Sharing Your Faith - Lesson 2
Be Ready to Share Your Faith (1)
BE READY TO SHARE YOUR FAITH
The ultimate job of evangelizing is done by individual Christians who have prepared themselves to reach out to others. This lesson considers six key areas in which each personal worker needs to be right. It is the combination of all of these that pays big dividends in reaching people for Christ.
- The Right Motivation Why do you want to teach someone else how to be saved? The answer you give to this question will have a lot to do with your success. An obvious answer is that Jesus has commanded us to take His message "to every creature" (Mark 16:16). That is true; it is our duty. For a committed Christian, that is important motivation. Yet, most of us work better out of other motivations than duty. Perhaps the best passage in the Bible about motives for evangelizing is II Corinthians 5:11-21. Open your Bible and read that passage. See what motives you see suggested in that passage.
"Knowing the fear of the Lord"-God will punish evildoers and we want to help them avoid His wrath. "We are made manifest to God"-what we do is open to God. He is observing and we want Him to see in us what will please Him. "It is for God"-we have the opportunity to do something for Him who has done so much for us. "It is for you"-we can help others gain the greatest blessing they could have. "The love of Christ controls us.” This could mean that Christ's love for us controls us because it makes us want to love Him back. Or it could mean that our love for Christ controls us because loving Him is our greatest priority. In either case, we love and want to share this love with others. God "gave us the ministry of reconciliation"-after all that God and Christ and the Holy Spirit have done through the ages to make salvation possible, they have now turned over to us the responsibility of getting this message to others. What a challenge! How vital that we respond to this challenge! "We are ambassadors for Christ"-what at honor! We have been made ambassadors for Christ. We are His representatives to the world. Let us conduct ourselves in a way to honor and glorify Him.
These are our motives. We must not evangelize to satisfy our pride or just to win a battle over someone else. We are not to share out of a sense of competition with someone else. Rather, we are to seek the lost because we love God, appreciate what Christ has done for us, and because we love the souls of others. In short, we want to help others go to heaven with us. Anyone who has had the joy of bringing someone to Christ will certainly be motivated to seek others.
- The Right Involvement
- We must make the right relationships with others so we will have associates with whom to share. As we connect with others in school, on the playground, the athletic field, a job, at home, or wherever we are, the first thing we must do in order to start the road to reaching them is to have the right conduct. The most powerful tool we have in sharing our faith is a good example. When those who see our lives daily notice that we are kind to others, that we handle our temper, that we are good sports in competition, that we are good listeners to those who are troubled, that we share with those in need, that we are regular in our attendance at church and youth activities, that our family gets along well together, that we are a good sample of Christ-like living, then they will want to know how we learned to live like this. Our lives, then, will open many doors of opportunity.
The opposite, of course, is also true. If our friends see in us those who participate in drinking, in sexual misconduct, in lying, in disrespect to others, they will not want to hear what we have to say about our faith. Some have thought that the way to bring people to Christ is to participate with them in some of their questionable actions and then to use this as the basis of moving them to better things. That approach, however, not only will drag us down, it will not result in our being able to improve someone else. Even though they will sometimes deny it and will even make fun of those who do not take part in their activities, those who participate in immorality will usually respect those who have higher standards and live by them.
- We must also have the right conversations with others. Every day we are having conversations all day long-with our friends, where we shop, where we work, where we play, where we eat, where we study. Often these conversations are an opportunity to work in something about the church, about our youth group's activities, about something good happening at church, about someone at church we know who has done something good, about some event coming up for our youth group, about a lesson we had or a sermon we heard. Maybe a verse of scripture is on our minds or we have been studying a Bible character. All of these things and more can be points to raise in our conversations. In conversations with a waitress at a café where he often ate, a man let her know where he went to church. When she needed some spiritual help, she called on him and this eventually led to her conversion. A woman conversed with her hair dresser about "church" and this led to a Bible study and from that to the conversion of a family. Just as Jesus turned the conversation with the woman at the well to something spiritual, so we should look for opportunities in conversations we are already having to bring up things about Jesus, the Bible, church, good morals, or whatever may help plant a good seed. Such comments may open the door to an invitation to church or a youth activity, may cause the person to ask us questions about morals and religion, may cause them to know more about the church and thus to be more open to something down the road.
