by Patrick Collins
While I’m a huge advocate of evangelism and apologetics, there are some foundational mistakes that people make. Before you go out and share, let me encourage you to have these things in place.
Have a relationship with God. This means both make sure you’re a Christian (you know why you’re a Christian) as well as practice spiritual disciplines.
Are you sure you’re a Christian? It’s a question many will just glance over and then look to the next point, but let me encourage you to stop here for a minute. Ask and answer yourself these questions:
What is a Christian?
When did I become a Christian?
What evidence in my life shows that I’m growing as a Christian?
What is the Gospel?
Why did Jesus die on the cross?
What role does works or baptism play in salvation?
Can I really know that I’m saved?
What am I being saved from?
How do I know that I’m saved?
These are basic and essential questions that you need to have firm and confident answers to. It’s OK to have doubts or question certain things, and that’s part of the journey. It’s OK not to have a specific memory of when you got saved - just be sure that you know there was a time when you were not saved and in need of the Savior and a time after that in which you placed your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
If you’re not resolved on these questions, you should probably make getting wise counsel from a trusted advisor a higher priority than sharing the Gospel. That’s a controversial statement, but you need to be solid on these foundations first.
If you are confident in these areas, be prepared to answer the question, "Why are you a Christian?" This is usually when you tell your story of how you became a Christian and how your life has changed since then. I encourage people when they share their story ("testimony") to point out that they recognized they were sinners in need of a Savior, tell the Gospel, what happened when they responded to hearing the Gospel, and a couple specific examples of where they saw God working in their life. You'll want to practice this and be flexible in what details you give. Sometimes you have to shorten your story for time limitations.
For spiritual disciplines (fancy word for prayer, Bible study, fasting, attending church, etc), it’s hard to be consistent. Don’t let that get you down. If you are being faithful in talking with unbelievers and evangelism, you need to have a strong prayer life. This is spiritual warfare. Remember we’re not relying on our own wisdom or strength, but on God to bring salvation. Our job is to share the truth in love…
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