“Reach the unchurched” Isn’t that the present mantra of the Evangelical Christian church? Seeker sensitive services, sermons relevant to the current culture, etc. Yet, as I’ve listened to average Christians sharing their faith in the ‘town square’ of today, the internet, I’ve become increasing aware of a language barrier, or at least a consistent use of Biblical language even when sharing our faith with nonbelievers. Whenever I’ve seen this, I feel a compulsion to join the conversation as an interpreter as I see the nonbeliever either turned off or trying to interpret the Biblical words into their own level of understanding of these ‘religious’ terms. Then I had a unique experience of my own in a conversation with another believer who did not have my Evangelical indoctrination into proper Biblical terminology. In attempting to determine our similarities and differences in beliefs, I found we were continually defining terms to one another. In the end I found we shared the same core beliefs but this ‘non-Evangelical’ had the ability to communicate his faith in terms that any person outside Evangelical circles would understand but did not necessarily fit within our limited religious terminology. This challenged me, and I decided to also present this challenge to some of my fellow Christian writers on the internet. I sent a challenge to a Christian group on one of the writing website communities that I am a part of. This was the challenge:
Write a testimony about your faith as if you were sharing it with a non-Christian BUT you cannot use Biblical or religious terms. The following (or any form of these words ) CANNOT be used:
No quoting of scripture. You MUST INCLUDE the name of JESUS.
Get yourself out of the church shaped box and prove to me you share spiritual truths with non-spiritual language.
Typical comments from the writers were similar to this one: “This was not easy for me because not using so many of these words are much harder than I thought. “
I had thirteen responses to the challenge and they came in a variety of forms which were fascinating to read. How about you? How difficult would it be for you to share your faith without quoting scripture or using any of the terms above? Is that necessary in all situations? Of course not. But at the same time, shouldn’t our faith in Jesus be such a part of us that we can explain it to anyone regardless of their church background or lack thereof? You can find all the responses to my challenge at: http://allpoetry.com/contest/2468129