With Christians being cast in a bad light in the face of the culture wars on abortion and the LGBTQ agenda, several prominent figures in the faith illuminate ways to help the faithful share Jesus Christ with others.
One of them is The Lee Strobel Center For Evangelism And Applied Apologetics Executive Director Mark Mittelberg, whose ministries focus on providing training to Christians on sharing their faith. Mittelberg, who is an international speaker and author, promotes that faith is not just for one's self nor is it to be hoarded. He said faith is "meant to be shared with other people" such that it should "be infectious" and "contagious."
The Christian Headlines highlighted Mittleberg's new book, "Contagious Faith," which provides strategies for overcoming obstacles to sharing the faith based on four biblical characters. These are the tax collector in the Gospel of Matthew, Tabitha in Acts 9, the blind man in John 9, and the apostles Peter and Paul.
1. Identify A Preferred Approach
According to Mittelberg, the tax collector's approach to sharing the faith is called the Friendship-Building Style. The tax collector in Matthew's Gospel prepared a feast for his friends as a testament to his encounter with Jesus. Mittelberg said friends listened more to friends and this is one approach a Christian can take.
While Tabitha's is called the Selfless-Serving Style, which is powerful to reach out to those hurt by the Church or jaded by God. Tabitha was used by God to direct people to Him through her selfless service to them. The Christian Headlines likened her to the first-century Mother Teresa.
On the other hand, the Story-Sharing Style of the blind man whose testimony on being able to see and of sharing his experience on Christ with others was effective in drawing people in.
Then there's the apostle Paul's Reason-Giving Style as shown in Acts 17, which enabled him to convince Athens' philosophers on God. Mittelberg said knowing why Christianity matters and why the Gospel is important to help others make sense of the faith.
Finally, St. Peter's Truth-Telling Style on Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament's promises captured the crowd he spoke to in Acts 2.
Mittelberg raised that beyond knowing the strategies of these characters is the need to recognize the importance of sharing the Christian faith in today's world. One must not succumb to the idea, he said, that faith is a private matter so that one won't be easily intimidated to share it with others.
2. Know And Trust The Process of God
Before identifying what approach one will use for a particular person or crowd, Bible teacher Allan Parr spoke of the importance of understanding the process of salvation. Parr, who regards himself as a leader and equipper, spoke in an episode of The BEAT of several powerful but practical tips for sharing one's faith, especially to unbelievers. The BEAT stands for Biblical Encouragement And the Truth.
Parr reminded that no one can save another. He said, beyond the basics of knowing the Gospel, one needs to be constantly remind on Jesus Christ as the only one who can save. The national speaker pointed to the reality that sharing one's faith won't automatically guarantee a response from others. He stressed that people respond only when the grace of God allows it.
Besides the basics of knowing the Gospel, Parr said this would be better understood if one is aware of the process of salvation. Parr emphasized the importance of establishing genuine relationships with people over aiming to have another "award" on one's belt for converting someone to Christianity.
Establishing a genuine relationship requires listening to the people one intends to share the faith with twice as much as one speaks to them. This also entails having an authentic interest in their lives. This way, he stressed, the Holy Spirit will help one to develop what to say to them in sharing the faith, as well as, the right time to speak about it.
When the right time to speak comes, Parr reminded the need to be gentle and respectful about it. This is why it is important to pray about it first so that one is prepared and guided by the Holy Spirit on what to say. Testifying one's personal experience of Christ and how He changed one's self and life is great but this is not enough. Having a secure knowledge of the truth of the Christian faith will hold more water so one may be able to answer the many questions unbelievers have.
3. Be The Face Of Christ
Christianity Expert Mary Fairchild echoed Parr's tips on sharing the faith with others. In a 2019 article in Learn Religions, Fairchild raised the need to pray for God to open a door before one rushes in witnessing for Christ. Fairchild underscored that only after seeking prayer will one's witnessing be effective to others as Col 4:2-3 speaks of.
Beyond prayer and preparation, Fairchild repeatedly underscored the utmost significance of being the face of Christ to others. She said Christians should "represent Jesus in the best possible way" by keeping in mind that one is "the face of Jesus to the world."
"The quality of our witness to the world carries eternal implications. Unfortunately, Jesus has been poorly represented by many of his followers. I am not saying that I am the perfect Jesus Follower-I am not. But if we (those who follow the teachings of Jesus) could represent him authentically, the term 'Christian' or 'Christ-follower' would be more likely to illicit a positive response than a negative one," Fairchild said.
The General Bible Studies expert pointed to showing love by being a friend to others as written in John 13:34-35 and by not quarreling with people as Paul reminded in Titus 3:9. Fairchild stressed that following the way of love is like teaming up with an unstoppable force, which is what Thessalonians 4:9-12 speaks of.
Fairchild added that a loving person is also good, kind, submissive to authority, and most of all, obedient to God. In gist, she said, being a Godly example is a more practical way to share one's faith in Christ.