Before you get all excited about how easy witnessing is going to be after reading this post, let me slow you down a little. There is no magic 3 step formula for bringing others to Christ. Even the most successful evangelists will admit that their method doesn’t work every time. That’s because witnessing isn’t a training program; it’s a relationship.
The end goal of witnessing is to introduce people into a relationship with God. And for that you need to develop a relationship with them yourself. Unfortunately, relationships are messy. There are no clear rules to follow. What worked with your squash partner probably won’t be a good fit for your commuting buddy. Every person is different, so every person needs a slightly different approach to make it work.
There are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for success, however. More than listed here, obviously, but since this is a blog post and not an encyclopedia, we’ll stick with three. Following this advice should open doors for you to share your faith. How you proceed from there is up to you and the person you are witnessing to. And, ultimately, God. Here are the three tips:
Let People Know You Are a Christian
This might seem obvious, but if you want people to know that they can bring their spiritual questions to you, you need to make that apparent to them. And no, I don’t mean introduce yourself to everyone you meet as a Christian. (I’m not saying you should never do this, remember-there are no absolutes here!)
If someone asks what your weekend plans are, tell them you’ll be at church on Sunday. If they invite you out to a crude movie, tell them you don’t watch that stuff because you’re a Christian. Don’t make a big deal out of it. If they try to make a joke out of it, don’t get offended, but let them know that you do take your faith seriously. That leaves the door open for them to ask you about it at a later time.
The important thing to remember here is that your actions need to back up everything you say. If you don’t stay true to what you tell people you believe, your credibility completely disappears.
Get Involved in Your Community
Common ground is an excellent starting point for pretty much any discussion. So get out there and find something you love to do that you can do with other people. Join a club. Volunteer at a hospital. Take a part time job. Start a dog walking service. Join a gym. Take part in a community service day. The list is endless here. The key is, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing. This is not meant to be another obligation on your time.
If you honestly cannot find one spare moment to devote to another activity, there’s an excellent chance you’re too busy. It’s easy to let that happen. We all have responsibilities to our jobs, our families, and ourselves. That alone can eat up most of our time. Try to be more efficient with your time by accomplishing several things at once. For example, if you sign up for a community softball league, you can have fun, meet new people, and get your exercise all at once. Impressive!
A quick side note on getting involved: the church excels at sucking up all your free time. Don’t be afraid to limit your church activities. Yes, we want to support the ministries of our local body. But we’re also meant to be reaching out to the world around us, not hiding in our Upper Rooms. Don’t feel the need to be at the church building every time there’s something going on. If you need to free up some time to pursue relationships with friends, neighbors, and coworkers, do it.
Embrace the Mess
As I stated in this week’s challenge, the real key to witnessing to people is love them. And in the immortal words of Sebastian the crab:
That means when you start getting involved in people’s lives, it’s going to get messy. They’re going to have problems you don’t know how to handle. They’re going to share information you will probably wish you didn’t know. You’re going to have other people’s worries and hopes and fear floating around in your head. At some point you will probably wish that you had never gotten involved.
Embrace the mess.
The mess is where the real work of God takes place. Persevere through the bad times, and in the good times you will look back and realize that you wouldn’t have missed it for the world.