- Once you learn to do it, conversational evangelism is really fun because it is an easy way to "scatter seed," and you will feel really good about being able to use this way of sharing your faith.
- The third right involvement is right connections. Sometimes we find it hard to know whom to ask to come with us to a class or to an activity because we have not built friendships with those who might be good prospects. Of course we have to choose the right balance here. It is good that our closest friends will be among those who share our faith and share our goals of living by the teachings of Jesus. Yet, if we do not have any connections with those who are outside of our spiritual fellowship, we will not be building relationships that can help us reach out to others. So you should be looking for ways to make connections. Work on the student newspaper, be in student government, participate in music or athletics, participate in local community projects. Certainly you can use a job for connections. Find those who are lonely, those who are having family troubles, those who have other needs and help them. Be connected with some who will give you opportunities for sharing your faith.
- The Right Person
- Once you have ways to be involved in the lives of others, you should then select from among these, the right person to teach. If you are committed to finding someone to teach, you need to decide on how you will locate that person. There are people who are willing to study, people who are searching, people who are open. Others are not at this point yet, but might, over time, be led to that point. We must look among the churched and the un-churched, among all levels of society, among all races and backgrounds. We must look among those hurting from sin and from pain. We must cast our net broadly, look in many places, use a wide variety of approaches. But we must always be looking for those who will be willing to study. We have what they need! The message of Christ can help their families, personal and emotional needs, and their spiritual needs. But the first step in opening the door to reaching them may not be a Bible study. With many of these we will have to establish trust and friendship. We will have to demonstrate what Christianity can do for us when we face sickness, loss of job, death, disappointment, making decisions, or even how to act at a ball game.
- Here are some specific ways you might find your right person to teach. You may have a close friend who might come to class or to church with you or who might be willing to talk with you about spiritual things. You might know someone who has a special need: maybe they are lonely, feel rejected, have had a tough setback, have parents who have divorced, been turned down for something they really wanted. Step up and help them and you will likely have someone who is ripe for teaching. Check out those who have visited your class lately and follow up by contacting them and inviting them to return. You may have met someone when you were working or doing some type of volunteer work. You might even look around the neighborhood where you live. Maybe someone new has moved in or there may be someone down the street that you could reach. To be effective in personal evangelism, you need to be making many contacts but you need to narrow your focus to two or three on whom to concentrate at a time. Think over those you know and ask which ones might be the best to work with in a more concentrated way as of this moment.
- The Right Approach
- Once we have found someone with whom to study, the next step is to decide how to move forward. Remember you want to lead a person to Christ so they can share in the great benefits he can bring them. Here are four approaches you might use to provide your contact with more spiritual development.
- Use your class. Be sure to make your class open to visitors and make them feel welcome. Then you will feel good about inviting your friends to come with you to class meetings.
- Use your activities. Most every youth group has some activities to which you could invite someone who is not a regular class member. It may be a social event, a work project, a gathering at someone's home, or a special speaker for youth. It may be a more formal youth event or an informal time among friends. Such occasions are great for helping your friend to make more friends among those at church and this can be a very important step forward.
- You may be ready to have a home Bible study with your friend. This would mean getting a few friends together once a week for a few weeks to have a study at someone's home. You could get some more experienced Bible teacher that you think would do well with young people to be the teacher or there may be someone from among your youth group who would do well. An outline for a good home study on the book of Matthew is available on my home page at www.oc.edu/faculty/stafford.north.
