Christianity is a public faith. Jesus is Lord of all. And Jesus is the Savior of the world. Christianity is never private.
One pastor recently gave a good diagnostic tool for Christians in evaluating how private their faith had become. He said as a Christian, you fit into one of three categories.
- Private – Christians who have many friendships with non-Christians, but tend to keep their faith to themselves and don’t talk about it.
- Secluded – Christians who feel comfortable talking about faith, but don’t have meaningful friendships with non-Christians.
- Public – Christians who have meaningful friendships with non-Christians and feel comfortable talking about the gospel.
Now, it might not need mentioning, but I’ll say it anyways. Only one of those types of Christians is the goal. Our aim is to be public Christians.
The question is, “How?” Let’s look at some possible answers to this question.
How do I move from “private” to a “public” Christian?
I would offer one piece of counsel. Pray. Start to ask God to give you chances to begin to go public with your faith. Along with prayer, Tim Keller offers 10 ways to go public with your faith (only one of which is sharing the gospel.)
- Let your friend know you go to church.
- Listen to their problems with real sympathy and care without giving particularly Christian input.
- Share one of your own problems with them.
- Ask them what they believe about God and faith and just listen without having to share what you believe.
- Share your own story of your faith journey and turning points.
- Introduce non-believing friends with other Christians.
- Sit down and ask, “What are your biggest objections to Christian faith?” and just listen. Don’t feel like you need to answer them.
- Bring your friends to some key events that connect people to Christian faith.
- Read a Christian book or the Bible with a friend.
- Share the gospel with them.
Personally, my favorites are #2 and #4, because it always gives me incredible insight into a person’s view of God.
I encourage you to pray for God to give you an opportunity to try one of these out soon.
How do I move from “secluded” to a “public” Christian?
Do a quick life audit.
What do I mean? This is very simple. Make a list of all the “environments” in your normal life that may involve other people. For each item, determine if that environment surrounds you with Christians or non-Christians.
My audit is below. As a pastor, my list is heavy on Christian-only environments. The only reason my home is non-Christian is because my children are not believers yet otherwise most of my life would be secluded.
So here is my audit.
Make a list of non-Christians we want to have over.
Find a non-Christian barber.
Hunt with non-Christians.
Here are my three changes I made.
- I noticed that my wife and I were always having Christians over for dinner. So we started a dinner list of non-Christian friends and slowly we are working our way through that list.
- I used to cut my own hair. It’s cheaper, but it was another way that helped keep me secluded, so I decided to put a hair cut back in the budget. I found a non-Christian hairdresser, and I’m slowly building that relationship.
- I also love to hunt. Without even trying, my hunting friends had all become Christian buddies. I had to intentionally think how to hunt with non-Christians. I have a non-Christian friend from a previous job who loves to bird hunt. Now he is the first person I call come dove season even though I could easily fill up my hunting groups with Christian friends.
Now, none of these are earth-shattering insights. This is just my simple way of being intentional and keeping my Christian life from getting too secluded.
What changes would you need to make?
- Would you need to stop shopping on Amazon and go the San Tan Mall for your shoes?
- Would you need to unjoin that church softball league and join a city league?
- Would you need to find a way to commute to work with non-believers in your area?
- Would you need to attend your work’s happy hour even though it conflicts with your Bible study?
I encourage you to really think through this. Jesus was a “friend of sinners.” It’s hard to be friends with people you don’t spend any time with.
– See more at: http://gateway.redemptionaz.com/resources/blog-posts/detail/how-to-go-public-with-your-faith/#sthash.5H1sFWbL.dpuf