When thinking about the short term mission trip I participated in last year, I have a lot of questions. I've already asked if sharing our faith is important, what role the Holy Spirit plays in doing so, and how we might utilize cold-turkey evangelism in an emotionally healthy way. Now let's dig deeper into the method of sharing.
Some of the training we went through before our trip to El Salvador included watching videos of using the water filters we were giving out as an illustration for the cleansing of a person's soul. These included scripts we might use when doing our own demonstrations. They targeted specific themes of the gospel narrative, specifically the dirtiness of mankind's sin, the impossibility of adding something more to make dirty things clean, and the purity of the work of God. I found these illustrations to be interesting analogies, albeit imperfect (as all analogies are).
Repeating these scripts required zero authentic experience from me. I didn't need to understand my own story with God nor feel any particular way about the scripts. In fact, we could have just replayed the video in each home we visited to achieve the same result. Having the script actually provided me the opportunity to emotionally check out if I had wanted to. It also calmed my nerves to not have to think about what to say.
The rest of our time in these homes was much more social. It required me to remember my Spanish education, think about my actual experiences with Jesus and how to share those cross-culturally, and gently attune to the present joys and troubles of these people. It was vulnerable and uncomfortable and precious.
My question for you this week is:
Are rehearsed scripts and spontaneous vulnerable shares
both essential elements in sharing your faith?
I can see how encouraging followers of Jesus to memorize a script can lessen doctrinal confusion (if you get them right!!) and lower anxiety about public speaking, but on the other hand they can be spiritless. Spontaneous vulnerable shares can be beautifully raw and authentic, but also confusing and long-winded.
What are your thoughts?
Unsplash: Ahmed Saalim Hussein