Go Forth and Witness in Fresh Ways on Innovation Day - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Everyday Living Faith
February 16, 2018

Go Forth and Witness in Fresh Ways on Innovation Day

Innovation Day is just around the corner. It’s likely you’ve never heard of this somewhat-nebulous holiday celebrated every February 16. Its rituals and intentions are not nearly as cut and dried as most of our national holidays.

Defining the elusive Innovation Day

Tom Walker, President and CEO of TechColumbus, Inc., explained in a 2014 blog post for the Ohio Technology Consortium that National Innovation Day was created to encourage children and young people to be creative and innovative. He views it as a “go forth and invent” kind of celebration.

The always-innovative research team over at Days of the Year explains that the overriding theme of this day is “Spot a problem, think of a solution, and before you know it you’re innovating! Innovation Day is all about imagining new, better ways of doing things.”

We’re taking a slightly different, Geneva-centric position on this upcoming holiday and asking: “How will you be innovative in the manner in which you share your faith with others?” We’re viewing it as more of a “go forth and witness effectively” kind of day.

Why we need to share our faith and hope with others

In “Now America has a solar eclipse to match its dark mood,” an article from The Guardian in 2017, Barbara Will writes:

“Pick up any newspaper and the evidence is clear: most Americans feel pessimistic about the nation’s future. Since 2009, polls have consistently shown that over 70% of Americans worry that the country is on the wrong track. A full 65% believe the country is now ‘in a state of decline.’ More than 40% fear an imminent terrorist attack. Worries over race relations are at a record high.”

We’re living in an increasingly complex, divided, and anxious society. It’s never been more important to be a faithful witness to Christ through our character and our behavior, not necessarily through loud words and boisterous proclamations.

5 innovative tips to share your faith in powerful ways

1) Be authentic, coherent, and congruent.

Most people have a built-in truth detector, whether they pay attention to it or not. If your positive words aren’t aligned with your actions, your facial expressions, and your tone of voice, it’s going to be very hard to find credibility in your sharing.

Affirming the wisdom in a Chinese proverb: "I hear and I forget; I see, and I remember," a University of Iowa study found that we are far better at remembering what we see and touch than what we hear. Think of this next time you’re hoping to share your faith with another. Be very mindful of your actions and your physical presence, and pair your words with an appropriate touch that reinforces the genuine warmth and kindness behind them. Let people see that you’re a “real deal” Christian.

2) Do good works.

Matthew 7:15-16 assures us: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” How good and ripe are the fruits from the many trees you plant in daily life? Onlookers are going to be far more impressed and swayed by your professions of faith if they see you acting charitably, patiently, and lovingly to all people in your every daily interaction.

3) Choose the right words when you do speak.

In his piece for Premier Christianity on practical ways for Christians to share their faith, Laurence Singlehurst, director of Cell UK and former director of Youth with a Mission, England advises: 

At some point in this missional journey our faith must come to words. The Talking Jesus research sadly shows us that 46% of our friends are not very keen on us sharing our faith. And perhaps that has to do with language, in that perhaps we are using words that are no longer meaningful . . . In Colossians Paul challenges us to be gracious (4:6). This might mean sharing our faith in a conversational style, asking questions about the other person and what they believe and making a softer approach. The golden rule of every conversation is to leave people positive for the next Holy Spirit encounter.”

4) Be a great listener.

When writing for Relevant Magazine in 2016, Josh De Keijzer agrees with Singlehurst’s suggestion. “Listening is a great problem among Christians today,” writes Keijzer. “In their haste to evangelize and proclaim their own version of the truth, Christians have plugged their ears and go around shouting from bullhorns that they got it right and everybody should listen to them and do things the way they do it . . . It doesn’t show respect and won’t generate respect.”

He goes on to say, “This closed-off mentality among many Christians is actually the opposite of the proper Christian attitude . . . Any genuine encounter with Jesus will upset and up-end your life. Just as we need to be open to the subverting and transforming encounter with Christ, we must be open to the encounter with others around us, especially those outside of our protective bubble.” 

5) Be humble and acknowledge truth wherever it’s found.

Truth is universal and ever-present. Keep an open mind "to experience of the broad-heartedness of Christ,” as De Keijzer advises. There is wisdom and insight to be found in everyone’s life story, and all world religions contain treasuries of knowledge.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in any field of study. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your ministry goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.