- You could also use videotapes. The Jule Miller video series called Visualized Bible Study. The five videos are: 1-The Patriarchal Age, 1-The Mosaic Age, 3-The Christian Age, 4-The Church, and 5-The History of the Church. Thus, together, these videos present the Bible story from creation through the Old Testament story, the life and death of Jesus, the establishment of the church, the spread of the gospel, the departure and the return. One of the very useful features of this set is the booklet with each video which contains the pictures as shown in the video and the text of what the narrator said. This is followed by questions over that lesson. Thus, after the teacher has shown the video to the student and discussed any immediate questions or given observations, he/she may leave the booklet with the student. Prior to the next session, the student can answer questions provided on each video. Using the key, the teacher can check the answers and know what points need clarification. Then the teacher can show the next video. Certificates are available to give to those who have finished the course and, to some people, this is very important to some people. (Gospel Services, Inc., P.O. Box 262302, Houston, TX 77207). Another set of videos available is "One Story" by Robert Oglesby. These five-videos are all shot on location in the Bible lands. So, while Oglesby is making a point about some Bible topic, he is often showing the place in which the event took place or where some Bible character lived. For people especially interested in Bible history and geography, this will be an added benefit. d. You might want to have an individual Bible study with your friend. This approach allows you to tailor the materials and methods to one individual. It allows you to select exactly those lessons that fit the particular needs and interests of the one person you are dealing with. For such a study, you can use the ten-steps of God's plan with drawings as suggested in Lessons 4 and 5. Some publishers such as Star publish a New Testament with a series of verses highlighted and sequenced to lead a person through a study of things he/she should know to become a Christian. (Star Publications, Ft. Worth, TX 76182)
- Other materials for individual study include "Open Bible Study" by Ivan Stewart which provides a small pamphlet with a series of verses followed by questions. The teacher leads the student to look up the verses and listens and encourages as he/she answers the questions. Each question leads into the next and, taken together, they provide a strong lesson for the student. This plan has several advantages. It keeps the study focused by the sequence of ideas embedded in the questions. It keeps the study scripture centered because the answers are not on the sheets-only the questions and the scriptures. It involves the student in an effective way because the student is asked to find the answer in scripture and to tell the teacher the answer rather than being told the answer by someone else.
- There are cases where you will need to let the person study on his/her own by using "correspondence courses." Thus, you can provide a lesson in written form which your friend can use without your being present. Most churches have some of these on hand or can get them. Those by John Hurt or John Clayton are good ones. There is one built around the ten steps of Lessons 4 and 5 on the author's home page if you want to check it out-both versions for both adults and children.
- It is very important that, at the right time, you move toward some Bible teaching with your friend. If you push for this too quickly, you may drive the person away. But if you wait too long, you may miss an excellent opportunity to share and the best window of opportunity may pass.
- The Right Focus
- It is sometimes easy to get caught up in thinking about methods and materials and forget where the focus must always stay in our teaching. Of course our purpose is always to help people see the Christ and to establish a personal relationship with Him. John said his gospel was written to present evidence on which people can "believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing you might have life through his name" (John 20:31). That is always our goal.
- We do not seek to convert people to a doctrine or even to a church. We seek to convert them to Jesus and what He taught. We want our students to "fall in love" with Christ who died for them so they will have that relationship as a foundation to keep them faithful. This in no way means that we do not teach what Christ and His apostles taught as necessary to "obey the gospel." Phillip went out preaching "the good news about the kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12). And hearing this message, both men and women believed and were baptized.
- The focus of our teaching, however, must always be Jesus and what He did for us and what He asks us to do in return. Philip, after he left Samaria, encountered the Ethiopian who was reading from Isaiah. "Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus" (Acts 8:35).
- If those we teach "connect" with Jesus because they are responding to His love for them, they will want to make Jesus the Lord of their lives, follow His example, and be faithful in serving Him and being with His people.
- As we teach through individual study, group lessons, or correspondence courses, then, we always want to keep Jesus at the center. This will help our students to make not only a decision but a commitment.
- The personal worker must not only have the right methods and the right focus but also the right attitudes. How we approach people will have an effect on the outcome of our studies. Jesus was kind but firm with the woman at the well. Philip was helpful to the Ethiopian by asking, "Do you understand what you are reading?" Paul was respectful to the jailer when he said, "Don't hurt yourself; we are all here." Jesus honored Zachaeus when he invited Himself to dinner at his house.
