How to Boldly Share Your Story
The Secret to Connecting, Not Alienating
“I want to know how I can be a more effective leader for Jesus in my workplace,” said John’s friend.
I was asked to lunch by John Duisberg, the co-founder of Cooleaf and also co-founder and leader of the Grace@Work group at the Atlanta Tech Village. He told me he had a friend coming to town who was one of the men who influenced him into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
He said, “We did everything together. We were great friends. Our only difference was, he knew Jesus and I didn’t. Now our friendship has risen to a whole new level.”
After getting our meals from the buffet, I asked, “So how can I help you?”
I Met a Girl
He said, “I lead a sales team and sell myself. I am talking to employees, prospects, and clients every day of the week. I want them to know about Jesus. I’m just not sure how to go about it.”
“Why do you want them to know about Jesus?” I asked.
“I had a lot of success early in life. I was a gifted athlete. I played competitively in high school and college. I was a 6’5” quarterback and also a forward on our basketball teams. Upon graduation, I went into business and applied the same values of hard work and a competitive spirit. Success soon followed.
“Then I met a girl. The girl. She had a faith in Jesus that I just didn’t share. She also had a peace in life and a level of fulfillment which escaped me.
At 27, I was doing better financially than any of my peers but feeling empty about it. This girl, who is now my wife, showed me and talked to me about Jesus. She told me he came so I would have life to the fullest.
“She said, ‘You’ll never get what I have while on the path you are on. Yes, you will have worldly success but no lasting peace and fulfillment. This can only come from a relationship with your creator. But you have sinned by ignoring God, and that’s why you are separated from Him. You need a Savior. Jesus sacrificed himself so your sins can be forgiven and you will be reconciled to God forever.’”
Becoming a Witness
He told me, “It wasn’t long after that conversation I gave my life to Jesus, confessed my sin, and received him into my heart. My life has not been the same since that moment.”
“So you want to share this exciting story with all the people you work with?” I asked.
“Absolutely!” he exclaimed.
“This is what Jesus wants you to do,” I said. “Just before his ascension into heaven he said, ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8 ESV)
“He told us to be witnesses. He wants you to tell people what happened to you. He didn’t say preach. He told us to do what you just did for me. You told me your story. As Christians, we think we need to preach. Most of us aren’t equipped to do that. But all of us are equipped to tell our own story of how we encountered Jesus. And they are all great stories!
Share and Don’t Preach
“People are interested in your story...not your preaching. If you preach, you are telling people what they should do. This is a turn-off. The listener is thinking, ‘Who are you to tell me what to do or what to believe?’
“But when you tell your story, that’s way different. You can be sure your story will connect with the person you are talking to. The reason is, we are all the same. People are people. Our lives, our goals, our desires, our struggles, our challenges, and our successes are all the same. We want meaningful work. We want to be loved. We want to love. That’s why your story is so powerful.
“When you discovered and then received the love of God, you knew for the first time in your life what it means to be loved and to love. But it didn’t stop there. He gave your life meaning by being on-purpose for Him. This is why you wanted this lunch. You wanted to know how to be effective in this new role he gave you.
Here’s The Secret
“Look for opportunities to tell people your story. Even if it’s just bits and pieces. People are interested. God will use your story to change their lives, just like he changed your life and he changed mine.”
If you would like help in crafting your story, I know just the guy—Todd Miechiels. His ministry, the 315project.com, is helping people like you and me develop our story and then capture it on video. He will take you on a spiritual journey which will bring you closer to Christ. It is a great experience and the next step in growing your ministry. Go to 315project.com and watch the 2-minute video. Then contact Todd to find out more. Tell him Charlie sent you.
Charlie Paparelli is president of High Tech Ministries, angel investor and blogger. Twice each week email subscribers to his blog receive his thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur and Christian leader.