"Lord, don't make me stand on the street corner with a floppy Bible, accosting people with, 'Are you born again?'"
It was a reasonable prayer for a new Christian--at least I thought so at the time. I had no idea how to go about witnessing. I knew sharing the Good News of forgiveness through Jesus was asked of all Christians, but actually doing it scared the words right out of my head.
I don't think I am alone with those fears. Many Christians face the same anxieties about witnessing.
While there is no “right” way to witness, there are principles from Scripture that can help us spread seeds of faith with less anxiety.
- “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.” (1 Peter 3:15) Prepare. Reading and studying our Bibles, talking to God regularly, and getting together with other believers will prepare us to share our faith. 2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Understanding the basics of our Christian faith can go a long way in easing our fears. So can writing out the story of how we came to know Jesus and practicing telling it.
- “In the name of the Lord, tell them not to argue over words that are not important. It helps no one and it hurts the faith of those who are listening.” (2 Timothy 2:14) Don’t argue. Witnessing is not about proving people wrong. It is about showing what faith does. What people ultimately need is not a clever argument, but to hear what we have experienced by following Jesus.
- “The righteous person is a guide to his friend . . .” (Proverbs 12:26a) Share with a friend. People we know are more likely to listen to what we have to say. We can talk to them about stuff that matters to them, and in turn, chat with them about things that are important to us, like our relationship with God.
- “The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.” (James 5:16b) Get prayer support. There is a certain peace that comes with knowing someone else has your back. Prayer prepares not only us, but also the person with whom we are talking.
- “And when [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God's judgment.” (John 16:8) Our task is to share about Jesus as clearly as we can, and then let the Holy Spirit work. We have to realize that the person may not be ready to become a Christian right at that moment.
Have you noticed how often I have used the word “share” in talking about witnessing? Witnessing is not a lecture or a sermon. It is simply relating our experiences as a Christian while talking with someone who has expressed an interest in hearing about them.
What do we do if the person we are talking with asks, “How I do become a Christian?” The easiest way is to use a simple illustration like the Roman Road, or a Salvation/Witness Bracelet available from Shine in the Dark Ministries.
Doesn’t witnessing seem less daunting now? Let’s pray up, gear up and speak up so we can “. . . Proclaim his greatness; tell the nations what he has done.” (Psalm 105:1)
©2014 Pamela D. Williams