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Confessions of a ‘Public’ Failure

7 years ago written by

My dad, Charles Finley, isn’t afraid to go public with his faith. He regularly hands out Gideon Bibles. He served for decades as a public high school counselor and the faculty sponsor for the school’s chapter of the Student Venture high school ministry.

I loved Student Venture, but as a shy and socially awkward teen, I didn’t find it so easy to go public. While attending the ministry’s national conferences, I was sent into public streets with copies of a pamphlet, “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” I nervously asked strangers the title question, and I didn’t find a receptive audience.

Two decades later, I took my church youth group to a couple of Dare 2 Share teen evangelism conferences that also sent teens into the streets to share their faith. Despite the conferences’ excellent speakers, the immediate results echoed my teen experiences.

I consider myself an evangelical Christian. In fact, I attended this year’s Evangelical Press Association convention. But how can I be evangelical if I don’t evangelize?

Since 1994, I’ve enjoyed the Newsboys’ “Going Public” CD with the catchy title track stating, “Sign on. The time is drawing near. This is surely a banner year to be a public witness,” but I’ve never experienced a banner year for leading others to new faith in Jesus Christ.

Thankfully, God has brought expert evangelists into my life, such as Bishop Matthew Thomas, a veteran missionary and church planter who’s known for leading his fellow airplane passengers to Christ; Mark O. Wilson, a leading author on sharing Jesus from a Wesleyan perspective; Nick Hall, who has been called “the Billy Graham of the next generation”; and Jay Cordova, who’s one of the least shy people I’ve ever met. They’ve all graciously agreed to contribute to this issue.

Please keep reading as we learn effective tips for going public.

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[Openers] · Culture · L + L June 2016 · Magazine