One of the things I hear as a Pastor from other Christians is concern and anxiety about sharing their faith. It feels scary, we don’t know how people are going to respond, and in today’s climate, we expect that mostly the response we will get is going to be negative, dismissive and potentially degrading.
The truth is as a Pastor; we don’t necessarily feel any different. In fact, sometimes it can be slightly trickier, people always want to know what our stance is on the Royal Commission, controversial topics and one that I get regularly, “Can priests have tattoos?”
I can relate to those feelings of concern and anxiety, but I had an experience recently that helped change my mindset.
Recently my car broke down.
I live about 30 minutes from my work at the moment. While my car was getting fixed, I had to figure out a way to get to and from work. I chose to use Uber as my go to service to get around. (Sorry to any taxi drivers reading this.)
This though is where God came in.
I’d been wrestling with God about making connections with people outside of my workplace. I think it’s important as a Pastor to stay connected to people who work in places other than a Church. For many different reasons whether it’s that you can hear stories of what people are dealing with, making your leadership and preaching more real. Also because as Pastor’s we are called to make disciples and proclaim the gospel in our lives outside of work, we are also encouraging others to do that and need to embody it ourselves.
I had to catch three different Uber rides during this time, and each one of them was an experience that taught me a lot. I want to focus in on the thing that changed my perspective.
Everyone is looking for meaning, and we have something to offer.
My first driver was an Afghani Christian, who had moved to Australia.
My second driver was a middle aged woman, who talked about her not getting along with her father. “Most likely because people with our star signs often have conflict.”
My third driver was a middle aged man, who believed in a higher power, that he prayed to, but wasn’t committed to any form of religion.
All of them asked me what I did for a living, and every time I held on to the inner door handle. Just in case when I told the drivers I was a pastor they tried to kick me out of a moving car.
The response I got every time was far different; it was often met with them sharing their experiences, their questions, their thoughts on everything from marriage, how to read the bible and even if God loves everyone.
What I found most profound though was this realisation, in every conversation I had with those drivers, we were all talking about what we found brought meaning to our lives. What we believed brought meaning to the world.
In light of this new awareness, I was thinking about so many of my other conversations I have had around faith, and so many of them end up following a similar path. They end up with two people sharing about what they believe brings meaning to the world, and to their worlds.
I hope that you just like me, you can see how this takes a lot of the pressure of us. It’s not about having the five points lined up perfectly or you being able to disarm all their arguments.
The only thing that I believe is our responsibility is how we engage in the conversations. I believe should we engage with respect, interest, and care.
When we do that, what we often find is that these same values are reflected back to us.
So when it comes to sharing your faith, remember that people are interested in conversations about the meaning of life. That they will engage with you with the same attitude, you engage with. Most importantly though, remember that you have something to bring to this conversation. In fact, I believe you have the answer to the meaning of life and my prayer is that you will have a renewed confidence and calm about sharing that with other people.
Because it isn’t as bad, we often make it out to be.