It was 4 p.m. and I found myself sitting in the Arby’s on South Washington Street. My heart pounding, my hands shaky and my mouth dry as a cork. For the first time in my life I was inviting a student to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you were raised as I was, sharing your faith story or testimony with someone may have been a foreign idea, something only done by missionaries. In 1 Peter 3:15, it says, “But in your hearts set apart 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.”
It’s easy to understand why sharing our faith can be a fearful experience. There is risk involved, we could be thought of as a fanatical, or perceived as better than others, or accused of being judgmental. Yet Christ desires we show and share his love to the world…in our case, students.
Fear not! Telling others about Jesus does not have to be scary. For example, If I asked you to tell me about the time you lost a loved one, or how you coped with being laid off, or how you survived that class in school, I know you could and I’m guessing you might even highlight how Jesus helped you through it. When we are able to walk alongside those (students) struggling with similar life experiences, there are natural opportunities to share your story and Jesus role in it. In the context of a real, authentic relationship, sharing your life story gives your students (believing or unbelieving) glimpses of hope in a world without hope apart from Jesus Christ.
Back at Arby’s… I’ll never forget his quick yet monotone response…”no thank you.” What Lord? Really? NO? I stepped out in faith, was obedient and that is what I get? NO! How can this be? Later that evening I was reminded, I have the opportunity to tell others about Jesus but he has the responsibility to change hearts. That young man did not say no to me, he said no to Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus does not always accept our first response. Even though it was not the response I was praying for, it was the most alive I had ever felt as a Christ follower!
This summer as you find yourself on a faith-forming experience like Serve or Live It ask yourself this question; has God placed someone in the group that needs to hear about Jesus through my story? My guess is the answer will be yes! It’s my prayer God will help you discern that Holy Spirit moment and give you the boldness to step out in faith and share.
If you would like a list of Bible verses that would help you take a student through the plan of salvation or other pre or post trip resources please email [email protected].