- Every Christian quality has a place in personal work: love, patience, kindness, joy, peace, generosity, mercy, humility, and even suffering. In this section, however, we are going to focus on a few attitudes that are the most essential for the personal worker.
- We should note, however, some of the special traits of high priority to personal workers. We must be humble—not appearing to know everything, not speaking down to others, not being so arrogant we monopolize the conversation.
- Personal evangelists should also be open—not judgmental. If the person tells you of sins they have committed, do not be quick to condemn. Rather, be sympathetic. Show understanding. If you believe the other person has taken a position that is not in harmony with scripture, be careful how you respond. Instead of telling the person he/she is wrong, ask if you could explore some other possible answers.
- Humility includes being a good listener. We must let the other person share in the conversation, we must ask questions and really hear the answers. We should not be planning what we will say next in such a way we are not really listening to the other person. Our body language should show an openness to the other person and our voice should be kind and not harsh. Be empathetic . Often put yourself in the other person's place. Think of the problems the other person is having. Think of how would you feel if you were visiting someone else's church? How would you feel if someone were telling you that a view you and your family have held is not according to scripture? Empathy means that we try to understand how our friend may be feeling about things.
- Personal evangelists must also be generous. Like those of the first century and like those who have taught us, we must be willing to give our time, not only to teach but then to help those we teach. They may call on us to help with their problems, to assist when they are sick, even, sometimes, to help financially when they are in need. One reason some are reluctant to become involved in personal work is because it means getting involved with other people. Most of us are already busy. How can we take on any other responsibilities? Yet, we love the lost and want to help bring them to Christ. To bring others to Christ, we must have the unselfish spirit of the Lord who gave so much for us.
- Getting ready to teach someone about Jesus, then, requires the right motivation, the right involvement, the right person, the right approach, the right focus, and the right attitude. Most of us must work to develop some of these approaches so we will be better prepared for this work. Note: The author has prepared a videotape containing two versions of a one-on-one study. The first fifteen-minute segment shows a lesson in which the person worker makes several mistakes in attitude and approach. Those watching the video are encouraged to note the errors as a learning experience. The second segment, also fifteen minutes long, shows the same lesson done with improvements. These are available at a minimal cost from the author.
- Background Information for the Teacher
- The student can list six factors which need to be right for us to be prepared to teach someone about Jesus.
- The student can analyze 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 to show motivations for teaching which Paul gave the Corinthians.
- The student will seek to be involved in three ways in order to be making contacts with those who need to be taught.
- The student will seek to make direct contact with someone to teach through one or more of five approaches.
- Have enough copies of the quiz over last week’s lesson and pens as needed.
- Have enough copies of Review/Notes sheet for next time which is for notes during the class and a review sheet for next time.
- Board, overhead, or PowerPoint ready for use.
- Bibles for those not bringing them.
Getting six factors right will help us to be good at sharing our faith: the right motivation, the right involvement, the right person, the right methods, the right focus, and the right attitudes. Two lessons on these topics will help students to improve their understanding in these areas and move them toward having all of these.
Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class
Introduction: (about 15 minutes)
- Call the roll and welcome visitors.
- Make any necessary announcements.
- Have some young man lead a song such as Have Thine Own Way, Lord or Shine Jesus Shine. Have another young man lead in a prayer. Ask him to include a request for God to help us learn to share our faith.
- Use the brief quiz provided with the last lesson. Prepare the students for this, if they have not been accustomed to such evaluations, by telling them this is a way they can check to see how much they are learning and that no one need know their grade but themselves. Review Mark 16:16 by quoting it all together. Hand out the quiz sheets (with pens or pencils) and give a couple of minutes to take the quiz. Then give the answers. 1—Quote Mark 16:16 (40 points if correct—adjust for partially correct). 2a—2; 2b—3; 2c—4; 2d—3 (15 points each). It is important to let the students know they are going to be expected to learn something from each lesson that they can show at the following class period. Ask each student to put on his paper a grade, then pass around a sheet on which students may record their score anywhere on the sheet so others won’t know their score. When you get it, let someone average the scores and then you might set a higher target for students to reach on subsequent quizzes.
