We have been exploring how we can use the Rhythms of GRACE to continue to share with everyone around us the good news that Jesus loves them and wants to be part of their life. This week we are going to explore our third rhythm: Asking Questions and Telling Stories.
Recently a number of organisations have noticed that people are more open to the christian faith than perhaps we had previously thought. The Bible Society recently discovered that there are many people who are interested in finding out more about the bible. Tearfund discovered that in the first few weeks of lockdown many people were becoming interested in prayer.
As we practice Generous Blessing with those around us and Receive and Release God’s Spirit – praying for and with our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues – we will find that some are particularly interested in the way we live and want to know more. We will discover that there are people of peace around us in whom God is already working, drawing them closer to him.
Asking Questions and Telling Stories means making use of empathy and curiosity to build strong relationships with people. It is about being genuinely interested in people’s lives, wanting to learn from other opinions and undertand other people’s points of view. It means not rushing to tell people what we think about everything but taking time to build strong friendships.
It also means looking out for and confidently making the most of opportunities to share the spiritual side of our lives with the people in our lives. If Jesus is good news to you and makes an impact in your life then it is totally natural to share that with others.
1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We’re not always great at simply describing our relationship with God to others. Recently we have been learning how to tell our own stories in 6 words – explaining the difference God has made in our life. This is a great thing to practice so that you are ready to share why you follow Jesus when an opportunity arrises. (If you want to learn more about that watch the video Neil made recently).
Sometimes a person of peace may not want to hear your whole story but would like to know part of it. Being able to identify and share the difference God makes in your life right now – answers to prayer, peace in the middle of difficulty, a desire for justice and goodness – means you can share these things with others at the right time. One way to be ready for this is keep an ongoing list of ways God is making a difference in your life in a diary or journal.
We are finding ourselves in a new stage of lockdown. You may well have the opportunity to spend time with people who you have not seen for a while or with new people you have got to know over the last few weeks. As you connect with people make space to ask some questions – How are you? What has lockdown been like for you? What have you been thinking about? Really listen and pay attention to the answers people give you. If you don’t feel that you have many of these opportunities why not ask God to help you and lead you to some people who are already looking for him.
One of the best ways communities can practice this rhythm is by making space for people to ask questions and explore faith together. Could your community run Alpha online, the Story of God or create another opportunity for friends to join you and discover more about God?
How are you practicing this rhythm in lockdown? We’d love to know!