(Much of this discussion was taken from the Leaders Guide for the study. Discussion commentary was added throughout.)
Last night we took on the question about sharing our faith. Why is it sometimes so awkward? Why does it feel like it works sometimes and other times whatever I say is rejected?
Have you ever met someone who would twist any conversation into a conversation about spirituality or Christianity? No matter what it was, sports, politics, finals, etc.? Or maybe you've heard it said, "Jesus wants you to tell your friends about God." Sometimes we need a nudge to speak to someone about our faith, or to have a conversation with someone we care about, but often times it can be awkward and feel forced.
Maybe you ask yourself the question, "Why would anyone feel the need to share their faith with someone else? Why not just keep it private?" Sharing our faith can be difficult, even as adults we don't necessarily like it. Think about how you can feel in the midst of high school, to share something like faith could be detrimental to their lives.
Jesus himself gave us the call to share our faith in God with others. "The Great Commission" was Jesus' last words in Matthews Gospel.
Matthew 28:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Do you think this passage specifically says that Jesus wants us to share our faith? Why or why not?
You’ve probably heard this word before, but what does it mean? The original Greek word for evangelist meant something like “one who brings a good message.” Sharing the message of Jesus, or being an evangelist, is listed as one of the ways God equips people to serve him, also known as a “spiritual gift”
Gentleness and Respect
The Bible gives us clues on how we should share our faith. The author of 1 Peter is writing to encourage Christians who are hated because of their faith. In the midst of that context 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Even in the face of being disliked for our faith in God, Peter invites us to share our faith with respect for the other person.
Dialogue vs. Monologue
Another clue about sharing faith is found in Acts 17:16-34. Paul was in the city of Athens where the people believed in many different gods. Paul modeled the type of conversations we can have today by genuinely listening to others. He even complimented them for being “religious” and invited them to notice how their beliefs and openness to spirituality pointed toward Jesus.
You’ve heard it said plenty of times that actions speak louder than words. Words certainly matter, but the way we live reveals our real beliefs, convictions, and values. One of the reasons some people avoid Christians is a perception that believers are hypocritical and judgmental. On the flip side, sometimes people come to know Jesus through discovering a community that loves one another deeply and serves the community and the poor faithfully. As we develop a community that is loving and hospitable, we are sharing Jesus with others by what we do.
Here’s Jesus’ take on this:
John 13:34-35 New Living Translation (NLT)
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 15:9-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
Has trusting and following Jesus impacted your life in a way that you'd want to tell someone else about? What would you want to share?
This is our last week on the Can I Ask That? Vol 2 study. I hope the blog posts have been helpful for your family as you continue to think about where God is active in your lives outside of church and as you have had conversations surrounding the tough questions! Continue to have these conversations in the coming weeks/years. They are some of the most important conversations to have with our youth for their continued faith formation!
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Each week we will post one or more blogs related to our ministries for High School youth and families. Check back often and leave a comment!