Someone wrote to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to ask …
Q: Why is it so hard to talk about the most important Person in my life? Why do I hesitate to pass along the best News I have ever heard?
A: Your question could easily be the question of several million people. The Church as a whole struggles with sharing its faith. I haven’t visited a church in 20 years–and I’ve been in many churches–where more than 10 percent of those in attendance have shared their faith with an unbeliever. Recently, in the church audiences where I speak, the number of people who have shared Christ has almost always been below 5 percent.
We seem to be ashamed of the Gospel that brought us our salvation. Although the mindset is not the same in many places overseas, in North America we often will do everything to avoid one of the things that the Gospel requires of us. We have forgotten that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, is there to help us.
This tragic silence in the collective Church is not limited by its style. I speak to different denominations all the time, and I see that a church or a denomination’s expression or form of worship has nothing to do with the slim percentage of its people who obey the Great Commission.
The fear of rejection is the most common barrier people have to sharing their faith. But we must remember that success is sharing our faith and living it out for Christ. Success has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing anyone to the Lord. Neither you nor I nor our pastors are responsible for anyone’s conversion. We are to be witnesses. Although we may feel like we are the ones being rejected, it is Jesus and Scripture that are being rejected.
For 40 years I was highly antagonistic to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Over this time, 10 to 15 people who dared to talk with me about Jesus were insulted and persecuted. I remember one Christian telling me that the difference between happiness and inner peace was that happiness comes from the things of the world and that it never lasts. Inner peace, he said, is being OK regardless of the circumstances in life. When I asked him how to get this inner peace, he responded, “Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I cursed him to his face and stormed away. For the next several years, God poured Christians into my life. Although they probably walked away from me thinking they had failed, I never forgot their names, their words or their faces.
In 1981, following two arrests, I was a broken, desperate man. I now wanted that inner peace in my life. I remembered a pastor whom I had met a couple of years earlier, and I drove 85 miles to his little country church. When I arrived, he said, “Bill, why don’t you kneel down and just start talking to God?”
So many people had shared Christ with me over the years, and it seemed that the Holy Spirit brought it all back to me in a moment. On March 4, 1981, at 10 a.m. on the dusty wooden floor of that church–in a puddle of my own tears–God chose to take my life and change it. Jesus Christ became my Lord and my Savior.
Now my whole heartbeat is not only to share my faith, but also to equip others to do it. I have no other desire in my life.