What interests me is that when Christians think about how to become more effective in sharing their faith, they tend inevitably to gravitate towards a method of presentation. It's as if we've grown accustomed to a diet of words as the key. Get the words right and effectiveness will increase. Now I know that getting the words right is important, we all want to make the most compelling presentation of the truth that we can. But I can't help thinking we keep missing a trick or two. I remember the 1990's when we had the decade of evangelism in the UK. Millions of pounds were spent on new initiatives, new training programmes, new "How to share you faith" seminars. The nett result was that over a million people left the church.
My current reading is a book by Garry Poole called Seeker Small Groups. In the book he develops a strategy for launching small groups for spiritual seekers. He talks about the phases seekers go through and he sets out some key principles for making invitations. One point that sticks in my mind is this: Hang out with seekers.
If we are going to win friends and influence people for the kingdom, then we need to spend time with them. All the training in the world won't make any difference if we are not in the world rubbing shoulders with hurting people and letting them into our lives to see the difference Jesus makes.
Back-track to the post about Sunday lunch and the way Christians are despised in the restaurant business for being difficult and stingy. How can we sit and listen to the narrative of grace for an hour and then go and be so ungracious afterwards? It doesn't make sense! We should be learning to live out the grace we've experienced not just talk about it. As Eliza Doolittle so rightly said, "Words, words, words. I'm sick of words, show me!"
So, while we learn how to verbalise our faith, let's learn how to share it through our lives, our generosity, the time we give to others. Let them know they matter to us and maybe we will earn the right to tell them how much they matter to Jesus as we go.