Moving to LA was a shock in more ways then one. When we first got here I told Tyler that moving to California was like moving to a different country and I still say it to this day. If you've lived in LA, you can basically live anywhere after that. I have learned so many things since moving here and Jesus has shaped me in more ways then I can count. Something that Tyler and I struggled with and definitely learned a lot about was sharing our faith.
It's not that we weren't familiar with the concept before, but living here brought to light a lot of things we had never really encountered before and really forced us to learn to share our faith in new ways. (Hopefully I can really share what's on my heart today.) Early on in my experience God was very specific in telling me that he didn't care about what "kind" of people I encountered, my job was to build a relationship with them so they could get to know HIM. This can bring on a whole new set of challenges when you've grown up in the Bible Belt and everyone you encountered was familiar with Jesus in one way or another and Joplin is basically full of 700,000 Christians... you get the idea.
Tyler and I were basically thrown into situations where we felt like NO ONE knew Jesus or had any interest in knowing him either. So out of our experiences these are ways that have helped us when sharing our faith.
1.) Meet people right where they are. Back home this wasn't always that hard, a lot of people we encountered had similar backgrounds or beliefs. Tyler and I have met so many different people with different stories and backgrounds and Jesus helped us to meet them right where there were. We stopped thinking that they had to meet US where we were. - I Corinthians 9:22
2.) Be loving and encouraging. I think it can be really easy to be unloving to someone who is different then you without even trying. A look on your face or a tone in you voice can do it. Tyler and I were chatting the other day and discussing that when we encounter others we want them to feel loved and encouraged by us. - John 13:34-35, Ephesians 4:2
3.) Pray in the moment. This is something that I do often. There have been many times were friends I have and people I encounter share with me different things with me. And in those moments as I listen, I do my best to love them and I pray silently and I ask God to use me, because I'm not always sure what to do. My job is simply to be God's vessel. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
4.) Be tentative to the Holy Spirits guidance. Tyler and I have talked about how it's easy for us to get in the way. It easy for us to think we know what to say or do. And so we pray specifically that we won't get in the way, that we will listen to the Holy Spirit and allow ourselves to be used. We know that we can't do any of this on our own so we do our best to be guided by the Holy Spirit. - Romans 8:26, John 14:26, John 16:13
5.) Be in community with other believers.Tyler and I always feel encouraged when we spend time in community with fellow believers. It would be 100 times harder if we didn't have others around us praying for us and challenging us to always seek the Kingdom. - Hebrews 10:24-25
Because Tyler works in the entertainment industry I like to say we are secret agents. Many believers working in the industry feel alone. We've had many conversation with others about similar struggles we all share... it's hard sometimes because often times people just aren't interested. And sometimes their behavior and beliefs are completely opposite to ours. But this is our mission field. We are here for a reason, we simply put one foot in front of the other, we step out in faith, we trust God. We are HIS vessels.