The center of the Christian life is loving God and the center of loving God is evangelism. The simplest and most effective way to evangelize (and the most common) is witnessing. Witnessing, like any other outreach, involves consistency. To be consistent in witnessing you must first have a lifestyle that consistently puts you around lost people. It is quite ineffective to attempt to “go find some lost people” at a designated time to witness. It works much better if they can get to know you. Of course, in order for this to happen, you must vulnerably be outside of your religious bubble on a regular basis. You must live and present yourself in a way that the lost perceive you to be both happy and kind. Nobody wants to put forth effort to go from their kind of misery to your kind of misery.
Next, you need to consider them and their needs in order for them to believe that you are sincere in your efforts. If all you do is show up and do all of the talking, then they can easily decide that the interaction is really all about you.
Make sure that you are witnessing the truths of the gospel. Just telling about your own experiences, or worse yet, the experiences of others, isn’t good enough. You need to tell the facts of the gospel message to establish a foundation to build on. How God loved us and sent His son Jesus. How Jesus suffered all of the fleshly evils of this world so that He could experience them, carry them to the cross and die for us. Then how He rose again victorious over death, hell, the grave and such things as depression, anxiety and lust. That we owe Him our lives for doing all of this for us and He in turn promises us access to share in His victories over our hurts and our sins.
You may think that everyone knows all of this but they do not. And even the ones that have heard it, have usually only heard it through the skewed particular religious groups that presented it. The Baptist version, the Mormon version, the Holiness version, etc. You need to be the one that brings them the Gospel version!
Once given opportunity through the open door of the power of truth, then tell what God has done for YOU. Do not exaggerate but do not fail to give the full glory for all that The Lord has really done for you. Be sure that in your testimony, God receives all the praise for what He has done and none of it is given to a man, an idea, a theology, a church or a doctrine. Be real and sincere and talk like you would at work or at home. Do not use a bunch of silly or strange religious terminology that the common unchurched person wouldn’t know or could easily get confused by. Avoid terms like trinitarian, oneness, holiness, fundamental, praying through, hitting the rock, sanctification, Calvinism and holy roller. Also avoid terms and phrases that would mean completely different things to different people. Like, old fashioned, standard, modern culture, charismatic. Instead use universal and profoundly Biblical terms like, love, power, strength, sin, freedom, evil, Savior, help, hope, prayer, faith and healing.
Do not complicate the basic power and beauty of the Gospel. Most people are hurting and sinning and would love to believe that they know someone who has found a way out and is willing to share it. It is your calling in this life to be that someone to as many people as possible. This is what Christians do and this is the most powerful way to show our love and appreciation to Jesus Christ.
Lastly, be dually prepared for good responses. #1 Always be prepared to pray with people. If we do not have faith in praying to the Lord and His promised responses to those prayers, there is no reason to expect others to believe either AND #2 Have a particular place, time, event and atmosphere that you already trust and are already prepared to invited them to. Don’t just witness to them and then leave them hanging, because after witnessing should come conversion and following conversion should always be discipleship. Discipleship is what the church structure is supposed to be about…but that’s another lesson...
-Rev. D. Todd Sloggett