Last year I went on my first ever "mission trip" with my church and an organization called Filter of Hope. It was a beautiful experience, with so many good effects for those of us who went, those who sent, and those who received (so to speak). It was fun, it was interesting, it expanded my understanding of the world, and it provided an important resource (water filters) to an impoverished community. Truth was proclaimed, compassion was elicited, and the love of Jesus was felt.
But going has left me with a lot of questions that I need some help answering if I am going to continue moving forward in support of mission trips like this. Over the next few weeks I'm going to explore them and I would love your feedback. The first question is...
What does it mean to share your faith and why is that important?
I've heard plenty of evangelical propaganda encouraging me to tell people about Jesus (the gospel?) and get them to recite a phrase (prayer?) that will magically give them admittance into our exclusive Eternal Disney World (heaven?).
While I haven't agreed with this hocus-pocus framing, I know a lot of people who really believe that this is the meaning of and point to sharing your faith. But if it's NOT, what is?
Is sharing my faith something God has actually asked of us (commanded us?), as his followers, to do? Are we supposed to be letting others know about the God we follow? Are we supposed to be testifying of the work we've seen Him do or the work we've heard of Him doing?
And if God does command it, do we have any biblical or historical evidence of Jesus doing this? Or followers of Jesus doing it?
And if we have that evidence—what does it show? Does it have anything to do with a phrase of magic words or a promise of a final vacation? And if it doesn't, what is it about and how should I be doing it?
Somebody show me the money.
Unsplash Alexander Grey