11.09.2016

Practical Tips on Witnessing


Witnessing. Doesn't that word give you fear? It has always sent a bit of fear into my heart. I mean...step out? Look different? Be stranger than most Christians we know? And yet Jesus has commanded us to witness. I read a very amazing, impacting, practical book called "Will Our Generation Speak?" on witnessing and so this post is going to be pretty much based off of some of the things I learned in that book. I would highly recommend it if you want to practically know how to witness! And I also want to tell you that I am not a good "witnesser". I can most embarrassingly tell you that I really don't witness much. And so I'm sharing things that I've learned from this book, but not things that I have down. So please don't think I'm any better than you! 

Only One Chance To Be Young!

The first point Grace(the author) brought up is that we only have one chance to be young. We will never have the same amount of free time(probably) once we go to college(if you're not already in college), start working or get married and have kids. These younger years of our lives are sooo important and we should not waste them. She also brought up how their are so many advantages of being young. I think people often will not think of you as being too bold or forward because you're just "kids". When others see how different we live, how strong we are in our convictions, and how serious we are about our faith it will not go unnoticed. We have an advantage when we're young. When you get older, people may not listen or be as interested and intrigued as when they see young people passionate about sharing Jesus Christ. So be encouraged! 


Excuses, Excuses, Excuses...

We all have them and we all must fight them. She shared a bunch of excuses that really hit me hard. Here they are:

I'm not in the mood...
I might be doing it from the wrong motive...
They look grumpy...
I need to pray about it first...
If God wants to save them(he will)...
I have to be friends first to share the gospel...
I don't have the right personality...
I might make a mistake...
I don't know enough...
I don't have the gift of evangelism...
They look busy...
I tried and it doesn't work...
I don't have time...
I can't communicate well...
I'll just let them see my life...

Are you guilty of any of these? I know I'm guilty of a lot of them. :) But I think we have to face the fact that Jesus has given the call. And excuses are not the right way to answer his call. Let us be courageous with the gospel! I think it is completely normal to be scared, but courage is not not being scared, but doing it anyway.

"Ok, I'm going to do it.", you might say..."But how?" I love how Grace broke it down in her book...

Who?

Who should I witness to? Well obviously your friends if you have unsaved one's, but when you're just out and about and witnessing, then who do you witness to? I think it's very true that we should let the Holy Spirit guide us, but sometimes we're not going to feel a nudge toward a certain person or an audible voice telling us who to go to. Grace brought out a good point that we should make choices based off of God's word. I've heard Proverbs 16:9 many times, but she brought it to a new depth for me. It says-

"A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."

She was saying how sometimes we need to plan our ways and trust that God will direct our steps to the ones he has for us. So here's a few things to take into consideration:

Gender: Grace said that it's best to witness to someone of your own gender. She said that she actually thinks that guys are more open-minded and easier to discuss things with, but she said that they often don't get your motive right. ;) So be very careful witnessing to someone of the opposite gender. 
Age: I think young people may listen a bit better to someone older than them and so trying to witness to people around your own age isn't a bad thing. But be open as well! 
Safety: We should be willing to share the gospel with difficult people, but we still need to use common sense. I don't think it would be wise at all to go witness to someone who looks a bit dangerous or wild. So use common sense! 

Where? 
Parks, towns, festivals, farmers markets, public sidewalks, anywhere you are. Rest stops, stores, parks. Any place can be an opportunity to witness if you want it to be! 

How?
Go up to people and ask how you can pray for them, draw illustrations, use analogies, get to know them a bit and be personable, share your testimony, be simple, go in pairs, and aim to disciple. Other ideas would be...give them something(tract, questionnaire). Wear an illustration. She said one girl wears a pin that says "If". Whenever someone asks her about it she asks them a question "If you were to die today, where do you think you would go?". Another person wears a white sock and a black sock and says one is for his old life and one is for his new life. ;) So be creative! Also answer ordinary questions in an non-ordinary way. Like "How are you?" "I'm doing well. I was really encouraged by an answer to prayer recently..." Other ideas would be...go door to door, meet needs, and witness in third person. Like you could share with someone the "interesting" conversation you had with someone(*wink*) and then ask them "What do you think?". 

