Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharing Our Faith With Friends


There is a common misconception that non-churched people are not interested in discussing spiritual issues. But research shows that a majority of non-churched people would actually be interested in having a spiritual conversation with a friend about Christ. They are not interested in having the same discussion with a stranger, nor does an unsolicited mass mailing about spiritual issues interest them. But an open and honest discussion with someone they know would interest them. The problem is, too few Christians are willing to have those conversations. If Christians want their faith to spread, we are going to have to overcome our fear about sharing our faith.

Here are some thoughts that might make witnessing easier for Christians:
  1. Think of witnessing as a process instead of as a single event. Instead of trying to memorize some pre-written witnessing plan and using it like a religious salesman, just share small portions of the Gospel at any one time. This process oriented approach may take several conversations before the entire Gospel is presented, but that is okay. Christians must learn to be patient and let God guide this process. Our job is to share what we believe; it is God's job to call a person to repentance and faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
  2. Ask open ended questions instead of just giving answers. Open ended questions invite discussion. They cannot be answered with a "yes" or a "no." When we only ask "yes" or "no" questions, we tend to lapse into presentation mode. When we fall into presentation mode, we tend to answer questions that our friends are not asking.
  3. Admit that we don't know all the answers. The friends that we witness to may ask complex questions. These questions may be based on negative experiences from their past or some evil they have seen in the world. We may not know the answers. There may not be any answers. We may have to admit that we are still looking for answers ourselves, but that we trust Christ to reveal those answers in time.
  4. Share how we came to understand the truth of Christ in our own lives. Share how Christ has changed our lives. Share a specific story of how our faith in Christ helped us overcome a significant challenge or difficulty. Use one powerful Bible verse that helped us in our time of need so that our friends can see how the Bible impacts our daily life.
By following these simple ideas, we can overcome our fear of witnessing. By practicing these witnessing concepts, we can share our faith with our friends with confidence. Our friends are interested in discussing spiritual issues with us. And many of them will turn to Christ once they have time to consider what faith in Christ can mean to their lives.

12 comments:

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  4. Solid counsel brother, I am still amazed at how complicated we church people can make this!

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  5. Wayne Dorsett, retired pastorApril 21, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    This was a very practical discussion and I hope people read it and maybe some of our pastors around the state and nation develop on it.

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  6. I don't know how you find the time to share your insight, experience and hope for His Church in America via your frequent posts, but I'm glad you do. I've been blessed by them!

    Two recent ones: "Is Real Christianity Actually.... " and "Sharing Our Faith With Friends" were especially relevant and insightful in light of a new series of sermons on the Church I just started. These are exciting times to be living in. Our Lord is giving us a wonderful opportunity's to lead poor lost souls to "THE WAY."

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  7. Great points, and so true about relational evangelism and the benefit of finding out where people are through open-ended questions – often times, people haven’t fully explored what they believe, or why they’ve come to believe it. Additional food for thought: while it’s God’s word, and specifically the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that saves, it helps to know why we believe what we believe, and that we can have a reasonable faith in everything written in the Bible

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  8. These are great ideas. I've done these plus the canned approaches too. The greatest thing I've learned is the dependance upon the Holy Spirit, which means listening to Him. I can have all the tools in the world, but it I don't listen to the Holy Spirit as to how and when to use those tools for Kingdom impact, it is for naught. Lord, make me sensitive to opportunities around me to share your story of saving grace.

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  9. People are interested in discussing spiritual things. People are also watching our lives very carefully. They are looking for genuine Christianity (think the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5). People don't want to be an evangelism project, a number in a report or a notch on our belts. If they sense we don't genuinely care about them as people, the walls will go up.

    I think about Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes." If we could see people the way God see them and see the places in their lives where they are hurting and respond to their hearts they will be open to hearing about the Lord.

    We need to remember, too, that many people followed Jesus but not all became disciples. Some will choose Jesus but many will not. Matthew 7:13-14 says a lot. "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it." Few find the narrow gate and the difficult road that leads to life. Very sad and sobering words. But we can do our part to point people to the narrow gate and we can do our part to help them navigate the difficult path and we can pray that they will reach the goal of eternal life.

    All through this process we need to keep reminding ourselves that the process of changing hearts is the work of the Holy Spirit. And we need to be willing instruments in the hands of God in this process. Praise the Lord that He still desires to change hearts today, especially mine!!

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  10. What you said is great. Generally I just try to keep my eyes open for people who are looking for God's love. If they respond when I smile or speak, I continue a conversation, hoping to hear what troubles them. Then I say whatever God leads me to say, even if that is just to invite them to church. It is good to have some responses to questions ... See Moreplanned, so that you don't go away shaking your head saying, "Why didn't I think to say..." But, generally speaking, I think just loving them where they are is the biggest demonstration of who Jesus is. He loves us just the way we are, He instructs us on the way to go, and then He changes us. Great model to follow :-)

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  11. Cameron and Kelly Lewis, youth ministersApril 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    I like this.

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