“We who have the greatest news in the world (the message of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ) should be the clearest and most compelling communicators of that message.” So said Dr. Lon Allison as we were drinking coffee one day reflecting upon the church’s calling in the world. Lon is one of those guys who has a knack for articulating profound ideas in memorable aphorisms.
For years I thought, “This is really not fair.” Working with Lon at the Billy Graham Center, I had the privilege of enjoying a steady diet of evangelism inspiration. His wealth of insight needed to be shared more broadly. Sure, Lon had written many things for the church-at-large, including a book on gospel proclamation in the public square, but there was obviously another book brewing within him on the subject of personal evangelism. After all, this is Lon Allison’s ministry heartbeat–to equip the Body of Christ to be the enthusiastic witnesses for Christ. Thankfully, we no longer have to wait. Lon’s new book on the topic is titled Impossible: Discover the Joy of a Prayer, Care, Share Life. It contains all the insights I’ve selfishly enjoyed over the years, and then some. I highly recommend it.
Following is a brief interview with Lon.
Why did you write Possible?
Because it is possible to share our faith in Jesus as a way of life. And, it doesn’t have to be a “must do” but can become a “want to” part of the Christian life. It can literally be an exhilarating part of our lives.
Why do many Christians fail to regularly share their faith?
Numerous reasons. The greatest seems to be fear. I give a whole chapter in the book to talking about the fear factor and how God enables us to “witness thru the fear”. Another reason is busyness. Faith sharing seems like a big add on to people whose lives that are already full. In reality our witness life can become a part of what we already do and not have to be an add on. If you coach your kid’s soccer, simply look for opportunities with the parents of those kids to plant seeds of the gospel.
Who have been your Evangelism heroes?
My wife Marie. She loves asking God for opportunities to share her faith in bits and pieces or in big bites with strangers as well as with people we know who don’t know God. Also, my friend Steve Douglass is an inspiration. He leads Cru worldwide and is one busy guy, but he is always ready to give a reason for the hope he has in Christ.
What to say to someone who doesn’t have a compelling testimony?
Most people don’t. And truth be told, the story of a regular person who grew up with some Christian background (like 75% of Americans), and still finds their faith to be meaningful and transforming, can relate to people better than the world shattering testimony any day of the week. Just tell your story and leave the results to God. Also, I tell people that sharing testimonies of “God sightings” in your daily life now, can be more impacting than your story of conversion from decades earlier.
How long have you and Marie been doing this?
We’ve been sharing our faith and supporting one another in this life for 40 years! And, it’s every bit as exciting now as it was 40 years ago.
What Does a Christian who seldom shares faith need to hear?
You are missing out on perhaps the greatest joy of life- It really is tremendously joyful to plant a seed, or water a seed, or harvest a crop in the spiritual realm. It gives increased meaning and purpose to life.