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Developing the Skills of An Ambassador

I wrote the following article for the magazine “Devoted: Christian Lifestyle Magazine.”    Web site: http://devotedmag.co.za/

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”   How in the world can any of us qualify as an ambassador for Jesus Christ?

An ambassador represents someone important, usually a ruler, a king, or a president.  For the Christian, Paul is informing us that we need to represent Jesus Christ to people who don’t know Him.  An ambassador needs to develop the skills of being respectful, informed, and persuasive

  • Respectful

In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to share answers with those who ask and to do so with gentleness and respect.  An ambassador views the person who disagrees with him with love and compassion.  In many cases as we share we are to think in terms of a long term relationship. This means you don’t have to try to close the deal and lead someone to Christ during your first encounter.  Through an ongoing friendship relationship, you can gently move that person towards belief.  I have non-Christian friends I continue to discuss spiritual issues year after year.  Since it is God who saves, I just keep doors open for the spirit to work in their life.

It is also important to stop when they’ve had enough.  How do we evaluate readiness to hear more about Jesus Christ?  My suggestion is to watch for sheep.  We read in John 10:26-27 “…but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  Jesus was confronting Jewish religious leaders and telling them if they are His sheep they would follow Him.

In a conversation, if the person you are talking to raises her head and responds positively to what you are saying, then you are likely talking to one of His sheep or soon to be a sheep.  She will hear the voice of the savior through you.  You should focus your conversation on Jesus Christ.

If the person continues to graze on the ground and not lift her head, then she is not one of His sheep.  This is a person who rejects what you are sharing and will give reasons for her unbelief.  When it’s appropriate, I try to end the conversation keeping the door open for future spiritual interactions.

  • Informed

We need to know what and why we believe what we believe.  How can we represent someone like Jesus without knowing who He is and what He stands for?  We need to have a working knowledge of the Bible and understand how to present the gospel.  Second, studying apologetic resources like the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist[1], will help to answer many of the key objections to Christianity.

  • Persuasive

In conversation we are to use good tactics to help the person grasp the truth of the gospel.  Asking questions is a great way to control the conversation and allow the other person to share his beliefs.

Don’t be pushy with your beliefs. Non-Christians are surprised when I dialogue with them and treat them with respect; this is not what many Christians do.

Make sure you listen to learn.  Intently listen to what they have to say and ask clarifying questions about what they believe. We can learn from everyone.

Whenever, you make a statement of belief, try to end with a question.  Examples include: how does that sound to you?  Does that make sense?  This is a method by which we can put the ball back in their court, so they can respond to what you presented.

My challenge to you is to be respectful, informed, and persuasive in your next spiritual conversation.  As an ambassador for Christ, share the truth in love.

[1] N. Geisler, F. Turek, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,” Crossway Books Wheaton Ill., 2004

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