Editor’s note: Earlier this week, Michael Gregory wrote about how sharing his faith cross-culturally helped him to see that his true identity is in Christ, not in his language, culture, or nationality. Today, he writes about how sharing the gospel in China taught him that evangelism gives life to those who share as well as to those who receive.
Wang gave his life to Jesus that afternoon. A few weeks ago he messaged me to tell me about the Christian woman he just married, and their excitement to live for Jesus in a country that views their faith and allegiance to Christ as alien—as something to be stamped out.
Wang didn’t receive Jesus because I was an expert evangelist who managed to master the Chinese language in six days and become a cultural savant somewhere during that time as well. Wang accepted Jesus because our God is mighty to save. Wang heard the good news of Jesus because he encountered a follower of Jesus, and followers of Jesus share their faith. Followers of Jesus aren’t called to wait until they’re properly trained, they aren’t told to wait until they feel comfortable sharing their faith, they don’t wait until they have a theological degree or until they’ve memorized a gospel presentation in Chinese. As followers of Jesus, we have been blessed so that we will be a blessing to others.
I didn’t know any of this as I looked out with Wang over a city where the vast majority of the population had never heard the name Jesus. I was nervous, aware of my inadequacies and inexperience, and the Holy Spirit was kind enough to step in-between my new friend and me and move him from life to death.
If you hit a hole in one the first time you went golfing, chances are you’d have a desire to keep golfing. God’s gracious gift to me my first week in China was to see, with my own eyes, the Holy Spirit move someone to saving faith. The next day Wang and I met up for lunch. “I sold my computer,” he told me. “I was wasting too much time on it and I could use that money to help others hear about Jesus as well.” While my first thought was that his schoolwork was going to suffer without a computer, my second thought was, “Wow. This is the Holy Spirit. Again.”
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With this as the background for the rest of my time in China, I came to realize that sharing my faith did not just lead others to receive new life, it led to me receiving life. Every time I shared my faith, I heard the gospel again. And we never stop needing the gospel.
During the pandemic, everyone I’ve talked to has experienced some season of mild to severe depression. As my wife and I were reflecting on a roughly three-month stretch of on-and-off low-grade depression, we think that was due largely to a loss of mission. We weren’t meeting new people. We weren’t interacting with non-believing neighbors. We weren’t sharing our faith. What I learned through regularly sharing my faith in China was that sharing my faith meant life. Not only for others, but for me as well. This is what we were designed for and called to do. This is the mission we inherited from Jesus, who charged our brothers and sisters to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
If we are not sharing our faith, we are not being who Jesus called us to be. If we allow ourselves to go long stretches of not sharing our faith, we will atrophy. We’ll begin to look less and less like the image we were made in. How could we not? If you stopped brushing your hair or brushing your teeth for six months, you’d stop looking like the image reflected back to you in the mirror just six months prior.
We have been made for a purpose, and for one singular end—to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. We will not do either if we are not sharing our faith. We will not glorify him by making him known, and we will not enjoy him as he intends to be enjoyed if we never celebrate with the Holy Spirit as we get a front row seat to see him waking the dead.
As I reflect on how sharing my faith in China has impacted me, I’m most thankful, not for the fruit we saw over the years (though of course that was incredible!), but for the perspective God gave me through those experiences.
My life is not my own. God is one. I did not understand these things until I did evangelism outside of my home culture. Sharing your faith is a joy. It is lifegiving—not just for the one hearing the good news, but also for you.
Michael Gregory is a church planter in the Los Angeles area.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for opportunities to share your faith with someone from a different culture or background.