Five ways to share your faith In the Year of Mercy

Nancy Ward interviewed by Dave Palmer on GRN KATH 910AM on Sharing Your Faith Story in the Year of Mercy (photo by Phi Ward)

Nancy Ward interviewed by Dave Palmer on GRN KATH 910AM on Sharing Your Faith Story in the Year of Mercy (photo by Phi Ward)

In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis encourages us to show God’s mercy through our witness. The Holy Father called this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy to direct our attention and actions “on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s actions in our lives . . . a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.”

Our faith story is our account of God’s mercy in our lives. We all have a unique faith story to tell. Sharing God’s actions in our lives is the best way to become an effective witness.

Our baptism began our faith story. We were commissioned to evangelize. We can fulfill our call to mercy and evangelization in part by sharing our faith story at every opportunity given us by God.

Throughout our faith story we tell of God’s mercy, his salvation, redemption and transformation of our lives. God expresses his love through our story. He created each of us as an unrepeatable expression of his presence. He builds our faith each time we encounter him. Each time we tell our story, we reveal a unique expression of God’s presence. We share his love and mercy.

Here are five tips for making our witness better in 2016, based on my favorite evangelization verse, 1 Peter 3:15:

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.

  1. Always be ready – and willing — to share what God is doing in your life. Know your faith story. Be attentive to the nudge of the Holy Spirit to share with an old friend or someone new in your life.
  2. Always be curious about the faith story of those around you and gently encourage them to share their story with you. Approach with admiration that friend you have known for years but whose story you have never heard.
  3. Always be authentic. Keep in mind that your witness is not just what you say, but how you live out your faith and demonstrate the reason for your hope. Be approachable.
  4. Always be open to receive the grace of the moment, the gift of God’s presence. Then be open to giving away that gift of God’s presence in you to others. Let a little of your faith story leak out to those around you and see what happens next.
  5. Always be humble and seek continuous conversion. Look for ways to renew your faith. Be the one who invites those on the fringes of the church to go with you to a retreat, day of renewal, Bible Study or evangelization seminar.

How do I start evangelizing by sharing my faith story? How do I know what to say?

Begin journaling. Keep a spiritual journal with all the blessings the Lord has given you. Ponder the high and low points of your life, praying and listening to the Holy Spirit.

Knowing and pondering our faith story helps clarify our thoughts. We see how God intervened and steered us to the path he planned for our greatest happiness. We see his mercy.

You can get a good idea of the variety of ways to tell a story of conversion, return to the church, a healing or an answered prayers from more than 30 stories on JOYAlive.net. Check out the Joy Stories tab.

Start now with your spiritual journal. Let the Holy Spirit remind you of the marvelous blessings God has brought in your life.

Let me know how I can help you to:

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.

Where can you go to pray, write and ponder your faith story?

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One Response to Five ways to share your faith In the Year of Mercy

  1. Terry Trombley says:

    The first sentence of #4 should actually be #1. We seem to routinely neglect the need of those upon whom we inflict our efforts at evangelization to expect recognition within themselves of the true and compelling presence of God. We further neglect to encourage that they should expect to become entirely present to Him as they respond. In fact few of us expect to encounter God in a manner which could be identified as a state genuine intimacy ourselves. For this reason alone, we are frequently ill equipped to encourage expectant pursuit of God in others without employing our many props and gimmicks of spiritual success in ourselves and others. We often employ these as a primary weapon against ignorance of the relentless pursuit of God. In doing so we bring to those we seek to encourage our expectations of God at the level of Men and mortality. Rather than instilling encouragement of Heaven we may find ourselves promoting heaven on earth. Our efforts can routinely ignore the fact that with regard to our participation in the privilege of evangelism, God stands entirely alone as the fulfillment of every need, every passion, and every desire in those whom He imparts true and intimate knowledge of Himself.

    In scripture and elsewhere, those on the receiving end of visions, whether of God Himself or of saints or other Heavenly beings each fall upon their faces in adoration of God as a response. It should be noted that they do so not merely by choice alone, but by compulsion upon becoming cognizant of the true presence of God. It is this effect of human recognition of God that can always be counted upon in our efforts at evangelism. Nothing so compels men as does recognition of being present to God. In evangelism therefore it is our job is to encourage the presence of God. It is God’s to convince them of it. It is the recognition of being in “near proximity” to God alone which can be counted upon when we seek to offer encouragement to others in their encounter of God. I can attest that it is true that God frequently honors terminally flawed and misguided efforts at evangelism with a recognition of Himself so compelling it cannot be denied in those we seek to encourage. I am also convinced that God would make our expression of love for Him and our fellow man entirely perfect if we will allow Him the latitude.
    It should also be noted that lives like my own, frequently decimated with spiritual failure and failure of virtue are not easy to employ as a promotion for the perfection of Christ. Thank God for that. Further, the end result of my life is not yet known so why should my life, or that of any other mortal for that matter, the subject of my efforts in promoting communion with God? In Christian life, failure, even great failure yet unredeemed, is frequently the guidance of the Father for those like myself not so spiritually adept as others. It is not what I consider to be the virtuous successes of my life or even those of others which can be counted upon to propel those I seek to encourage into Heaven. It is commencement of personal recognition and consummate immersion in the life of their Savior alone which can accomplish this.
    I suggest becoming familiar with accounts of the evangelists of the early Church. Nothing with respect to God’s expectation of evangelism has changed with modernity, only our attitude toward evangelism has. Evangelists were very near to the encouragement of Jesus which was His exhortation to the sanctity found in personal communion with God. They relied upon promotion to their hearers of expectancy of the vision of God and not glittering accounts of personal or spiritual accomplishment and success. This approach by early evangelists was not without good reason. Those who would listen were compelled into communion with God and from that communion their entry into the Christian Church and personal sanctity then resulted. It is the vision of God alone, caring intimately for each one of us personally in our true state of destitution, for which men crave. It is this encounter alone which will sustain the objects of our evangelism, not merely in their religion, but in faith and into eternity with God.