- Q: In the last lesson we learned primarily about the church where? (Jerusalem) Q: How did early Christians demonstrate how much they wanted to spread the gospel?
- The next two lessons suggest six factors we need to have right if we want to reach the lost. As we study each of these, be making a commitment to God about what you will do to spread the gospel. Our last lesson will call on you for that commitment.
- Hand out the Review/Notes sheet.
Learning Experiences: (about 27 minutes)
- To share your faith well, the first factor you need to have is the right motivation. Visual—Right Motivation. Q: From Mark 16:16, would you consider it our duty to speak to others about our faith? (Yes—but most of us need motivation beyond duty to keep us going.) A very good passage to study about reasons we should share our faith is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Visual: 2 Cor. 5:11-21. Open your Bibles to that passage and as I read this passage slowly, make a mark in the text with your pen or pencil to indicate where you think Paul gives a reason for the Corinthians to share their faith. (Below is a possible list but rather than writing this list on the board, it will be better if you ask the students for ones they see and write them on the board. You can check their list against the one below and if they have missed some, you can ask them to look at the verse in which the missed one appears to expand their list. Spend about 7 minutes on this. It is a good exercise not only for studying motivation for evangelism but to give students some experience in digging points out of the text.
- “We know what it is to fear the Lord” (v.11)—Our respect for God and our desire to please Him leads us to persuade others.
- “What we are is plain to God” (v.11)—He sees us and we want to please Him so we share our faith to please God.
- “Conscience”(v.11)—we know it is right to share our faith and our conscience approves of us if we are doing that.
- “It is for you” (v. 13)—the greatest gift we can give someone is to lead them to Christ. Remember we are not taking from someone to share our faith but we are giving to them.
- “The love of Christ compels us” (14)—Christ’s love for us is so great and means so much to us that this love compels us to tell others about it. We no longer live for ourselves but for Him.
- We can help others to become “a new creation,” (v. 17)- -to get a fresh start.
- He gave us “the ministry of reconciliation” (v.18)—What wonderful news that we can be reconciled to God but what a responsibility that we have the ministry that makes that news known to others. If we do not make it known, who will?
- “We are Christ’s ambassadors” (v. 20)—we are his representatives and are to make Him known to those around us. What an honor! We do not share our faith for our own glory, to win an argument, or to gain power. Rather, we share our faith to help others, to glorify God and Christ for what they have done for us, and to share in the greatest mission on earth— carrying out God’s plan to save the lost.
- The second factor we need to be in position to share our faith, is the right involvement with others. Visual: Right Involvement. If we do not make relationships with others in the right way, we will not have associates with whom to share, but if we can connect well with others, we will have people with whom to work.
- Our first involvement is to show the right conduct before others who know us. Visual: Right Conduct. Have someone read 1 Timothy 4:12. Q: Paul tells Timothy here to be an example to whom? (believers) Q: Should young people be examples in these same things to non-believers? (Yes) Q: What are some specific times where you could be a good example to others? (Make the students be specific such as “When we are deciding what movie to attend and some want to go to one that has a lot of bad stuff” or “When someone new comes to class and we need to make friends with them.” If they offer something very broad like “When we are running around,” push them to be more specific.) Q: What are some things in which you could be a bad example to others? Q: Would doing these things make it harder to invite someone to church?
- Our second involvement is to have the right conversations. Visual: Right Conversations. We should learn to bring something about the church or Jesus or something we have done with the youth group into the conversations we are already having with people. This is called “conversational evangelism.” Some of these conversations will be with our friends and others will be with people we contact in stores, at work, in the gym, or any where we might talk with people. Q: What are some topics you might bring up with others in conversation that would let them know something about where you go to church? (After you get a few possibilities) Let’s practice this right now. (Ask two students to have a conversation as they might at school and ask one to bring something about the church or the Bible or the youth group into the conversation.) Conversational evangelism is one of the best things we can do and we can all do it daily.
