Last Sunday I challenged you to dream small inspired by the idea that Big Dream are great but big dreams can be overwhelming. A grander vision is often achieved by bringing it down much smaller so that it becomes an easier step to take towards a bigger dream. This was all inspired by the small dream idea of Liz Bohannon. If you want to hear more of her story you can watch it here.
Or listen to an excellent interview here.
The small dream I left you with was to dream not about a nation being saved, not a town, community or not even 20, 10 or 5 people. No, how about the small dream of praying for, blessing and witnessing to one person over the next season. Many of you committed to doing this by writing a name on the board as a prophetic act.
So, how has it gone? How have the last few days gone? As I write this I have remembered to pray for the person for two days. So far, it’s going pretty well.
However you are doing, we can all do with a little help. Sometimes the thought of sharing your faith with someone can feel daunting and it’s hard to know where to start. You’re not alone! Most of us feel like that. There can be this urge to run, change the subject or retreat — but if we listen to the still voice of the Holy Spirit inside of us, hopefully we take that step and go for it. As Christians, it is a joy to speak life into the lives of those around us so they too may know the hope of Christ that is within us.
And God has given us three promises which have helped me share my faith:
God is for me (Romans 8:31)
I have the life of Christ inside me (Galatians 2:20)
The Holy Spirit will help me (John 14:26–27)
If you are praying and witnessing here are three practical tips to help from Morag Paton.
1. The goal of sharing your faith is to win people, not arguments
There’s a fantastic scripture in the Bible, 1 Peter 3:15–17 — 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
It’s important that we spend time in conversation to understand their journey, viewpoints and experiences. Don’t be offended if your friend is really negative about God, offence breeds contention, and that’s the last thing you need. In a situation like this, a good way to respond would be something like; “I’m really sorry that you feel that way, can you explain why?” Try to read between the lines and listen to what is not being said. You will start to notice areas of pain, distrust, anger, sadness etc, keep them in mind as the conversation continues.
God’s loving kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Ask God to help you be a carrier of that kindness. Kindness isn’t about agreeing, but it’s speaking truth in love. Be careful not to jump to your own conclusions about why your friends are responding in a particular manner, listen to the Holy Spirit and ask questions. Asking questions is a fabulous way to get understanding, and it helps keep the conversation open and friendly.
2. Stay consistent online and offline
Discipleship and evangelism go hand in hand. Our behaviours and our actions disciple people, the question is what sort of discipleship are we presenting? Take a look at Ephesians 5:15–20 — Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.
Our lives are being watched both offline and online. The online space can be a great place to have conversation, but it’s also a place where people tend to turn into someone or something else! Social media should not be a place to get on your personal ‘soap box’ and blast opinions at people. It is a place however where a mirage of thoughts, opinions and lives are shared for all to see.
If you do happen to get ‘blasted’ by a friend because of a post you have shared or you feel to ‘blast’ someone back, ‘stop’ — take a breath and a moment to think and pray first.
Is there more to the story you need to ask first
How can I respond in a loving and kind way? Consider, does this conversation need to happen in a private message or offline?
3. Use language which is easily understood
Your friends will understand you better if you use everyday language. Be intentional with your choice of words. Sometimes without thinking we start using words that would only be heard in church or read in the Bible. In conversation, avoid words like; atonement for your sin, the blood of the lamb, born again, sanctification, or hedge of protection. The list can go on! I had a funny discussion with some friends the other night about, what does a “travelling mercy” mean?
Whether your conversation is online or offline, always take time to consider how to respond to your friends. Trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you speak — and of course you’re praying for your friends already right?
Being vulnerable as we share our lives with others helps them see we are not some superhuman, but, just like them, we also struggle. People connect with stories. As much as possible try to share through storytelling. Can you relate the situation to a personal experience you’ve had?
One useful way to help you is an app called yesHEis. The app is a great companion for you as you seek to dream small and be a witness to one person over this season.