Ideas to Get Started in Witnessing When a Believer Doesn't Know Where to Begin
1. Know the Basic points of the Gospel. 2. Listen to people present the gospel. 3. Be ready with Apologetics. 4. Look for everyday conversations to share your faith. 5. Be inspired by others who are sharing their faith.
As believers, we know that it is important to tell others how they can believe in Jesus as their Savior; and probably we’d all agree that of course we care about our unsaved family and friends but…do we care enough to do something about it? When I think about this, I am convicted of my apathy at times when I say that I care about the unsaved but yet do not do something about it. But sometimes my inaction is not because of a lack of love, but because of a lack of knowledge in that I don’t know how to start sharing the Gospel. Maybe you have these thoughts going through your head too, “How can I share the Gospel when I don’t even know where to begin or what to say? I know that I am saved, but I don’t know how to communicate that to others.” Below are five tips to get you started on learning the Gospel.
1. Know the basic points of the Gospel. If you are not already familiar with the basic points of the Gospel, I would suggest preparing yourself by memorizing the Gospel points or a script of presenting the Gospel. After you have a firm grasp of the Gospel you can then make it your own by moving away from the script and having the freedom to interchange illustrations, applicable Bible verses, or emphasizing certain points. The reason that it is important to have a solid outline is so that you know what is essential to cover and then if you get nervous and forget what to say, have a very limited time to share, or the other person takes you off on a rabbit trail you know the foundation that you need to come back to when sharing the Gospel.
Child Evangelism Fellowship also has a very thorough method for sharing the Gospel called the “Wordless Book.” Although this method is designed to lead children to the Lord, if you learn the points and how to share the Gospel on a child’s level you are then prepared to share the Gospel with anyone.
Be sure that you have key Scriptures that go along with the major points of the Gospel. Both links that I referenced above have key Scriptures to go along with each major section. You can use these or choose other Scriptures that you feel are more applicable. Although we have memorized hundreds of Scriptures, it is good to pick one verse that you can use as your “go-to” verse when talking about each key point. If the Lord leads you during the conversation to share other verses that is great, but if not at least you have one verse that you know you can share without your mind going blank when you are witnessing.
If you are not already comfortable sharing the Gospel, practice presenting the Gospel to yourself (out loud) just as you would if you were talking to someone who is not saved. Then practice your presentation on a saved friend or family member to get feedback. It is important that you present to your saved friend of family member just like you would to an unsaved person so that you know what you are going to say in detail. There is always room for flexibility to adjust to the Spirit’s leading or to the person’s need in a real presentation, but when you practice you want to be as thorough as possible so that you know where you are going. If you just skip through the presentation and say “I will most likely say something like this or that” but don’t thoroughly explain it when you practice, you probably won’t be very clear when you present it for real because you can’t/didn’t explain it when you practiced. It is best to practice thoroughly in a safe environment where you can make mistakes and learn so that you can give your best when you present for real and someone’s eternity is at stake.
2. Listen to people present the Gospel and then practice their method.
Ray Comfort with Living Waters University - These videos (click on Living Waters University link) are extremely good for learning how to use the 10 commandments and the judge illustration in witnessing. Notice how Ray doesn’t argue with people about whether or not there is a God but just states the facts that there is one and asks them how they will stand up on judgment day. Living Waters also has great tracts to give out when witnessing. View this humorous video to see how NOT to give out tracts.
Wretched with Todd Friel – (Ray Comfort helped start Wretched and Wretched has supported the Bible Bee in the past.) Most Wednesdays is “Witness Wednesday” on Wretched TV and Wretched Radio and you can listen to Todd witness to people, mostly students on college campuses. Most of the time he uses Ray’s method of evangelism, but it is great to hear how someone else uses this foundation and adds his own personality to it.
Perspective Cards and App – This is a witnessing tool by Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). This tool helps you start a conversation with someone about what they believe so that you can know where they are coming from and then be able to share your own faith with them.
3. Be ready with apologetics. Sometimes the reason that we don’t share our faith is because we are afraid of the arguments that people might bring up. These resources can help you be prepared to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that you have. It is also comforting to know that you don’t have to know everything! If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say that you don’t know but to tell them that you will get back with them or research the issue with them (and be sure that you do follow up!). If the other person sees a willingness to discuss and discover the truth together that will most likely soften their heart to the truth. Below are resources to prepare you for defensive and offensive ‘battle’.
