Proverbs 12:25; Mark 4; 16:15; Acts 1:8; Revelation 14:6; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 4:1-6; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Peter 3:15
This article is a collection of insights I have learned and collected from over 20 years of evangelism in church and Para church ministry. I hope you can find these insights useful to encourage you to serve Him more powerfully and effectively! We all need encouragement. Billy Graham told me a few years ago that he needs it, and he said I need it, and I believe you may need it, too. So, here are some encouragements for you!
Witnessing can be scary. Many Christians will cower away from their call, seeking other things to fulfill the void of that unused call. It is important to seek our Lord's precepts on who we are in Him, how He can use us, and how He is our love and empowerment for living and for sharing. If not, those distractions we pack into our lives to hide His call will become our god and lord over us, preventing us from taking advantage of the precious opportunities He has for us. These distractions can also prevent our growth and faith development. In the faith, we are called to walk in Him. We are not forced to proclaim Him; rather, we are encouraged to live a life of distinction and of service. We have a choice to either impact others for the Lord or cower from our call and live a self-fulfilled life. Saved? Perhaps; but, as the book of James tells us, for what good would it be? We can choose to walk away from, walk around, or walk to the person in need. We can embrace His call to share His love, or we can fill that call with trivial, meaningless, expectations that block our hope in Him. We need to realize the importance and relevance of His call to proclaim His name. When we do so, we are encouraged to stretch out and share that love we received from Christ! What is stopping us? Well, most Christians just do not know how, and/or they are fearful.
It has been my experience and observation that people who are good witnesses are confident in their faith. They know they have the Good News! They know Jesus, not just as a Savior, but as LORD (Luke 6:46)! He is all things to them. Is He Lord of your life, too? This realization impacts and fuels them to proclaim Jesus to others. Because they know His power and impact, they show it to others. I know that in my life, my effectiveness is directly correlated to my walk and my prayer life. How much I trust and obey becomes the power that helps sway. We need to know that telling someone about Christ is not like selling toasters; it is telling others the promise of life everlasting. This is the real and imperative stuff of the Christian life. If He is your Lord and Love, and the most important entity in your life, are you showing it to others? If you get a new car, do you not show it off to your friends? Is not Christ so much more powerful and valuable than the greatest car you could ever wish for? Then, what is stopping your life from being His showroom (Mark 16:15)?
Points on Being Effective in the Faith and As a Witness:
One of the main factors to our effectiveness is the need to be excited about our faith! We need to see the Christian life as a wondrous adventure; we need to see the positive and let that positive shine through in our attitude and approach. If you are not a person who is excited about your faith (and I do not mean overly emotional), how can you be contagious with the faith? Think this through! People respond to the temperament and attitude of others; how is yours? Most people come to the faith through people who are, themselves, new to the faith! Why? Because, they are excited! Even though they may be ignorant of theology and procedures on how to lead a person to Christ, their enthusiasm becomes contagious. Their lives have been transformed; they know this, and it shows to others! How does your enthusiasm show (Mark 12: 29-31; 1 Pet. 1:3-9)?
· Be a person who is grounded in God's Word and who encourages others to do so, too. It is those who are growing in maturity and are excited whom God uses the most. Do you want to be used? Then, be obedient and allow Him to grow you (2 Peter 1:5-7; Heb. 6:1-12)!
· Over the years, some misguided Christians have pronounced that evangelizing is not the role of the church or the Christian. It is purely the work of the Spirit. Thus, we do not have to witness. This is true and, yet, it is very not true. Yes, we do not have to witness. Even though Jesus used an "imperative" (Greek Grammar device) as a command to do so, it does not affect our salvation. And, yes, salvation is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ through the role of the Spirit; however, we are still called to proclaim Him powerfully and boldly, but with care and love. These misguided people are not stopped because of theology; it is their refusal to obey. So, they rationalize their faulty views (Matt. 28:29; Acts 2:38; 8:4; 13:15; 18:4, 11; 2 Cor. 5:16-21)!
