How old were you the first time you heard someone share the gospel outside of church? I was in my 40s. It happened when I was in the backseat of a taxi in Beirut. My friend Caroline, a Syrian refugee, asked our Muslim taxi driver if he knew Jesus. He said, "No. Who is Jesus?"
As I sat in that backseat and listened as Caroline shared the Good News, I kept thinking, "Is this even allowed here?" And then I thought, "I could never do that in America."
Before Caroline, it never occurred to me to share my faith. If she could do it so boldly in the Middle East, I wondered if I could do it as well. Why had I never thought to share my faith before? I'd always thought of myself as a good Christian girl just working and raising a family in the suburbs. I went to church most Sundays, volunteered in the children's ministry, prayed and did women's Bible studies. I supported several missionaries who went to share the gospel "over there," wherever "there" was.
My believing friends were mostly like me. We were crazy-busy working, raising families, doing Bible studies, volunteering. We were overwhelmed and exhausted at day's end. No one I knew had the time or energy to share the hope of Jesus with anyone who wasn't already in our friend circles. We didn't even talk about it.
A wise mentor taught me, "Thoughts lead to actions, and actions lead to results." Knowing that my faith-filled friends and I were completely unaware of our need to share our faith here, how intentional do you think our actions were toward sharing the gospel? Pretty unintentional. The Lord might have been wooing people to Himself all around us, and we never noticed. We were focused on raising our families, keeping safe and pursuing the great American dream. How about you?
In my defense, when I was a kid, 93% of Americans identified as Christian. I didn't know anyone of another faith or culture, so I never thought about sharing my faith with anyone. A lot has happened since then.
Now less than 65% of Americans identify as Christian. People from many nations live here, and our neighbors are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or hold no faith at all. We can cross the street to be authentic Christian witnesses among the nations. Yet most Christians are not doing so.
It's ironic. Jesus told us to go be His witnesses among the nations. Now 95% of the world's unreached people groups live in America, and most everyday Christians are not talking about this.
I understand. I felt that same ways until I heard Caroline share the gospel in the backseat of that taxi in the Middle East. She was the catalyst who forever changed my thoughts and actions for talking about my faith. Click here now to listen to her share her inspiring story on the iHOPE Empowers on Charisma Podcast Network.
Karen Bejjani is an author, co-founder and executive director of iHOPE Ministries, a non-profit ministry that is changing the way Christians think about sharing their faith with people of other faiths. Since 2011, iHOPE has empowered tens of thousands of Christians to cross religious boundaries and extend God's transformative love.
As a fearless, relatable visionary and empowering coach, Karen has trained, coached and mentored thousands of entrepreneurs to build successful businesses as a senior corporate executive. Now she uses those skills to lead a movement of everyday Christian women who are crossing religious boundaries to share the hope of Jesus.
Karen is writing a book called The Blue Cord to change the way everyday women think about sharing their biblical faith with women of other faiths and cultures. Her powerful stories and practical coaching have emboldened believers around the world to change lives for eternity. When she's not empowering others to cross cultural and religious boundaries to share Jesus, Karen spends her time hiking through forests and enjoying good Lebanese food with family and friends. Connect with Karen through Instagram or iHOPEministries.org.
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