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So there's some ideas and suggestions for witnessing! I'll share some quotes from the book below that are so powerful: 

"Whether they respond or not our job is just---to speak Jesus."

"Most of us set life goals that we think we can reach. But if we can reach them in our own strength it means they are far too small."

"The world says "Make yourself happy", Jesus says "It is more blessed to give", The world says "Pursue your dreams" Jesus says "Lose your life", "The world says "Reward yourself", Jesus says "Take up your cross".

"He is concerned that are hearts are faithful in the daily grind. The person we are when no one is watching is the person we truly are. The "smallest" things are sometimes the hardest--mundane acts of service, efforts no one else sees, time spent in prayer, and consistency in our walk with him. A true hero is the one who is a conqueror daily in the little things. God cares more about who we are than where we are."

"Imagine this. We are in heaven, listening to amazing stories from missionaries throughout history who gave their lives for the gospel. But, what if, looking back, we realize we totally missed the real spiritual work, because we were blinded by distractions? What if we realize that, while others were fighting true battles, we were wasting time on ourselves?"

"We will also be able to see the fruits of our labors. All the things we had completely forgotten...we will find that the Lord did not forget! Small acts of kindness, tears of struggle, surrendered dreams, acts of obedience."

These quotes are so powerful! Will we live our lives "blinded by distractions"..."wasting time on ourselves"? Or will we make it our goal that everything, our words, our thoughts, the books we read, the movies we watch, the blog posts we post, the time we spend, be done on things that truly matter? Things that will count for eternity? Will we waste time on ourselves? Or will we live out His call, courageously, to share the message of the cross with others?

27 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for this post, Hannah! I read Will Our Generation Speak a few years ago, and it really impacted me then. It's definitely one of the most practical and inspiring books I've read on witnessing!

    Again thanks for sharing - I'm about to go away with a team canvassing (sharing Christian books, and beginning spiritual discussions door-to-door) for five weeks, so this was a perfectly timed reminder. :)

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    1. Oooh, I've never heard of "canvassing" before. What a great way to connect with people - particularly if you come across lovers of books - and spread the good news.

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    2. You're so very welcome Jessica! And that is so awesome you've read "Will Our Generation Speak?" It is an amazing, impactful, inspiring book ,isn't it? And it's so practical too!!

      Wow, that is so so cool!! I'd love to hear how it went when you come back! =) Canvassing sounds like a very neat idea as well! What are some of your favorite Christian books that you like to share with people? And yes, Jordy! It does sound so cool, doesn't it? What are some of your favorite Christian books, Jordy?

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    3. Thanks for your enthusiasm Jordy and Hannah! It means a lot to have support and encouragement from people on the other side of the world whom I've never even met! And yes, I'll have to post about it when I get back - I'm sure there'll be some testimonies of God's faithfulness to share!

      Yes, it is wonderful sharing God's love through books (especially if you find book lovers like you mentioned, Jordy!), but personally what I find most challenging, and yet most rewarding, is the discussion it sparks - talking about God, how we know He is real, how we know we can trust the Bible, if God is good why is there so much suffering, etc. Those questions make me realise how much closer I need to be to God through prayer, and how much more I need to study the Bible..

      Thanks again for your comments, and know I'll be thinking of you while I'm away, even though I don't anticipate being able to post or comment, unfortunately. And I'm looking forward to hearing some of your stories of witnessing too! :)

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    4. You're welcome, Jessica! You are a great encouragement to me with your comments. And YES, isn't it amazing? How we can encourage each other although we are continents apart? It's so incredible! And ooh, that will be awesome. I'll be looking forward to it!