· We are partners with God in evangelism; He saves, and uses us as the means. Remember, He is the witness! We cannot convert anyone; however, He may use us to convict and to be an example. We are only able to witness by His power working in and through us (Matt. 11:28; 2 Cor. 3:4-6; Eph. 3:20-21; Phil. 2:13; Rev. 22:17)!
· Your witness is more rooted in your attitude than in your words (Acts 8:4-8)!
· Your passion and conviction will show through to others. If you are not passionate for our Lord, get right with Him before you tell others about Him. The key is to realize what Christ has done for you, and share it with excitement (2 Cor. 1:3-7)!
· Joy is indispensable for sharing love! It is not just what you know; it is Who you know. He is Christ. Your love of Jesus is the picture people need to see so they can better see Him (Joshua 1:8-9; 2 Cor. 1:24)!
· Being judgmental or hypercritical is the worst thing a Christian could ever do. It is so repulsing to non Christians, and is the direct opposite of our call! This will have far more negative influence on a non-Christian than the greatest evangelism plan with the greatest evangelists who ever lived (Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1-4; 14:1-15; James 4:11-12)!
· The Gospel is the power! Our main encouragement is that He is here with us. We are not doing this alone; we have the God and Creator of the universe at hand! What more could we need (Heb. 4:16; 2 Pet. 1:10-11)?
· A lot of Christian leaders are obsessed with the size of their ministry and the numbers of souls saved. This is sad, because God's call is the size of our heart and our obedience-not the numbers (John 14:15; Heb. 10:8-10)!
· Your self image is also a major factor. For some, this instigates fear and trepidation in sharing the word of Christ with others. Your self image is who you are in Christ, not how people respond to or treat you (John 3:30; 2 Cor. 2:9-10)!
· Relationships are the ideal way to make Christ known to others. You are far more effective if you build a sincere relationship with others before you preach to them. That way, you get to know them and pray for them; they get to know you, and realize that you care. You then will have more opportunities for listening and sharing (Rom. 16:3).
· When I went through the training at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and the "Crusade Training," they made the point that over 90% of the people who come to a Crusade are brought there by others, such as friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc (Col. 3:12-17).
· The apostle, Andrew, was the first Christian evangelist; he is also a great example of one having faith, then sharing that faith with others (John 1:39-45)!
· If you are in a leadership position, it is essential that you do as you teach! That is, you cannot expect others to do something that you are not willing to do. To be encouraging to others, you need to set an example; be constant, and be encouraging (1 Tim 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; Heb 13:7)!
· A good witness realizes not only the love they have received from Christ, but also the need to share with others care and prayer before they share their witness (John 21:16; Phil. 4:6)!
· It is essential that your church have a good vision and purpose. If you do not know where you are going in life and in ministry, you will not be able to lead others in a good way. (Prov. 29:18).
· The Church is called to teach and nurture trust, obedience, and prayer in her members, then invite and share this with others around them. And, when people become Christians, they are to continue equipping, training, and caring for others so they, too, can be deployed and carry on their faith to others, and so forth. If the church does not train, they cannot deploy, and they will not be honoring God favorably (Hab. 2:2; Rom. 10:13; 1 Thess. 2:7)!
· It is also essential for an effective, witnessing church to be people-centered and not just program-centered. Programs are to help train and develop relationships, not become a substitute for them (1 Cor. 3:5-11; 11:1)!
· Try to be as clear as possible in what you say and how you say it. Why? Because, we represent Him-not just our church and not just ourselves (Prov. 12:12; 2 Cor, 5:20; Col. 4:5-6)!
· You need to see the plight of others; try to see how their life is from their perspective. Have compassion! Listen! And, have a heart for the lost! If you are not hurt and sorrowful for those who are not saved, your heart needs a check up! We have to see the lost, as best we can, the way God sees them-with compassion, patience, and understanding (Matt. 28:19).
· Jesus is with you! We are empowered by Christ for whatever endeavor He gives us; whether we dig a ditch or witness to a stranger, He is there. We need to see Christ as the Equipper, so our focus is on Him and not on how people respond to us or on our circumstances (Matt. 28:20)!
