If you’ve ever felt that you’re not as open about sharing your faith as you should be I recommend Get Real Sharing, Your Everyday Faith Every Day, by John S. Leonard. John S. Leonard, PhD is a professor at Westminster Seminary and the founding pastor of Creshiem Valley Church. I’ve felt that I haven’t been as open as I should be about sharing my faith. Dr. Leonard addresses all the reasons for not sharing openly with others that I’ve struggled with in his book.
In one part of his book John Leonard describes being hesitant to share the gospel even when you’re excited to, because you feel that you “don’t have all the answers”. According to him, many of us live under the guilt of not being “Christian enough”. I’ve felt this way. He writes that you don’t have to have all the answers. He also wrote that we as Christians should look for people to “listen to” not talk at. Being a good listener is valuable. This was very encouraging to me. I know how important it is for people to feel that they’ve been heard.
He also mentions that “one of the most important holidays to participate in, for Christ’s sake, is Halloween”. You’ll meet your neighbors. He recommends that you be “normal folk and a great addition to the neighborhood”. We need these opportunities to “allow our Christian faith to leak out”. If we remain strangers in our own neighborhoods how can we ever share the gospel with those around us?
Dr. Leonard advises that when sharing with neighbors we should relax and be ourselves. “Our job is not to pressure, but to explain and clarify. It is God who changes the heart.” This removes the feeling of failure if the party you’re sharing with isn’t open to hearing the gospel. It’s not our works that gain us anything it’s purely by grace alone, so relax and enjoy your conversations with others.
He suggests that we pray for others when we’re with them. Ask them what they’d like you to pray about on their behalf. When people ask for your advice, tell them that you will pray for them. He suggests praying with your eyes open because people will get uncomfortable in public when you’re praying for them with your eyes closed. He writes ”it is powerful to look someone in the eye while you’re praying for him. It is as if you’re looking into his soul”. Praying with my eyes open never occurred to me. This is a very valid observation. You want people to feel comfortable around you.
The last paragraph of the book is: “The gospel is too good to be true. And once you believe that–truly believe that–nothing will stop you from wanting to share it”. John Leonard’s book inspires Christians to share their faith with others as an everyday part of life.
Understanding that no one has all the answers or is perfectly equipped to share their faith, but that it should be a relaxed, comfortable part of our everyday lives takes the pressure off. This book encourages sharing in many useful, positive ways. It’s a valuable resource for evangelism.
by Kirsten Wanamaker
Leonard, John S., Get Real Sharing Your Everyday Faith Every Day (Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2013)