      And yes, totally! Books can't compete with discussions about Jesus, can they? :) That makes me so excited too! And isn't that the truth? I think when people have hard questions like that we grow so much more because we have to find the answers to show them. It is really a big benefit of witnessing!

      Aww, that's so sweet of you! I hope you have an amazing trip and that you have wonderful opportunities to witness! I'm sure God will do great things through your life!

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  2. Hannah! Thank you for sharing these insights! You make me really want to read that book, Will Our Generation Speak. Is is written particularly to young girls, or to youth in general?

    And I can relate! That list of excesses hit me hard. I may have felt any of them at one point or another in my life, and I could probably relate to a few of them even as I write this. Another excuse that I'm dealing with at the moment is "They'll think I'm weird bringing it up constantly... they'll think I'm obsessed." But is it really that bad of a thing to be obsessed with the very One who saved my soul? Is it bad at all??

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    1. Aww, you're very welcome, Jordy! And that is awesome you want to read it! It's actually written to both girls and guys and it's more geared toward young people(like teens, etc), but literally there's not hardly anything in it that couldn't be for someone older! =)

      Yes, aren't they so...uncomfortable to read? :) I've felt almost all of them as well! And I can most definitely relate to some of them right now. ;) And yes, I know! I honestly have thought things similar to that. But I think we should be so obsessed with Jesus Christ that almost every word that comes out is about Him! Do you have any thoughts?

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    2. I have been following many of these witnessing discussions, but didn't know where to jump in. ;) So here I go! Lol.

      You mentioned that, "we should be so obsessed with Jesus Christ that almost every word that comes out is about Him!" I agree! We should definitely be ready to share our faith with everyone. We should praise God constantly. However, you also have to use discretion. Today I read something about different types of people. There are people who never share their faith. They immediately shut down. But there are others who always share their faith. They don't listen or care for the other person because they are always talking. We really need to be careful of "preaching" to the unsaved. If we immediately start talking about God, they will probably "turn off." The story I read was talking about how we need to start with a regular conversation sometimes. Let the person know that you are a real human and that you actually care about them. God might open up a door...or He might not. But I think we have to be very careful about opening doors for ourselves when the person isn't ready. =) What are your thoughts?

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    3. Yes, I totally know what you mean! ;) Thank you for joining!!

      Yes, I would pretty much agree. I don't think that we should be sharing the gospel right in people's faces with every conversation/word. I think talking about Jesus, what we're learning, how we're growing, and just his character is an excellent thing to do. But I agree. We have to care about the people and listen a lot. And yet I think showing them you care by asking them normal questions, but still directing the conversation to Jesus is never a bad thing. If they are like very uncomfortable talking about Jesus then you have to not force it, but we also don't want to go to the other extreme and wait till they bring up it(which may not happen). I think we have to be okay if they're turned off by the Gospel. We certainly must care for the person and listen a lot, but I think we also must direct the conversation to Jesus and not wait for the "perfect opportunity". But I would agree with you. If whenever we talked to someone or met someone we just pop out with the gospel it probably won't seem like we care much(now I don't mean that for sharing the gospel in parks, etc just when we are introduced to someone or meet someone where we're not intentionally going and sharing the gospel). I think we need to meet real needs, get together and get to know the person, ask questions that show we care, and yet still always be pointing to Jesus in conversations, etc and bringing up the gospel just not like "every time you meet". I think it would totally turn someone off if we shared the gospel with them or brought up Jesus at the beginning of every conversation. But still talking about God once they know you care about them is super important! And this is getting super long, but I agree. We have to not rush things, but we also have to not wait for them to bring up Jesus or anything. =)

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    4. Hannah, I like how you differentiated between two sorts of witnessing scenarios: (1) meeting people who we'll likely see again in the long run, and (2) meeting people as a probable "once off" when we're witnessing in public places. I think there are differences between the two situations that we would do well to acknowledge.