· Your successes and failures mostly reside in how you live and model the faith. Are you authentic and real, living and caring? If not, watch out, as others will find you out. Authentic living is your witness; allowing Christ to live and work in you will be the real show that others see. Being a person who allows the Spirit to grow and form your fruit will make all of the difference in your efforts and willingness. This Fruit can be faked for a while, and we can fabricate it; but, soon the farce will be found out. Your authenticity is the key to being able to touch others for the Lord. To touch others, we, too, must have been touched; our fruit is the proof text of our authenticity and touch! (Gal. 5:18-22)!
· Christ's love and grace are realities in history and in life. They are not just ideas; they are events. He will empower you with the fire of the Spirit (Luke 3:15; Rom. 1:16)!
· We need to be able to see the reality of sin and hell. It is not that others might go to hell without Christ; they will go to hell! People are in sin and they are going into eternity forever separated from God-separated in the depravity of darkness. You just may be the only person who can reach them, or to whom they will respond. Yes, God is sovereign, and He will not send anyone to hell who willfully does not want to go there, but we also need to see our responsibility to be the ones He uses to reach others (1 Cor. 9:22; Heb. 12:1-2)!
· Training is essential for effective witnessing! Do not expect people to naturally evangelize. Some may do so; however, the vast majority does not know how, and is fearful. Training and encouragement reduces fear and motivates your people (1 Cor. 3:6)!
· For people to come to your ministry or church, you have to be welcoming to them. Watch your attitudes and how you come across to others! If you are not sincerely inviting and welcoming people into your midst, then you are repelling people away. There is no in-between ground. You are the front door of your church, and you are also the back door! Will you welcome people in, or just show them the back door with your attitude or carelessness (Rev. 3:20)?
· What are the main obstacles to evangelism? Fear and busyness! Being too busy and never budgeting your time wisely will cut you off from God's most precious opportunities-even if all those things are good! Fear is also a big factor, but remember what casts out fear; love (Duet. 5:14-15; John 11:9; 1 John 4:18)!
· Being patient, honest, hospitable, friendly, gentle, kind, and respectful of others is not only essential to being a good witness-we are called upon to do so when we witness (Mark 12:28-31).
· Do not force people! It amazes me how many misguided Christians share the "love of the Lord" out of hostility and not out of love, or use deception and scare tactics, then wonder why they have no results. Furthermore, they think they are right in doing so. We must not be the Christian fool; rather, the Christian witness of love and respect (2 Cor. 4:1-6; Phil. 1:3-6)!
· Being willing to listen and being vulnerable and open will be very attractive to others. But, be aware! You will be hurt by others, both intentionally and unintentionally. So, be susceptible to others; but, at the same time, guard your heart. Be both open and cautious. Be open to others with a good attitude, sharing in love; know that they can hurt you, but still be open. How do you do this? By keeping your focus on Him and not on how people respond to you (Prov. 4:23; Mark 7:21; 1 Cor. 13:4-8; James 1:19-25).
· Never rush, coerce, manipulate, or lie to people. It is never acceptable to lie about a God of Truth! Consider how you would have wanted to be treated. Remember, people will be friendly with us when we are friendly with them (1 Pet. 3:15)!
· Most people will reject your advances even though yours is the truth and theirs is a lie. We cannot force people; we can only influence them for Christ. If they want to remain in their sin, there is nothing we can do except pray. It is the Spirit, and only the Spirit, who can interdict upon them. And, be patient; the Spirit may still use you down the road (Eph. 5:15-18).
· It is OK to fail! It is not OK not to share just because you are afraid to fail. There were numerous occasions when Paul and the apostles did not succeed. Missionaries in tough countries will spend their entire careers in faithful service and only lead a handful of people to Christ. God is in charge; He knows what He is doing; be confident in Him. Witnessing is not about numbers, it is about obedience (Acts 19:23-41; 22:17)!
