This is a guest post from Mena Mirhom. In his own words, Mena "was trained in medicine but my job is to share Christ and His Church with people who have less access to Him, and to help train Orthodox Christians to do the same." You can follow Mena on twitter or on his blog, And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
How do I share my faith?
Luckily, I don't have to convince you that sharing your faith is important. Fr. Anthony has already done that in previous posts. The aim here is specific examples and principles on how you can do it. Hundreds of young Orthodox Christians around you and around the world have been the guinea pigs for this already, so rest assured :)
From LA and Vancouver, New York and Toronto all the way to the UK, Holland and Switzerland...God is doing a mighty work to show Himself strong on behalf of those who are willing to give it a try. (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). Wanna give it a go?
A Gift and A Question
Jesus was able to do a lot with just those two things. His gifts were often that of healing and feeding, but we can stick with the feeding part. By just offering people free water, soda coffee or treats, it makes people wonder why you're doing this. And when it's with no strings attached, it really confuses people (in a good way).
Then comes the question part. For someone who knew...EVERYTHING, Jesus seemed to ask a whole lot of questions - over 100 to be exact. Why? Because the Lord Jesus knew that when you ask someone a question, they actually think.
Socrates, Jewish Rabbi's, medical doctors and even interviewers have used this approach for a long time. The goal of this is to get to know the person and understand their personal background, in order to share Christ in a way that makes sense to them. It's often been said "build a bridge between your heart and their heart, then let Christ walk across.” To do this, we must become all things to all people. (see 1 Corinthians 9). But how can we do that, if we don't know who the person in front us is or what they believe?
One way we've used in dozens of cities now is to first ask “Hey, we're doing a survey. Would you like to participate?”
If they ask, we explain that it's about “faith and choices.” By this initial intro, we give people a chance to opt out from the very beginning if they're not interested. The core questions of the oral survey are:
1) Do you believe in a “higher power?” Why/why not?2) What is your religious background and how did you come to it? 3) How would you describe Jesus?
There are many more questions to the survey, but just by asking these and then follow-up questions, you're able to discover misconceptions and share more truth in love over a casual conversation.
Too Easy...Does It Work?
You bet! I could tell you tons stories...but I only have 800 words or so. I could tell you about Stan from Chicago who was going to commit SUICIDE, but didn't...because of the love and care that the church showed him that day. I could tell you about Simon, a rich businessman in the U.K., who let God back into his life after years of being away from Him. Or Helen from Amsterdam who battled a life of prostitution until she was reminded of her worth in Christ.
People from various faiths, various backgrounds or various lifestyles were eager to hear about the love of Christ and His church from “amateur” Christians who have been blown away by the power of God working right in their neighborhood. These young people faced their initial terror of sharing their faith, only to realize that it's not as intimidating as it sounds...and that it is nothing short of life saving at times.
Once you you're about to make a move, Mr. devil will find you 10,000 excuses not to. He'll remind you of a bunch of half truths. “You're not good enough, not trained enough, not free enough, not done with the work IN the church, not done working on yourself, not done with your lunch- whatever!” All of these are half truths.
The other half is that God uses us in spite of all of these things. This IS a way we work on ourselves and our churches and encounter Christ. He sanctifies us. He prepares us. It's His work.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III once answered all of these objections with a simple answer:
Let me ask you a question, who's work is this? God's or yours? If it's His, shouldn't you be sure that He will be doing it well through you? Can you stand beside a burning house and ponder if you are “called to help? Can you watch a drowning child and wonder if you are “called” to save him?”
As Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador, we don't need a call...we need a kick in the pants.
For more training videos & the full survey: Check out the free Orthodox Evangelism class online under the auspice of His Grace Bishop Youssef of the Southern United States.
For discussion: what other ways can we practically share our faith in our local community?