Taking The Plunge
I don’t have many non-Christian friends but in the last few years, through my now husband, I’ve joined a close-knit group of people who don’t necessarily have an active faith.
They know that my husband and I are Christians but the most we tend to say is that we need to make plans around going to church, or I talk about working for a Christian charity, and there are sometimes observations about the fact that we don’t swear; but we never get much past that.
I’ve also recently deleted my Facebook account (not just the app- the whole account!), which means that I’m not bombarded by unwanted updates on people’s lives or obnoxious advertisements in my feed but that I also have to be much more intentional about my communication with people.
In past years I might have shared a Lent reflection via Facebook, letting the Facebook algorithms decide who gets to see it, and letting my friends decide whether to engage with it or not, without much risk.
This year I had to really choose whether to open a conversation with my friends about this significant season. Well, in the spirit of Church Army’s value of risk-taking, I took the plunge, and in an intimate group text conversation I shared a photo of my Ash Wednesday cross, and asked if anyone else had been ‘ashed’.
It felt like a very exposing message. I didn’t have to send it. But I chose to shine a spotlight on how my faith was affecting my day, and how it set me apart from how my friends were experiencing their day.
Amongst the more banterous responses, one person did ask what it means, as they had seen a class from the local school leaving church with grey crosses on their heads too.
I gave a simple explanation in the least ‘churchy’ words I could, and left it at that. The conversation moved on.
On the Lenten theme of Being Salt & Light (see the previous blog by Chris Hardy, and Church Army’s Lent series), I have to believe that this small nugget of light will make a difference. Even for 5 minutes my friend’s lives were interrupted by a brief message of truth – that we are saved by the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice and want to celebrate that.
I might not see any direct fruit from the message I sent, but it’s part of a growing conversation; slowly making my life and faith more transparent before my friends.
Those of us who are not naturally gifted evangelists can often pressure ourselves to make grand gestures when sharing our faith, but if I can encourage you with two things about evangelism it would be these:
- Be bold
- Start small