My Thoughts on Witnessing – Part One

During my first year of Bible school, I was expected to participate in what you might call “forced witnessing”.

For an assignment, we were supposed to visit a nearby university, choose an unsuspecting victim, and start sharing the gospel with them. And then, we were supposed to write a paper about our experiences in “witnessing”.

It did not go well for me. For one thing, I was so nervous, I felt like I was going to vomit. I had no experience with this type of conversation, and my target had no desire to even be having the conversation with me in the first place.

I have no idea what I wrote about for that paper, but if I made the whole thing sound like a positive experience, then I lied.

The experience left me thinking that I was no good at witnessing, and I decided that I would never do THAT again.

The trouble is that Jesus makes it pretty clear that we’re supposed to tell people about Him . He was “witnessing” all the time, but He managed to do it without making people feel like victims or targets. He made people feel loved.

He spent three years walking around, living life with people. They followed Him wherever He went, and He talked with them, told them stories, and just loved them. They shared their needs with Him, and He met them. They asked Him questions, and He answered them.

But there’s the big difference: A lot of the time, people came to Him, asked Him questions, and were searching for something that He could provide.

He continued the work that God was already doing in people’s lives.

So does choosing a victim to evangelize ever work? It could. But I think that when we ask God to show us where He’s already working, and find out how we can join Him, we’ll end up getting a lot farther.

I think that there are people who are searching for something. There are people who have questions about Jesus.Those are the people that I would like to end up talking with. I don’t want to force the conversation on them. I want them to want the conversation, and to feel loved and cared for. And I want to enjoy talking about Jesus with them, not feel so nervous I think I might puke.

I am definitely not an expert on evangelism. I don’t really feel like I have a clue what I’m doing most of the time. But I really like it when talking about Jesus can just happen naturally. I like it when He’s so much a part of my life that His name comes up as easily in conversation as Ben’s name might.

I like it when people ask me questions and I can just answer them. I like it when we can share life, and as we do so, I can share my stories, and talk about what Jesus means to me.

And I don’t even have to write a paper about it after!

So what do you think – is witnessing scary or natural?

photo © 2007 John Athayde | more info (via: Wylio)

2 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Witnessing – Part One

  1. I feel like “witnessing” in the sense of basically attacking someone with the gospel that is supposedly loving is kind of a silly notion in most circumstances. You’re so right that Jesus didn’t witness in that way. He lived a life worthy to be followed…and then people followed him. He loved people who others found “unlovable” and showed them they were worthy of God’s love. Perhaps witnessing by walking up to a complete stranger and sharing might work in some instances, but my guess is that it can also do a lot to turn people off to the gospel. Thanks for the thoughtful post. As always, you’ve given me something to think about!

  2. To approach someone with the intent of witnessing (talking to, not necessarily with, someone about God) never went anywhere good for me. I felt as though I was attacking them, but joining God in the work He’s started is how I feel is a much better way. I believe it is only with God’s leading that we can know the right way to “witness” to anyone.

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