These two resources above teach questions and tactics that can be used for staying in the driver’s seat of a conversation when a person brings up objections to the Christian faith. These tools have been some of the greatest help for me in sharing my faith and not being afraid of what the other person might ask.
4. Look for everyday conversations to share your faith. Are we looking and asking God for these types of conversations? I have often been able to share my faith with acquaintances through everyday conversations like their comment on a Bible verse I was wearing on my shirt, listening to someone’s struggle to be good enough in life, or someone having surgery or an illness. If you are being alert to conversations and ways that you can point someone to the Savior, God will bring divine appointments into your life to share your faith.
Walter Lewis Wilson was a doctor in Kansas City who witnessed on a daily basis with his patients, on the street corner, in the park, at churches, and wherever he went. He prayed for divine appointments and then was intentionally looking for ways to relate things of this earth to spiritual things to lead into the Gospel. Suggested books by him about his encounters are: “Just what the Doctor Ordered”, “Dr. Wilson's Stories Of Soul Winning”, “Let's Go Fishing with the Doctor”, and “Remarkable New Stories Told by the Doctor".
Another suggestion is to write a letter to a friend or family member who is not saved and share the Gospel through this letter. The reason that writing a letter to someone is often an effective way of sharing the Gospel is since a lot of people do not write letters any more it shows that you value someone by taking the time to write and also it allows them to read it over and over, taking time to think about what you wrote. It is also a personal message to them versus something that you just printed out or bought to give to them. Those things have their place too but sometimes people need the personal touch to realize that we do care about them and that we aren’t just trying to be right or get them to agree with our faith. “People don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care” (Unknown).
Pray intentionally and specifically for those that are not saved. Whenever I sang the hymn "For You I am Praying", I was always promoted to pray for my grandfather to receive Christ. I praise the Lord that I received confirmation that he did trust in Christ as his Savior before his death. Make a list of 1-5 people that are not saved that you will intentionally and specifically pray for by name whenever the Lord brings them to mind. You might pray for these people when you see a text or email from them, when you hear a stirring sermon about the Gospel, when you get up every morning or do a certain thing, or whenever the Lord prompts you. Then be looking for how God answers this prayer or opens the door for you to have a conversation with them about the Gospel. Sometimes it might be many years before they are saved or you may never know how your prayers impacted their life; but don't become weary in praying! The Lord hears your prayers and moves in ways we cannot understand.
5. Be inspired by others who are sharing their faith. When I get fearful about sharing my faith, I am often encouraged by believers who have come before me or brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering right now for their faith.
Reading Christian biographies is a great way to be encouraged by people who daily laid down their cross to follow Christ in all walks of life, whether at home or abroad. If you are looking for believers to read about Brother Andrew, Amy Carmichael, William Wilberforce, Richard Wurmbrand, and Isobel Kuhn are great places to start. The series “Christians Heroes: Then and Now” has a lot of great selections.
The Voice of the Martyrs- This ministry helps believers in the States know about their persecuted family around the world. Their regular newsletters and radio program helps people know how to pray for and serve those suffering for their faith. Your family or church can also volunteer at their headquarters for a few days to be more hands on concerning the persecuted Church. Hearing these people’s testimony of what it means to witness and share Christ, will definitely encourage you in sharing your faith.
Witnessing can be a challenge. Sometimes it is discouraging when we don’t see results. But know that “you don’t have to hit a home run every time; just put a rock in someone’s shoe” (Greg Koukl). Most of the time we want to be the person who leads a person to Christ, the one that gets the home run and brings someone into the kingdom. While this desire is not wrong, we also need to trust God and be at peace where God has us in the other person’s life. Sometimes our job is just to put a rock in their shoe. This means that we are the one who shares God’s truth with them, which might bring conviction and leads them to be uncomfortable until they deal with it; and hopefully this encounter brings them one step closer to believing in Jesus. Another way of saying this is, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” (Robert Louis Stevenson).
You do care about your unsaved friends and family, right? So now that you have some ideas to prepare yourself, do you care enough to do something about the lost? While it may seem daunting to share about Christ, take a step out in faith and start planting seeds. Prepare yourself, give your best when giving the Gospel, and trust the results in God’s hands. May God bless you as you go serve your King!