I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the phrase “I’m a Christian.” Equally impossible to count is the number of times I’ve had an opportunity to say it and intentionally did not. Whether I was ashamed or afraid to admit it, I held back the truth, as if it would result in negative personal consequences.

I know people in other countries are being martyred for their faith but this is America. We have had freedom of religion since our inception, allowing us to openly follow Jesus and read the Bible. I wasn’t raised in a part of the world that punishes believers but I can imagine standing firm for God if I had. But why not here?

The simple answer is this: I didn’t want people to not like me, reject me or treat me differently because of it.

Ironic, huh? I firmly believed that I had the answer to an amazing life and the only path to an amazing afterlife yet I intentionally hid it from those I thought didn’t believe.

My morals and ethics were extremely high. There was very little contradiction between my actions in private as those in public. However, there was a significant difference in my boldness inside the walls of the local church or ministry setting and those outside of that. When I thought the two overlapped slightly, even with people, I defaulted more towards my non-church boldness.

I had two distinct behaviors. I was passively fake.

I’ve never denied Christ. Any time someone would ask about my beliefs I would freely share. I felt quite emboldened actually. In fact, that is the dominant method I used to lead others to Christ: waiting for others to ask me about God.

Starting WIIWT forced a deep introspection around my approach. As the founder of an organization whose mission it is to share the gospel with over two million people, my belief system would become incredibly public.

Was I ready for that? I wrestled with the implications for months. Our strategy and tactics required confirmation of effectiveness. Someone had to start. Being small, I was the one who had to do it. It happened in two waves

It began with websites, pages and social media accounts that put my faith front and center. Everyone I was connected with would know. Initially, I fought it, but I had to overcome my fear. God pushed me gently but firmly. I did it.

I publicly admitted I was a Christ follower.

Secondly, I had to distribute content to others face to face. Once again, I procrastinated for weeks with a simple task of handing something out. Finally, that broke. Although I have done it hundreds of times, I still get a little stage fright. Every situation is new. Every place is unique. Every person represents a new face.

But I broke a huge barrier. My step of admitting I believe the gospel empowered me to do something I have believed for decades: I am armed with the Good News. The gospel sets people free. Depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness have no authority with Jesus in us.

Impossible relational issues are fixed. Joy and leave fill people. They experience the unconditional love of Christ, unknown in the world of imperfect people. Everybody, whether they admit it or not, are looking for this answer. Many are using limited knowledge or past experiences as an excuse to not believe. Others simply don’t know, having never heard.

We have the answer to all hurt and pain!

I am amazed by the number of stories I hear about people being approached by a “Christian.” Their lives were radically changed by someone who truly believed they had the answer. Those who experienced change were desperate but didn’t know where to go for authentic help.

The percentage of people who believe and practice the gospel’s teaching is low: only 15% in the Columbus area. That leaves 2.1 million people who don’t. As one of the 15%, I challenge you to make a major decision in following Christ.

Proudly wear your faith as a label for everyone.

Don’t hide the truth about yourself. Admit you follow Jesus. I see the hurt all around me wherever I go in this city. If all of us could do our part, our city would change.

The mayor of Columbus reached out to 200 church leaders for help, because they didn’t know what to do to fix the escalating crime, drugs and murder problem.

Picture an entire metropolitan area that publicly admitted they followed Christ. We would have entire public forums for people to go. We could stand together with our neighbors, literally helping the street we live on.

It’s easy to imagine entire communities being turned around by the strength of our unity and boldness. We can redefine our city’s future by our individual decision.

Let’s all ask for courage to take the next step–admit we follow Jesus.

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We're a Columbus, Ohio based group of volunteers helping people connect with local church communities. We all have questions. What if it was true?