When it comes to students living out their faith in Christ, we can be super influential in how they go about it. I would say in an attempt to help students see the seriousness of living for Christ, I believe sometimes we use our influence and scare the crap out of them. And while some people may think that works, I believe it actually causes them to live in fear. At the end of the day, fear is the worst motivator when it comes to living out our faith.
Just think about influencing students to share their faith for instance. Well, I believe the first thing we always do is use the words “You have to”. We say you have to share your faith in which students automatically think, “What happens if I don’t?”
The words “have to” communicate fear in three ways:
- I have no choice.
- I must be perfect because it’s something I have to do.
- The possibility of failure.
Now, before you think I’m a heretic, I totally understand that as a believer in Jesus Christ I’m called to share the gospel. That’s not my argument. My argument is based off the number one reason why students don’t share their faith. It is because of fear, and I feel like we perpetuate that fear sometimes.
So one thing that I believe we can do to help students not be so afraid of sharing their faith, and that is to change our language from “You have to” to “You get to”.
Using the phrase “you get to” promotes three things:
- It makes the mission doable. The fact that it’s something you get to do implies it’s something you can do.
- It adds value to the mission. You’re able to share what it means to serve Christ and come alongside some of the hero’s of the faith and share the good news.
- It releases the student from the pressure and fear of failure. Again, read number one. You can’t fail at something you can do!
We need to be helping students see that sharing their faith is not about something they have to do, but it’s about something they get to do and be apart of.
Another thing that you can do to relieve the fear of faith-sharing is stress the fact that your students get to share the gospel. A lot of times students are afraid to share, because they feel like they have to close the deal and convert their friends to Christianity. That’s not the case at all. We get to promote, talk about, and share the good news of Jesus and his plan for us. I love being able to release students from the stress of feeling like they must convert people.
I remember feeling this way growing up. If I was turned away or ignored I would feel super bad about the fact that they didn’t accept what I had to say. I really felt like they were rejecting me. I took it really personal and it pushed me away from wanting to share my faith.
So my goal with this post is to hopefully help you think more critically about how you help your students share their faith, and help you change how you present the gospel when you share. I definitely want to help students not go through what I went through. Help them learn to leave the conversion to God because he is the only one who can change the heart.
Hope it helps,
The new book by Carl Medearis helps students realize sharing their faith doesn’t have to be scary. Check out Speaking of Jesus: Student Edition.