While we know we are all missionaries, that term “missionary” can be a hard one to grasp. While I know wherever I go I am to be an ambassador of Christ, and while I know as I go I must continue to be a disciple and have an ever growing seriousness about knowing God, I can get hung up on the practical outworking of what it actually means to be missional. Over the next few weeks, we will consider a number of practical elements to being a missionary of Christ wherever He may lead us to go.
The first practical element of being a missionary is being able to share your story, or testimony as it is often called in the Church. This is the most basic and foundational thing we should be able to do as missionaries for a number of reasons.
First, we all have a story. None of us were born Christians. We may have had a Christian family or upbringing, but at some point, we received the gift of salvation just like everyone else. Thus all of us have a story of how exactly that happened. Your story typically will have elements such as what your life was like before you knew Christ, how you first were introduced to Christ, some turning point at which you finally came to Christ and what your life has been like since then. Your story may add or subtract one of these steps, but this is a good blueprint to fill in with your details when trying to share your story of how you came to Christ with others.
Second, stories are simple for us to share and for others to hear. The great thing about us sharing our story of how we came to Christ is that we know the details, the emotions and the circumstances better than anyone else. You are literally an expert on your story. When we are trying to share something we don’t really know much about, we can feel insecure about sharing and thus don’t share. But when we are sharing our story, we should be emboldened by the fact that we know these events and we alone are most qualified to share them.
Now sometimes sharing our story can be difficult because we are sharing personal details about our life which many of us have a hard time sharing with others. This is why I believe it is wise to write out your story first. Having it written down helps you feel like you have all the details you want to share as well as allows you to reference it later to remember details you may have forgotten. You can also practice your story with some Christian friends or family before going out and sharing it with non-Christians. They can provide feedback that can help you feel more comfortable and confident to share in the future.
The other reason why sharing your story is great is because it is also an easy way to start a spiritual conversation. If you were to invite someone to Church or pull out a Bible and start discussing it, you would find that most people would either run for the hills or feel super uncomfortable. This is mainly because of so many misconceptions non-Christians have about the Bible, Church and Christians. But if you were to talk with a non-Christian friend or family member about your story, about the personal details and circumstances that led you to the place where you became a Christ follower, most people would be able to relax and willing to at least hear you out.
This leads to the third reason why sharing your story is so important. Because there is power in hearing from someone you know about their personal experience. We love word of mouth. Whether we are trying to choose a great restaurant or where to travel to, we typically trust the advise and opinions of someone we know versus a stranger. This is true in spiritual matters as well. Taking your friends to Church can be helpful, but they don’t know the Pastor so any teachings or personal details he shares will most likely have little meaning.
But if you were to share some of the highs and lows on your journey to knowing Christ, that will undoubtedly have a great impact on your non-Christian friend as they know you and to some extent trust your word of mouth account. There truly is great power in sharing the personal details of our life with others.
That is why this is such a simple, yet impactful way for you to be the missionary you were called to be. You know your story. You just have to be willing to take the time to write it down, practice it and then in the strength and boldness of the Lord, share it with others. The non-Christians around you are curious about how you, (someone similar or very different than them), became a Christian while they have not. So tell them how and why it happened, all the while giving glory to God for what He has done and is doing in your life.