I did not grow up in a Christian home. After witnessing the World Trade Center buildings collapse on September 11, 2001, I was invited by a fellow NYU student to join her friends for a night of prayer. I said, “No, thank you. I don’t pray.” Even though I turned her down, she befriended me and over the next few months, she and her friends became my friends. I was attracted to the way they loved one another and me, and was often amazed by their generosity and care. I eventually accepted one of their many invitations to come to church because I grew to trust them and love their community. Less than a year later, in large part thanks to their persistence, I became a follower of Christ.
Similarly, when I reflect on how the rest of my family became followers of Christ, I do not simply see one person at work, but the Holy Spirit working through a community. When I started sharing the gospel with my family, I couldn’t do it alone because sharing the gospel is challenging. I needed the support and help of my own Christian community. These friends not only prayed with and for me regularly for years, but they loved my family, too. Many of them embodied the love and truth of Christ to my family that helped make the gospel more real for them.
It’s been the most beautiful thing in my life to see my family come to know Christ. Hearing my mom, brother, dad and step-mom talk about their faith and love of Jesus is an endless joy and wonder. When I thank God for the new life we have in Christ, I also thank Him for the community who prayed for, loved and supported us.
Each of us is called to share our hope in Christ, but we need one another’s prayer and partnership along the way. That’s why this February 16-17, we will hold the second Formation conference, called Public Faith: Formed to Share our Hope in Christ. We encourage Community Groups to attend together.
In the spring of 2017, I had the privilege of participating in a training led by Timothy Keller and the Ravi Zacharias Ministry team. I left that training with a greater understanding of how to address modern issues with Christianity, people’s questions “beneath the question” and hard sayings in the Bible.
I’m thrilled that all Redeemer congregants have an opportunity to be trained by Tim and this team at the Public Faith Conference. We believe this event will help equip our churches with practical, wise and winsome ways of sharing our faith. Registration is now open to all Redeemer attendees at redeemer.com/formation and will open to non-Redeemer registrants after January 15. As a bonus, if five or more members of a Community Group sign up, each person will receive a free copy of Tim Keller’s new devotional on the Proverbs.
I hope you and your community group will consider attending so that our churches become increasingly equipped to share the hope we have in Christ so others might come to know that love which is better than life!