Marty Jacumin Shares His Thoughts on Sharing Your Journey of Faith
One of the most effective tools you have for pushing back against lostness and extending God’s Kingdom is your testimony. The story of how Jesus has enriched your life can inspire others to seek a relationship with Christ and know for themselves the joy and fulfillment He brings every day.
For this interview, we talked with Dr. Marty Jacumin, Senior Pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. and Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, about witnessing—specially what makes an impactful faith story and how to deal with push-back from skeptics and nonbelievers.
A: “We talk about a God who can forgive sin and who can restore and who can heal, so we ought to be examples of that—we ought to be able to say, ‘there was brokenness in my life, but then someone shared this with me and now I don’t focus on the brokenness because of what Christ has done for me.’ The best thing we can do is talk about what Christ has done in our lives”Q: What message do you try to convey when talking to people about God?
A: “You want them to know that you truly care for them, that you’re not just sharing the gospel because you’re getting brownie points in heaven. We need to share our faith out of love for the people that God has placed around us. We must let them know that Christ gave his life for them and, because we care for them, that we would love to see them trust Christ.”
Q: When is it appropriate to share your faith? Are there times when you don’t recommend it?
A: “For me, it may depend on the relationship—the more you know someone, the more you’ll see the brokenness in their life that necessitates having a conversation about Christ. I don’t know any time that’s a bad time to share the Gospel, unless maybe someone is being combative and antagonistic, in which case I suggest backing away from the conversation with the hope of coming back to it at some point soon.”
Q: What are some of your go-to verses when speaking about your beliefs?
A: “It’s important to share verses like Romans 3:23 and 6:23, as well as John 3:16—even people that don’t have a good understanding of the Bible will understand the message in John 3:16. Those three verses show that we’re all in this together, that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. People understand that they haven’t done everything right, that they haven’t done everything they’ve needed to do. We must remind them of their need for Christ, and more importantly, remind them of God’s love. Jesus gave His life so that all of us could be forgiven for our sins. That’s the Great Exchange we should tell others about: We gave Him our shame, and He gave us His righteousness.”
Q: Do you think people should plan out what they’re going to say? Or is it better to have a more organic, free-flowing conversation?
“With the old ‘evangelism strategy,’ you’d simply memorize information and wind up so bent on getting through to the end—to the pitch—that you wouldn’t really listen to what the other person was saying. Sometimes I don’t even know if I really even heard an answer, I was so focused on my next line. That’s when I went away from pre-planned, cookie-cutter evangelism ‘presentations’ in favor of conversations.”
Q: Why do you believe in conversations over presentations when sharing your faith?
A: “I’ve never liked methods that try to trick people into becoming Christians. I prefer being straightforward with people. Maybe it’s a stranger, maybe it’s someone I know very well, but we just start by talking about life and it doesn’t take very long to realize that people have questions and really want to talk about Christ. I look for these opportunities in conversations and then move it in a spiritual direction where I can share what Christ has done in my life.”
Q: Do you have any tips or advice for dealing with push-back from nonbelievers? Specifically, how would you deal with someone who becomes aggressive or argumentative?
A: “Some people have things they need to talk through. Be patient with them. Don’t push the gospel down their throat, and don’t argue with them. Continue the conversation and steer it away from things that are spiritual if it’s going in a negative direction, then look for opportunities to share your faith with them later when it feels more appropriate or when they’ve opened up and are ready to listen with an open mind and an open heart.”
Q: If the conversation goes well, what should we ask to help them take the next step in developing a relationship with the Lord?
A: “After you share your story, ask the person listening if it makes sense. Ask them if they would like to experience the Lord’s forgiveness and grace. Ask them if they want to be part of the family of God.”
Sharing your testimony is a powerful way to make disciples, but what about all of the people in North America who may never have the opportunity to learn about the life change that’s possible through Jesus Christ? That’s where the North American Mission Board (NAMB) comes in. NAMB uses the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) to train and equip more than 5,000 missionaries to share the gospel with the unreached across the U.S. and Canada.
If you want to join our missionaries in the vital fight against lostness in North America, consider a charitable gift to AAEO. Give online today or visit www.AnnieArmstrong.com to find out more about AAEO and NAMB’s mission. You can also call us at 800-634-2462.