What Motivates us to Go and Share our Faith?

I remember when I was at primary school, before the school lunch, we would line up and have our hands inspected. If they were dirty, we would be immediately told to ‘go and wash your hands!’. And the response of those with grubby football hands? A roll of the eyes, a grunt, and that slinking off to the toilets that only a small boy can do. The instruction was to ‘go’. The responsibility was ours since the dinner lady could not wash our hands for us on our behalf. I don’t think we had a very good attitude, though towards our own personal health and wellbeing. Even though handwashing was easy to do.

We weren’t motivated.

What has this got to do with sharing faith?

Faith sharing is a responsibility. It is the responsibility of each one of us. And no one can do it for us. It is part of what it means to be a Christian. We play a part in sharing the message of hope and restoration plan God has for the world. We must ‘go’ since it won’t do itself! It is challenging. And what might help is a positive attitude and motivation.

Let’s have a look at this in two ways. First to explore faith sharing as our responsibility, that we have to ‘go’. And then to look at motivation and what might help from our life as Christians.

Jesus told us to GO and make disciples.

We read about Jesus telling the disciples to GO and make disciples (Matthew 28.19). In other words, we can’t wait for people to come to us. Go is the word, and we need to decide if we are going to take it seriously. We have to decide to take it seriously or not. And there are no scary dinner ladies to help encourage us to decide.

Jesus said to his disciples, stay (in Jerusalem) until the Holy Spirit comes… then go throughout the world (Luke 24.49 and Acts 1.4). Now the Holy Spirit has already come, so we must assume that the action of leaving Jerusalem is now in effect. We can prove it. Our local church building is a long way from Jerusalem. Someone in our past must have had the call to 'go' to bring the inspiration to your part of the world.

Why not look into the history of the church building you attend? Find out what inspired someone to build a church there? Could it inspire your congregation?

In our case, the ‘go’ may not be to go abroad but to go to our friends and neighbours. To go online to share our faith. To be somewhere other than inside of the church walls. 

Inspiration and motivation to undertake the responsibility.

GO is also the natural outworking of one of the most important church worship acts we do as the body of Christ: Holy Communion or the Eucharist (both names are used in the Church of England)

The Communion or Eucharist service is very important to us, no matter which kind of church you come from. There are piles of books on the theology of it. It’s complicated and simple at the same time. It’s mysterious. It makes us feel differently. It changes us somehow. It does something.

Holy Communion is a physical thing and a spiritual thing together, no matter how you look at it. Or which tradition you are from.

When we eat any food, it becomes part of us. That’s what it means for food to nourish us. And in the same way, by faith, spiritually, we are nourished when we have communion. But it is a ‘mystery’. Even after reading many books on the subject, I still don’t have a full understanding of it! I am not convinced I will either. All I know is that something happens. I have had a sense of something happens in communion since the age I was being told to wash my grubby hands before lunchtime…

We have celebrated this mystery as Christians for a couple of thousand years. It is the oldest piece of what we do together that exists, first mentioned in 1Corinthians 11:23 by Paul.

The nub of the theology is when we ‘go’ out at the end. Being part of a communion service is supposed to change us by ‘feeding on Christ.’ From the Book of Common Prayer, we 'feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.' By this our spirit is nourished with God's Spirit, somehow. And we are transformed by God for the purpose of being part of God’s plan to restore the world and all of creation. To join in with God's purpose and plan.

Go, you have been sent

The communion service is also called the Mass. The Mass is both the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist.

This graphic I hope will explain a little bit about the language and meaning behind what the phrase The Mass’ means.

What this results in is joyful responsibility.

Of course, in the days of social distancing, receiving communion has been challenging. But the heart and meaning of it remains. Jesus’ death and resurrection is for all time. Communion is a memorial of that. It’s not like plugging in your phone to get recharged. So, until we can once more celebrate communion together, let us not forget that the power of the cross is no less than it was last time we received the elements.

To conclude, we have the responsibility to go.

  • We choose if we take that responsibility or not, but no one will do it for us.
  • So, it is the attitude we need to check in with, what is our attitude? Can it be a good one?
  • What might stir us up for joyful responsibility? I've suggested what will stir us up is the meaning which comes from the communion service.

So let us 'Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord'!

If you are looking for some extra tips and help in sharing your faith, why not join us on the next faith sharing course Talking Jesus. Or even book for one of the team to come and run one in your area. Contact Andy Gray for more details.