      When we meet people who we'll likely meet again on somewhat of a regular basis, I think it's good to meet them on a real level. They'll be facing situations and struggles, and while these situations and struggles pale incredibly when compared to eternity, the feelings and emotions are still very real, and we can't expect them to necessarily have that proper perspective (many days I don't, even as a born again believer!). I think that listening is a good way to demonstrate Christian community. On the other hand, there will be people who always appear to resist the gospel. I think we need to share it appropriately. I don't think that all resistance necessarily means we've talked about it too much. It's just not an easy reality to accept.

      And then comes talking with complete strangers. We can't demonstrate Christ's love through an on going relationship in the same sort of way. We may have one chance. I think we need to encourage two-way conversation, but be more intentional about keeping it cantered on the gospel. What do you both think?

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    5. Jordy!! Those are my thoughts exactly. ;) We should still feel that urgency to tell people that we're going to see on a regular basis, but I think there's more of a process of showing them that you care, getting to know them, doing fun things, as well as weaving Jesus Christ into your conversation. Which if we just meet someone in a park whom we probably will never see again we should feel more of an urgency since we know we may not have another opportunity to share with them. My thoughts exactly! And yes, I agree. I don't think we should be surprised when people resist the gospel. In the book I read it said that often people resist the gospel because they're being convicted. But it is so hard to accept that we may get a negative response for sharing the gospel...but we have to do it anyway! (still caring about the person of course)

      Your thoughts are mine 100%, Jordy. :)

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    6. Basically I agree with you both. =) I just wanted to claify what you meant, Hannah, and you summed up exactly what I was thinking! =) You definitely need to be showing God's love in every conversation, but you need to be careful not to over do it sometimes. There is a delicate balance which we need to be diligent to find. =) Great thoughts, Hannah and Jordy!

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    7. Hosanna, do you have any thoughts about what it means to overdo showing God's love and mercy in our conversations? I mean I don't think we can draw a line (and if we could, it might become legalistic), but how do you think we can tell if someone is feeling uncomfortable because of the gospel itself (which we don't want to apologize for) or because of how we are presenting it? And Hannah, too! What do you think?

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    8. Hmm...that is a very hard question, Jordy. I don't think you can overdo showing God's love, but there is a point where an unsaved person might feel like you are "preaching" to him. When you get into a conversation, you need to try to discover where they are in their spiritual life...are they even ready for the Gospel? We also need to be diligent in asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom. He is so, so much wiser than we are! =) That is the best answer I can come up with at the moment... ;)

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    9. I would agree with Hosanna. We can't overdo God's love, but maybe we can overdo "preaching God's love"? Like I think we should be sensitive to where they're at and share the gospel, but if we know they're uncomfortable talking about it maybe not bringing it up again and again if we've already told them it. And so I think we have to use a lot of discernment and wisdom to understand where they're at in the process, if they're open to you sharing about Jesus with them(now I'm not saying at all that you should only share it if they want to hear it, but you also can't force it if they really don't want to hear it), and then just think of questions to ask whenever you're with them to point the conversation to Jesus as well as build a friendship and talk about fun, normal things. So I think there has to be a balance of getting to know them, but never forgetting that your goal is to be able to share Jesus with them. It's hard though! =(

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  3. This is so great, Hannah! Really great tips. :)

    -Anika

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    1. Thank you so much, Anika! I totally feel your struggles with witnessing and I'm sure God will give you the wisdom to know how to best witness for Him!

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  4. Great tips, Hannah! This sounds like a great book as well! ;D I really like the point that excuses are not the right way to answer Jesus' calling to us.