· We cannot fix people; only the Holy Spirit can do that. He will use us, and give us insights and resources, but the prime issue is the matter of their heart and will conforming to His (Jude 1:22-23).
· Sometimes, experiences of life and disappointments in other Christians will leave a person cold and turned off. Do not be offended, even though they may take it out on you. It is all about Christ, not our feelings! Be patient, be affirming, and be constant in your character. Never give up praying for them (Matt. 5:11-12; Phil. 1:27-30)!
· We need to believe in people, even when they let us down-because everyone will. Only God will not! Thus, have patience and consistency! Sometimes, it can take years to lead a person to the Lord. If you are in haste, you will waste your connection and opportunity, and God may not use you until perhaps sometime in the future (Ezek. 33:11; 2 Pet. 3:9).
· Do I have to leave my job to be effective for Christ? Usually not. God normally uses you best where you are in life with people in your age and gender, people in your line of work, people in your socioeconomic class, and people of your culture and language. And, of course, He can use you cross-culturally and cross-class, too! But, your best witness is to the people around you whom you know and who know you (Acts 8:26-40).
· Got testimony? We all do, but can you share it in a few minutes? Write out your testimony as a story! Keep it short, simple, and true. People love stories; allow your life to touch others through your personal story. How has God helped you? How has your life changed for the better? How can you tell this to others (Acts 5:21)?
· When you witness, be relaxed and caring. Do not be uptight or stern. Humor that is not condescending is very helpful as is your good attitude and smile (Matt. 5:16)!
· Do not know what to say or where to begin? Just share the Word of God, then, what He has done for you (Eph. 2:8-9)!
· The better you get at it, the more the evil one will come against you! Do not fear; Christ is with you. But, you still have to prepare yourself (Eph. 6:10-20; 8:4)!
· We have to realize the fact and veracity of Spiritual warfare! Satan is scheming, as we speak, to thwart your efforts; however, always remember, "He that is in you is greater that He that is in the world (2 Cor. 2:9-10; 1 John 4:4-6)!"
· Your witness is not dependent on your answers; it is dependent on your character and commitment. Learn all you can; but, if you cannot answer a question-that is OK! Just say, I will check on that and get back to you. Ask someone else, such as a pastor, or, do a little research, and then get back to them with the answer (1 Cor. 1:10).
· Evangelism, no matter how much you fail or how successful you are, is all about glorifying our Lord. It is not about who gets to lead more people to Christ. Numbers are great, but God is more interested in your faith and your obedience (2 John 1:4-6)!
· The more organized you are in your evangelism campaigns, the more successful you will be (Duet. 31:12)! Who are the prospects? Who will witness to them? How will you do it? What are the people's needs? How can you meet those needs, such as digging a well or building a youth center? How will you follow up and disciple them? Have a map of your city and target area. Divide it among people, with a supervisor for each region. Have committed prayer warriors for each region and mark your progress (Luke 10:1).
· For American and Western Churches, clear, open, and effective parking is essential. People love their cars; if you do not have room for their cars, you do not have room for them!
· Having a "follow up" program to disciple people is essential. Without it, all of your witnessing efforts may be in vain! Most people who accept Jesus as Savior go back to their normal lives after a few weeks! The main reason is that they did not fit in! The church did not welcome them, did not treat them well, or did not mentor, place, encourage them (John 8:31-32; Acts 6:7; 11:25-26)!
What is the key to remembering all of this? It is not just about believing and knowing; it is about doing! We may forget points, but if we never forget to be faithful in Him, we will always be used by Him! Being faithful in prayer is the essential mechanism to reaching others for the faith. Be faithful in your personal spiritual growth. The other key is not to isolate yourselves in the Christian subculture; get out and get involved, and remember to love and care before you share. Remember, the Christian life is not about you; it is about glorifying Christ. So, is He Lord of your life? Are you following Him? If not, what is in the way (Mark 8:34; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 John 4:8)?
Do you realize there has never been a time in Church history where we have more books and resources for training, evangelism, and discipleship? Yet, it seems the Church is doing less training, evangelism, and discipleship than ever before!
©2004 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org/