human being has a deep need to be loved. People will open their hearts to you when they feel loved and cared for by you. Once they have opened their hearts to you, begin to look for the opportunity to share God’s love with them. Tell them your story. Let them know how God has come through for you in the past. When they can see your experience with God’s love, compassion and forgiveness, it becomes an invitation for them. People are hungry to be loved and accepted, especially by God.

I want to encourage you to reflect on your personal story and experience with God. Your story can open doors and make a way for someone to find and build a relationship with God. Everyone who has accepted Jesus was drawn to Him by His great love and unimaginable forgiveness. Be ready and willing to share your story, your testimony, with those in your sphere of influence. If you have never accepted Him as your Lord, I encourage you to open your heart to Him. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks, wanting to have a relationship with you. Don’t put this decision off. You can experience God’s complete forgiveness, be freed from guilt and shame, and know for certain that you will go to heaven. But the most important thing is that you can know that you are loved by the God who created you and everything in the universe.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.