    There were two points from "One Thing you Can't do in Heaven" that really helped as well:

    1# If you are invited to a party where everyone who goes wins a million dollars, and you are also given 5 tickets to it to give away, then you'd definitely give it to anyone! The homeless man on the street, your neighbor, your best friend! And we do have tickets but they are to heaven which is so much better than a party with a million dollars. So why wouldn't we find joy in giving our tickets away? That really changed my perspective because we are actually doing them a favor by telling them of Christ

    2# Ever time you share the Gospel 1 of 3 things happen. You plant a seed, they completely change their life-style towards Christ, or you get rejected. Since when we are rejected, we are storing up treasures in heaven, then every single thing that could happen to us is a winning situation. :D

    Anyway, those are great tips, I haven't heard of quite a few of them. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks! And haha, yes it is a great book. ;) I guess we're even...you guys have talked tons about "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" and I've talked tons about "Will Our Generation Speak?"...haha. :P

      Wow, those are awesome quotes! It's totally true. When we truly love someone we're not going to want them to go to hell where they'll be brutally tortured forever. ;( And the other quote is also amazing! I think we often think that God will be pleased if someone becomes a Christian. And that's true! But God isn't any more pleased with us when we lead someone to Christ as when we witness. It gives us so much freedom to think about!

      Thank you and you're welcome!

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    2. I keep telling myself I need to read 'One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven.' =D Seems like I do that about a lot of books. I can't seem to find it at our library though...
      This was a great post, though! I just love love LOOOVE your heart for the lost, Hannah!!! I'm sure God is going to take that to super awesome places! =) And isn't 'Will Our Generation Speak' an amazing book?! What was your favorite part of it?
      -Ariel

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    3. Yes, I know! I should read it sometimes soon too. ;) Although I honestly think that I got a pretty complete guide to witnessing in "Will Our Generation Speak?", but reminders are always great, aren't they? =)
      Awww, sweet Ariel! YOUR heart for the lost and passion for Jesus is the sweetest to see! And you've read it????!!! *squeals* Really? I didn't know! Isn't it amazing though? And I don't know...it all was just so good. I think the chapter on joy and prayer was very impactful as well as all the practical chapters on how to answer people's questions with tons of different questions/scenarios. SO helpful. What was your favorite part??

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    4. Yeah, I would have to say if you want to witness, 'Will Your Generation Speak' is one of the best books to read. =) I knowww...I just keep wanting to soak up every bit of witnessing tips I can!! =D
      YOU ARE DA BESTEST. <3 I'm so glad we share the same passion! I can't seem to pick a favorite chapter...I did enjoy the one on joy, like you mentioned. The chapter called 'Keys to Confidence' is also real helpful. The chapter called 'The Esther 4:14 Principle' is also sooo good! I JUST CAN'T PICK. =D
      -Ariel

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    5. Yes, it really is! I loved it. =) And yess...tips are always the best. ;)

      You are the sweetest! I'm so glad you have caught the same vision for sharing the Gospel and we are doing it while we're young! And yes, that chapter was very helpful! And the last chapter too...they all were so good. I totally get you. ;)

      Thank you for joining the discussion!

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  5. Wow, Hannah... thank you so much for taking the time to write this amazing post! "Will Our Generation Speak" sounds like a wonderful book- I'm definitely going to see if the library has it. :) Thanks for sharing all these tips for witnessing with us!
    Keep up the awesome work. <3

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    1. Emily. Your comment makes me want to cry! :) You're so very welcome and I hope you can read the book!!

      Thank YOU so much for all your encouragement!

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  6. Hey Hannah! This is such an inspiring post! I'll have to check out that book sometime soon. :)

    I also just wanted to let you know, that I featured this post on my Featured Friday post for the week.

    Thank you!

    Here's the link to my Featured Friday for this week: http://spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com/2016/11/week-review-featured-friday.html

    With love and all joy,
    Allie D.
    www.alliesblogdesigns.blogspot.com
    www.friendlovesatalltimes.blogspot.com
    www.sincerelyallied.blogspot.com
    www.spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much Allie! So glad you were inspired to witness. How do you try to witness in every day life? It's so hard, isn't it? :/ But so important!

      And aww, thank you so much! That is so sweet of you.

      Thank you for commenting!

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