Last night in youth group we ate pizza, baked cookies, sang some Christmas hymns, prayed for one another, and spent some time reflecting on how to talk about Jesus with our friends!
The kitchen has become our default hangout now, in no small part to the presence of food every week, and it has been fantastic to see our students begin to form stronger relationships with their peers and the volunteers. After some quality time together Eli led us in some Christmas hymns, we took prayer requests and prayed for one another, and then we jumped right into one of the topics that was requested last week!
I started by asking students what they picture when they hear the words “share your faith.” Most students pictured something that looks like downtown outreach, or thought back to this past summer's trip to Myrtle beach. I think we all probably have different ideas of what sharing faith “should” look like, but I wanted to challenge the assumption that there was one “correct” way to share faith.
Most students were familiar with the idea of the Romans road, and how to lead someone who doesn't believe through the basic tenets of faith, but one student jumped 5 steps ahead of me and expressed how he didn't think making disciples was a one conversation kind of thing. We spent the next few minutes talking about what making disciples looks like in practice, the inherently relational nature of discipleship, and how sharing our faith is something that we should practice with other believers.
I’m afraid that much of the awkwardness we feel when we talk about sharing our faith is based on some assumption that it only “counts” if we are sharing with someone who has no faith at all. Jesus’ life models a more holistic view of evangelism and discipleship than I tend to picture. Jesus met people's physical needs, forgave them, called them to repentance and often - to follow him. It wasn’t a one-off conversation on a street corner, but an ongoing invitation to something greater.
As we wrapped up I went on a bit of a rant about how the word Gospel literally means good news, but it seems to lose its luster over time. We have heard that Jesus came to die for our sins countless times if we have grown up in the church, and the absolutely wonderful insanity of that message shouldn't lose its shine for us. The God of the universe looked through the scope of creation before the world even came to be and saw us, and while we were yet sinners and completely unworthy - took on flesh and lived and died to pay the price for sin that we could never pay ourselves. Not only did he justify us though, he also went and made us co-heirs with Jesus himself to the kingdom of Heaven and sent His spirit to dwell within us! This is an unthinkable grace! How have we let the good news become commonplace?! (I’m mostly preaching to myself here, but maybe you’re in the same boat.)
If the Gospel is good news, sharing it is almost natural. When we get good news, we share it with people! Overcoming the shame or the awkwardness of sharing Jesus isn’t so much about a tactic or a 12 step plan to get someone saved, but an overflowing of the good news we have already claimed for ourselves. We just need to be conscious of it :)
Next week we are having our year end Christmas party before taking a few weeks off for the holidays! Thanks as always for stopping by and checking in, have a wonderful week!