(picture of my dear friend who shares Jesus online every day)
Pastor Steven Roberts (Life Church) said on Facebook, “I get nervous talking to people about Jesus. This truth helps. It’s not about how clever or cool I am. God is already working in their heart and I get to be a part of the process. The only way to mess it up is to say nothing at all.”
I find a nervous pastor comforting. It’s not just me that struggles with sharing my faith. Is it safe to assume that’s why most people find it easier to share a meme about Jesus or a bit of Bible verse instead of engaging online or face-to-face with the deeper questions? Is that like tossing a handful of seeds out into a field and hoping they land in the prepared soil? Pride and fear are emotions I feel when I share my faith.
What if I don’t have all the answers? What if I fail? What if I let them down? Pride causes me to want to find the answers, to engage in debate instead of discussion, to be right. Voices From The Field: Conversations with Our Global Family by TJ Macleslie comforts me.
In the chapter titled, Sodnom—Mongolia, the story shares about a Mongolian Christian named, Sodnom. She grew up in Communist Russia as a Buddhist. In this chapter, Sodnom shares her experiences about missionaries. For me, missionaries always seemed like people who had all the answers.
“Missionaries are impatient and try to force the Gospel on us without knowing the history and context of our lives. Missionaries must understand the journey we have to make in order to truly embrace the gospel.” (Location 200)
Sodnom also shares how missionaries impacted her life.
“Wisely they (Jon and Vonnie) didn’t say anything but prayed…I think this is a very important lesson for missionaries to learn. Remember that you are guests in our country and even though you disagree with us, please do not ridicule or judge us for our beliefs. You need to respect our beliefs and traditions. (Location 213). This older couple never told us what to believe; rather they prayed, asking God’s Word to speak into our lives in a way that we could understand. (Location 236)”
She shared, “Our American friends had taken us to God’s Word and allowed it to speak to our lives. (location 247)”
Translating this chapter into my work with social media, I requoted what Sodnom said on Location 259. When you share stuff online, serve online, realize you will be living in a new world. Seek to understand the online world and the people you will interact with. Be sensitive to God and His leading; be sensitive to your new environment. Be prepared to change.
Pastor Steven Roberts words resonate with others, too and he is right when he says, “The only way to mess it up is to say nothing at all.”
Friends, you are not alone in your fear and nervousness or in your grappling with pride. The most important thing I have learned is to let the Holy Spirit do His work. Follow God’s leading.