When You Believe in God but Don’t Share Your Faith

This post is part of a series of discussions about Craig Groeschel’s book, “The Christian Atheist.” We invite everyone to read the post and share your opinions whether you’ve read the book, or not. If you’ve written a post about this chapter, you can link it up below just following today’s discussion. I encourage you to read all of the linked posts as they are always pretty incredible and will give you much greater insight into the topic at hand.

I’d like to thank my wonderful co-facilitator, Jason, for discussing without me while I was gone. I know he did an awesome job! In fact, I’ve read back through the posts and comments that I missed and you all had some great thoughts. You go, guys! But now that I’m home, I’m ready to jump into the book with you again.

So, let’s dig into Chapter 11, shall we?

When I was first getting to know Christ, I began attending a very outreach-oriented church. Each week, we had evangelism classes to teach us how to win people to Christ. Every Monday night, we prayer-walked the neighborhoods around the church and one weekend a month, we had block parties where we invited the neighborhood folks to come and enjoy themselves. And while all of these were lovely ideas, there was a problem. We never really took the time to build relationships with the people.

As a baby Christian, I didn’t understand the problem. To me, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. The Bible said to evangelize and doggone it, I was pouring myself into evangelizing. I had taken all of the classes and attended all of the prayer walks and the block parties. I was doing all of the right things. But I noticed that there was very little fruit from all of my/our effort.

Eventually, I left that church, and it wasn’t until I looked back that I realized the problem. And this is something that I don’t think is really discussed in this chapter, but as I meditate and write, I can’t not hit this.

Just as our relationship with Christ is the key to our faith, relationships with people are the key to helping them find faith in Christ.

How can we expect people to hear us, if we haven’t earned the right to speak into their lives?

I appreciate that there are people that accept Christ into their hearts by praying with a total stranger. However, by and large, that’s not the case.

Several years ago, there was a Franklin Graham Crusade in our local area. I and several folks I knew went to take the Christian Life & Witness classes that Graham’s organization required of its volunteer altar counselors. And the one thing they stressed that has stuck with me all of these years is that it isn’t about a one-night stand with Jesus at the crusade. It’s about friends, coming alongside that person, and helping them to develop their relationship with Christ.

Yes, I recognize that Groeschel was taking primarily about evangelism and I’ve stepped firmly across the line into discussing discipleship, but doggone it, I have to agree with the statement from George Barna that says that evangelism without discipleship is spiritual abuse. Thank God that He didn’t just send somebody to save me from the jaws of the lion and then leave me alone in the jungle to be eaten by predators!

This chapter reminded me of something else that I’ve often been convicted by. I live such an insulated life. I get up each day and go to a job where everyone already knows Christ. I come home to a household where everyone (me and the dog) already knows Christ. My neighbor is a Christian. And the majority of my social life is centered at my church.

I’m not ashamed of Christ. I love Him, I’m beyond grateful that He loves me, and I don’t care who knows it.

But in my insulated life, who is there to tell about Him?


And then, something happened yesterday. I was at my insulated, everybody’s-a-Christian job and I answered a call on the switchboard. The phone number was “Out of Area” and he wouldn’t tell me his name or where he was calling from, but he wanted to know what God says about forgiveness. Immediately, I felt incapable and insufficient. I stuttered for a moment and then realized that the man on the other end of the line was in pain and needed to hear Jesus.

And so, I told him.

Oh, he was already a Christian. But he was a hurting Christian who needed somebody to come alongside him and help him find his way back to Jesus. And for fifteen minutes, regardless of my feelings of inability and inferiority, I was that person. Regardless of the fact that we may never meet and will quite probably never speak again, God allowed me to be that person.

I think Craig Groeschel’s intention with this chapter was to open our eyes to the fact that we should be open with the world about the Christ we serve. I just believe that we have to be open and willing to be used—whether in a single phone call or a life-long relationship. It’s not just about notches on the cover of your Bible. And it’s not just about bringing the people to Jesus. It’s about helping them stay there.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Sarah,

    AMEN! I did not touch on the need for relationship in my post, but you are dead on. Sharing Christ is a part of the relationship process. Sometimes it occurs at the very beginning (as in with a stranger) but more often than not it comes somewhere in the middle (friends, family, coworkers).

    God’s Love is not a shotgun or a ballistic missile….it’s a soothing constant stream that needs to flow through and out of our lives.

  2. Very true, Sarah. Meeting Jesus isn’t the only step and the shotgun blast of evangelism to see what sticks doesn’t work by and large. Discipleship is something that I feel our church is missing to a large degree. If people will get in and be a part, I have no doubt they’ll build the relationships with others and know Jesus more, but what about the ones who are shy or don’t understand. How do we connect them to Jesus?

    I think the call to action is that we need to be open and we looking. We need to do something because it is very important. So much fruit has been stolen because there was no follow-up, but I guess the same could be said for those we never even spoke to… Interesting subject that I need more prayer and thought about.

    Thanks Sarah.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I love your thoughts here! God’s love ISN’T a shotgun. Thank God for that!

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, people KNOW when you’re only evangelizing them to get them into your church. They can tell that you don’t care about them, but just the number they represent. God wants us to have a heart that loves the people and that wants to meet their needs whether they come to our church or not. And I think that’s where some churches miss the boat. Whitley Church didn’t die to save me. Jesus did. And so I live my life for Him, not them. And so when I minister to people, I point them to HIM, not them. (And praise the Lord, I have a church that is in agreement with that!)

  5. Papa Bear says:

    From the very first day of my call to be a pastor nearly forty years ago, I knew my primary role was that of an evangelist. I looked at most of the evangelistic models used in and out of church and even tried a few. The answer for me that has come back time and time again, is that first of all Jesus was about relationships. You don’t have to read far in the New Testament to see that Jesus made friendships with people and that led them into a love relationship with Him and ultimately Our Heavenly Father. I’ve preached a good number of revivals over these years; three years doing it full-time, and it has only confirmed that our love for Jesus can really only have an effect in someone elses life because of the relationship we’ve build with them so they can see who we really are. If we really love Christ, we can use all the evangelist tools out there, but if the people we are trying to reach for Christ don’t see the love of Christ in us, we really will have little effect. For this reason many people don’t share their faith. They’re afraid something they have done or said will not ring true to someone else who is looking for the perfection of a loving God. As people really get to know us, they find that it’s a perfect God who loves us because we’re not perfect and can’t even begin to be without having the work of Christ forming and shaping our lives. The reason so many people turn away from the church seems to be our nature of judging others because they don’t conform to our standards. I am so thankful Jesus didn’t do that to me. He loved me, accepted me and sent others to love and accept me in spite of all my imperfections. That led me to Him and His Cross forty years ago to find the wonderful gift of salvation. I am thankful to Jason, Sarah, and others who are sharing their hearts in trying to reveal what real Christianty means.

  6. Well, all of these posts are extremely convicting. I really should’ve written my post on this. I just always forget.

  7. Hi, Sarah ~

    Found your blog tonight and absolutely love it. This post particularly spoke to me tonight as I have struggled sometimes with the very one-dimensional relationships that I’ve found within churches. There are so many opportunities that each of us can find, outside of Sunday mornings, to “keep people there” in a discipleship context. Have a great week!


  8. Susan K. says:

    I recently read a book review that I can’t find. Does anyone know of a book with some unique questions, such as “who taught you that” (asked to someone who says they don’t believe)…it seems it was a 4 quesiton system to get someone to really think about their belief system. Can anyone help me out with the title of a book like this? Thanks.

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