- Our third involvement is to make the right connections. Visual: Right Connections. We need to be meeting people, making friendships, getting to know people, and thus connecting with those who might be good possibilities for sharing our faith. Q: How could you make connections with others—at school? at work? in your neighborhood? through school activities? (e.g. I could ask someone from my class to sit with me at lunch.)We need to be connecting with people to give us the opportunity for eventually sharing our faith with them.
- The third factor to is this: once we are being involved with people in a broad way, we need to narrow our focus for sharing our faith down to the right person. Visual: Right Person. We have been talking in general terms about how to have a pool of people from which to choose for sharing our faith, but now we must narrow our focus to one or two people. Which specific person do I want to be the person with whom to share may faith? As I read this list of ways to identify specific people to work with, write down on your review sheet the names of two or three whom you think might be ones with whom you could share your faith. Everyone needs to have at least one name written down by the time I finish this list. Even if you are not sure right now who your person or persons will be, put a name down as a possibility.
- Your person might be a close friend you think might come to class or church with you or who might be willing to talk with you about spiritual things.
- Your person might be someone who has a need—a person who is lonely, who is disappointed, whose family is having problems, who is not in the “in group,” who is poor.
- Your person might be someone who has already visited church or your class or participated with you in a church or youth activity.
- Your person might be someone you have met or might meet when you are rendering a service—taking food to the needy, visiting the sick, helping someone with school work, doing volunteer work somewhere, or when you are doing a job you have at school.
- Your person could be someone you could meet by going around your neighborhood meeting people or though visiting the hospital, or going to a gym, or by passing out invitations to church or vacation Bible school, by handing out the first lesson to a correspondence course, or by going to a juvenile center or children’s home. Does everyone have a name written? Here is what to do with the special friends on your list. (See applications)
Applications: (about 4 minutes)
- Pray about your special friends daily. Ask God to open doors of opportunity for you with them. Ask God to help you say and do the right things and to give you courage. Let’s have a prayer about this right now. (Prayer)
- Look for a way this week to have a conversation with your special friends about something happening at church. Start strengthening your relationship with them.
- Practice conversational evangelism wherever you can with everyone you can.
Assignment: (about 1 minute)
- Look at the review sheet you have been working on. Q: What are the three “rights” about teaching someone we have covered in this lesson? Have the class repeat them aloud with you. Q: What are three ways you can have good involvement with others? Have the class repeat them with you.
- Next week, tell us about how you worked something about the church, the Bible or the youth group into your conversations.
- Next week, tell whether you have a special friend on your list with whom you are going to share your faith.
Evaluation: (next class meeting)
- A brief quiz over the review sheet next class period.
- Asking for reports on conversational evaluation and selecting special friends to work with.
Two good books in the general area of this class session and the next are Randy Becton’s Everyday Evangelism and Contagious Christianity by Bill Hybels.
Sharing Your Faith
- What are the first three factors to get right about teaching Jesus we have covered in this lesson.
- What are some right motivations for sharing your faith mentioned in class?
- What are three ways you can have good involvement with others?
- In finding the right person, what are some ways you might try?
- Get ready for a quiz on the above items.
- Try conversational evangelism on someone this week.
- The special friends I want to begin to work with to share my faith are:
Sharing Your Faith
- List the three factors to get right in evangelism which we discussed last week.
- What are two reasons we should share our faith, according to 2 Cor. 5.
- __ Check in this blank if you tried conversational evangelism some time last week.
- __ Check here if you have chosen one or more special friends you want to try to help spiritually.
TEACHERS QUIZ RECORD
Sharing Your Faith
Dates of class meetings: __ to ___ Teachers
Each quiz is worth 100 points. Have the students score their own papers and then record their grade at random on a sheet that is passed around. Have someone average the scores and record the class average for that day in the spaces below. Class 2 __ Class 3 __ Class 4 __ Class 5 __ Class 6 __ Class 7 __ Class 8 __ Class 9 __ Class 10 __ Class 11 __ Class 12 __ Class 13 __ Total __ Total/12 __
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