It’s one of those big, scary words that we talk about all of the time.
It’s one of those words that makes every Christian draw back into themselves a little bit and start making excuses or beating themselves up because they don’t do it enough.
Because witnessing is scary! It sounds wonderful in theory, but when we’re faced with a real, live person that desperately needs the gospel, it suddenly isn’t easy anymore. We’re met with open hostility, blank stares, or ridicule. How do we even begin?
This new series is going to address a step-by-step process to go through when you want to witness to someone. Today we’ll discuss the preparation, next week we’ll discuss the conversation itself, and the week after we’ll talk about what to do after the conversation is over.
First of all, the preparation, which is almost as important if not as important as the witnessing itself. Without the proper preparation, the person won’t want to listen to anything you have to say.
There are four main steps in preparing to witness:
Step 1: Prayer
This is probably the most important step of the four. Prayer is powerful, and without God’s work in someone’s heart, there is no way they are going to be receptive to anything you are going to say.
When God places someone on your heart that you feel needs the gospel, the first thing you should do is start praying for them. Pray everyday, more than once a day. Pray hard. Pray that their eyes and hearts would be opened and that they would be able to see truth through you.
Continue praying for them all throughout this process and beyond.
Step 2: Examine Yourself
The next thing you need to do is examine your own life. Are you living as a serious Christian yourself? Will what they see in you help to convince them that there’s something to the gospel? Would they be able to call you a hypocrite when you start talking to them about Christianity?
This is not a call to be obsessively perfect about never messing up. This is simply a call to make sure we are serious about our own faith before we start talking about it to other people. No one likes a hypocrite.
Step 3: Make Friends with Them
This is also a super-important step. You have to get to be pretty good friends with someone in order to have the deep conversations that will lead to witnessing. They will be much more likely to listen to you if they know you care about them truly, as a friend.
So if you’re more of an acquaintance with them at the moment, make an effort to get closer. Talk to them at lunch. Sit next to them in class. Get their phone number and start texting them regularly. Remember their birthday. Make friends with people in their circles if that will help you get closer to them.
You have to really care about someone before you can witness to them in a way that will reach them, so work on this before you start talking about the gospel.
Step 4: Think
Once you have gotten to know them and you start to feel close enough to bring up religion in conversation, it’s time to start seriously preparing to talk to them.
The first thing you should think about is what becoming a Christian would mean for this person. Would their family and friends be hostile toward it or ridicule them for it? How hard would it be for them? This can help you be more sympathetic and understand why they might not accept the gospel immediately.
Next, think about what the best way to approach them might be. Would a direct approach (“I’d like to talk to you about the gospel”) work? Would it be better to start with something less direct (“do you go to church?” “where do you think you’ll go when you die?” “do you think there’s a god?”) or even something unrelated (“which political candidates do you support?” “what are your views on [insert cultural issue here]”?)?
(although if you go that route, be prepared to do some serious debating.)
We’ll look more at ways to start the conversation next week, but start to think about how you might best reach them.
The final thing to think about in preparation is to think about what kind of questions they will be likely to ask. Do research. Scour the Bible, read reputable websites or books or magazines, or ask wise people in your life.
You should be prepared to explain:
a) what the proof is for there being a god
b) the basic doctrines of who God is
c) the basic doctrines of Jesus and the gospel
d) what Christianity looks like practically
…and anything else you can think of that they might ask. For someone who didn’t grow up in it, Christianity can seem a bit strange or foreign, so be prepared for lots of questions.
Those are the four steps you should go through in preparation to witness to someone. And it might take a lot of time; you don’t become close friends with a person overnight, so go about the preparation with patience, persistence, and thoroughness. You’ll be that much more likely to succeed.
What do you think? Have you ever shared the gospel with someone? Do you agree with my steps? Would you add or take out anything? Tell me in the comments below!
♥ love, grace ♥