At Calvary Bible Church where I am associate pastor, one of our foundational verses as a church is 1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
This verse is foundational for us because it tells us, as believers, that one purpose for our salvation is “that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of [God]”. The idea here is not the one popularized by Saint Francis of Assisi when he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” He is there de-emphasizing verbal proclamation, but Peter is saying that God made us his people so that we would actually use our words and tell people of his greatness that they had not known previously.
Given this purpose, I thought it would be beneficial to make a list of some of the different ways we can verbally proclaim the greatness of God and the wonders of his love through Jesus.
- Face-to-Face – I think this is still the best way to talk to people about Jesus. So much more can be communicated this way as we use facial expression, gestures, and tone of voice. Plus, it’s easier to prevent misinterpretation.
- Give Your Testimony – This can be a wonderful way to proclaim Christ when done right. So often testimonies are given as an opportunity for the person giving them to let out emotion and emphasize their past life of sin and suffering. Don’t get me wrong, we need a “before” as well as an “after”, but make sure you emphasize Christ, the cross, and the change he made in you.
- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. – Are you using these social networking sites for self-promotion or Christ-promotion? I’m not saying that every status update or tweet has to be a Bible verse, but you should make some sort of plan that limits how much you directly refer to self and make a goal as to how often you will declare Christ.
- Hand-write a Letter – Gospel truth is of greatest importance and taking the time to hand-write something in this day and age helps to convey that. If we’re willing to write out God’s excellencies, put it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it, and walk it to the mailbox, we’re communicating that we believe what we’ve written is crucial… for us and the people we’re writing to.
- Give a book – I think books are harder to throw away than letters, and they can be used as a catalyst for discussion: “Hey, I’d love to buy you lunch and talk about the book after you’ve read it.” If you do this, though, make sure you give a relatively short book, like The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul instead of The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock (1152 pages).
- Invite Someone to Church – I hate that this practice has been neglected in recent years. In a healthy church, visitors will hear God’s word preached clearly and accurately, experience God’s love through his people, and see a Christianity that is vastly different than what is promoted as Christianity on TV and in the culture.