As a member of the National Evangelism Team for American Baptist Churches of the USA I do a lot of reading about the role of personal evangelism in the life of a Christian. I have come to the conclusion that the least offensive and most effective form of evangelism takes place within a relationship. It is witnessing in its most basic form…sharing one’s own story.
Thinking about that has forced me to face the fact that I don’t really have a personal narrative. I share bits and pieces of my faith from time to time, but never felt that my own experience had enough drama to qualify as witnessing. I’ve tried to console myself with the thought that the way I live my life is my testimony of faith, along the lines of “walking the walk, not just talking the talk”. I might even confess to being just a teensy bit smug about it.
Lately I’ve realized that while I’ve been outspokenly critical of what I call “stealth churches” (those who downplay their denominational affiliation almost to the point of seeming ashamed of the association), by failing to give words to the experiences and influences that have led me to my decisions and beliefs, I am in danger of becoming a “stealth Christian”.
I need to consciously prepare my personal narrative and be unashamed of sharing it when the opportunity arises and the Spirit leads. My story is my personal piece of the Good News and therefore my responsibility to share in response to the Great Commission.
The title of the book and TV series “Silent Witness” refers to the forensic clues found on a murder victim that testify against the killer. Jesus Christ is alive. His followers are living, breathing evidence of his goodness and grace. We need to not only walk the walk, but tell everyone we meet just why we walk as we do, and what a difference Jesus has made in our lives.