Do you ever feel intimidated when it comes to sharing your faith? Does your heart pound or do your palms sweat when God drops an opportunity to witness squarely in your lap? Have you ever wondered if this disqualifies you from being able to set the pace for your students when it comes to evangelism? Should the reality that you’re not entirely comfortable in this area yourself prevent you from effectively mobilizing and equipping your students to share their faith with their friends? Absolutely NOT!
In fact, I would argue that acknowledging your fears, when it comes to evangelism, actually enhances your ability to effectively train your students. It will help you identify with your students’ fears and give you insights to help them wrestle with those fears in light of the teachings of Scripture. And as you share your own efforts and challenges with your teens, they can take courage from seeing that learning to share your faith is a process—a process you can continually grow in and become better at.
So what are some of the biggest evangelism fears and what Biblical insights can help us wrestle with those fears? I encourage you to personally drill down into the following four common fears when it comes to sharing our faith. Once you’ve wrestled through these personal reflection questions yourself, consider taking them to your adult and student leaders for a time of group discussion.
Fear #1: Rejection
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4, NLT).
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord (2 Timothy 1:7-8, NLT).
- Why do you think it’s so natural to fear being rejected by others who aren’t believers?
- What do these verses have to say about pleasing God versus pleasing other people? Is that easy or difficult for you? Why or why not?
- According to 2 Timothy, what can you draw upon to overcome your fear of rejection?
Fear #2: I Won’t Know What to Say
And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way (1 Peter 3:15, NLT).
- Do you feel prepared to clearly and compellingly explain the gospel to others?
- What could you do to become more prepared? (For help with this, check out lifein6words.com.)
Fear #3: My Friends Won’t Believe Me
If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.
Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful (2 Corinthians 4:3-6, The Message).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).
- Do you actually have friends who are not believers? If not, what can you change in your life so that you are actively cultivating friendship that will provide opportunities for relational evangelism?
- Is it your fault if your friends shrug you off and don’t give the gospel serious attention?
- If sharing the gospel with your friends really is a spiritual battle, what are some of the implications?
Fear #4: I’m Not a Perfect Christian
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV).
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? (1 Corinthians 1:26-28, The Message).
- Why does God use imperfect people to carry His message?
- Why do you think God chooses to use “nobodies” in His plan?
If you want to lead your teenagers onward and upward on the exciting adventure of learning to share their faith with their friends, facing your own evangelism fears is an important step along the journey!