Exploring discipleship in natural and uncomplicated ways
As a community begins to take shape, relationships grow deeper and community members begin to share their stories, their hopes, and their beliefs with one another. It is in this stage that discipleship can be explored. How do you answer the question of what you believe or why you live your life the way you do? How do you initiate conversations about faith with those who are open and interested?
The concept of evangelism can feel daunting for many Christians. We worry that we need all the right answers to tough questions or face missing our chance and not being able to convince someone to follow Jesus. But the concern with being right or persuading a person to believe as we believe often leads us in the wrong direction. The good news of Jesus Christ is not something that just happens in one prayer; it is something that is lived, experienced, and shared. It’s not something one should need to be convinced of. With Fresh Expressions, sharing Jesus is deeply relational. It begins and ends with dialogue, connection, and mutual listening.
Begin simply with conversations. Ask someone what they think of a certain theological concept or passage in the Bible. Listen to their thoughts on belief or God. Explore ideas and deep questions alongside them. Allow for disagreements and unanswered questions. Be vulnerable and truthful about the things you don’t know. If you come into a relationship as an equal–as just another person finding their way in this life–others will respond and become willing to be vulnerable, too. Don’t pressure yourself by needing to have all the answers. Eventually, you’ll find that you can add some practices into your fresh expression that center around Jesus and Christian spirituality.
Perhaps you have a growing fresh expression that meets to do crafts together every other week. Rather than taking up the time usually given for activity and chatting to preach or give a Bible lesson, offer a short, optional time at the end to do something like praying, singing, or reading a Bible passage followed by discussion. This allows the group to continue doing the things they came and expect to do yet invites them to freely choose deeper spiritual exploration.
It can feel nerve-wracking to share your faith with others, but when there is already a foundation of friendship and trust, which comes from consistency, deep listening, and vulnerability, these kinds of conversations come naturally. As always with the Fresh Expressions Journey, sharing Jesus is built upon the continuation of the steps that came before it: listening, loving and serving, and building community.
If you would like to learn more about how to begin sharing Jesus with your fresh expressions of church, check out https://sharingjesus.life/. This resource from Fresh Expressions UK is incredible. It contains videos, stories, and step-by-step guides to move your community forward toward discipleship in a natural, uncomplicated way.