Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well Known Atheist Advocates Evangelism

Well known atheist Penn of Penn & Teller says you should be sharing your faith.

After one of his magic shows, he was greeting people in the crowd. There was a man waiting for him in the wings with a Gideon's New Testament. He gave Penn the Testament.

Penn graciously speaks of this experience and is complimentary to the man. But most importantly, he says something to believers about evangelism in this video.

Link to YouTube Video

Embedded video below...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Julia Champion's Testimony

Julia gave her heart to Christ through our ministry at Moore Square in May of this year. Hear how the Lord has been at work in her life since then. The video gets shaky at the end but the message comes through.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Being Jesus Among Them

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 ESV

In 8 more days, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that December 25 was not His actual day of birth, but I am more concerned about the event rather than the date.

As we peer into that manger, we see more than just a frail human baby; we see God the son taking on human flesh and blood. God chose to enter the human experience in order to redeem humanity. According to scripture, there was a valid reason for what we call, the Incarnation...

Hebrews 2:13-14 MSG says, "Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says, Even I live by placing my trust in God. And yet again, I'm here with the children God gave me. Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death."

It goes on to say that Jesus was tempted as we were in every respect, yet He was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

By entering humanity, Jesus chose to experience life as we experience it. He experienced, joy, pain, friendship, betrayal, being loved, being hated, happiness, sorrow, satisfaction and hunger and every other human emotion. This was so that He might be able to help us when we are tempted.

I also believe that He did this so that we could relate to him. Trying to understand a limitless God with our human minds is the equivalent of ants trying to understand people. But, I can relate to someone who has had the experiences that I have had.

As witnesses for Christ, we must live a life that is reflective of the incarnation. We must seek to be Jesus in the midst of a hurting generation of people.

On the streets this year, I have witnessed to drug dealers, prostitutes, the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, politicians, activists, the affluent, the penniless, the outcast, the in-crowd and many others in between. In each case, I have sought to understand their mindset, their fears, their emotions, their motivations, their pain and their spiritual condition.

Even though I have not "walked a mile in their shoes," I have sought to love them with the love of Christ without compromising the gospel message.

If you and I are going to touch the world with the saving message of Jesus Christ, we must learn from the example of our Master Jesus. We must love the Lord our God with all of our being and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Merry Christmas!

NOTE: There will be no blog post next week due to the Christmas celebration. God bless you and your family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Everyone has a Different Opinion"

Monday, I was in Atlanta, GA for a Christmas luncheon for the Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) consultants. It was an awesome time of fellowship and we all received endorsements from the North American Mission Board as ICE instructors.

Our luncheon was held at a local restaurant. As the meal came to a close, our server brought the check to Victor, the Urban Strategies Consultant. Victor engaged her in spiritual conversation as she waited at the table.

Ava was from France - verified by her thick accent - and a practicing Buddhist. Victor shared a brief bit of his testimony with her and how Jesus said that he was "the way, the truth and the life. " Ava, responded, "we each have our own opinion."

Victor graciously ended the conversation with her and asked her to read the "Here's Hope" tract that he had given her.

I have been mulling this conversation over in my mind for two days. It represents the current stream of tolerance prevelant in our culture. There are several thoughts that I would like to share with you when responding to this absurd viewpoint (that everyone has a right to be right.)

First of all, when someone responds with this perspective they fail to realize that they are contradicting their personal belief about tolerance. You, as a Christian witness, are telling them that there is only one way to eternal life which is Jesus Christ. They are saying that they do not agree with you (that there is only one way to heaven.) Yet their disagreement with your viewpoint violates their belief that all religious viewpoints are equal (All paths lead to God.) If they were true to their position, they would give equal consideration to your viewpoint, rather than instantly disagree with you.

Second, the idea that spiritual matters are relegated to the realm of mere opinion invalidates all spiritual beliefs by reducing them to subjective ideas. Religion by definition deals with weightier matters such as the nature and purpose of the universe and morality. Religion then becomes a matter of what I like rather than what is truth. It can no longer speak to external matters.

Finally, it is impossible for two or more contradictory belief systems to simultaneously be true. I can't say that chocolate ice cream is the best dessert in the world while agreeing with your opinion that lemon pie is the best dessert in the world. While it is true that they are both desserts and have a few common ingredients, they each have completely different tastes, textures and calorie counts.

Christianity teaches that there is one, personal God who exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God redeemed humanity and opened the way to heaven by sending his Son to die on the cross for sin and raised Him from the dead. Buddhism teaches that God is an impersonal force that makes up all things and holds the universe together. Salvation - if you can call it that - is obtained through following the eight fold path which leads to Nirvana, a state of impersonal nonexistence.

If you have an opportunity to witness to someone that holds to this viewpoint, you must help them to see how illogical their position is by lovingly pointing out the contradictions within belief systems. Only then can you expose them to the claims of Christianity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sowing the Seed

Chuck Kelly, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary once said, "Southern Baptists are a harvest minded denomination living in the midst of an unseeded generation."

This is a quote that transcends denomination and speaks a great truth about the current gospel climate in the western world. We as the Church have not effectively sown gospel seeds in the midst of our culture. We have not exposed people to the message of Christ, yet we expect to see an evangelistic harvest from out of our culture.

I have shared the gospel with thousands of people over the past 12 years either one-to-one or in mass through crusades and revivals. I have walked away from many of these encounters with a sense of disappointment due to the fact that I did not see a harvest. As I reflect on that fact, I have come to realize that I need not be disappointed. Why?
  • I have done what was required of me by obediently sharing the message of Christ. (See Ezekiel 3:19)
  • I may be one link in the chain of witnesses that eventually leads to salvation for that person.
  • I cannot see how the Holy Spirit is working in the life of the hearer.
  • The Word of God will never return void.
These previous encounters were seed sowing opportunities. If we approach each divine appointment as a seed sowing moment, we will not walk away disappointed.

We should make every attempt to intentionally sow gospel seeds as we go about our daily lives. Here are a few suggestions that you can incorporate into your life to sow seeds.
  • Build a relationship with those around you who don't know Christ with the aim of sharing the good news.
  • Carry and distribute gospel tracts or witnessing cards with you. Give them to cashiers, servers, people you meet on the street or anyone else that God places in your path. Say something like, "Here is an encouraging little book of wisdom that I just read, perhaps you will enjoy it too."
  • If you are allowed to play music at your workplace, then play Christian music.
  • Wear Christian apparel whenever you can. A good Christian Shirt can spark a conversation.
  • When eating at a sit down restaurant, always ask your server for prayer requests before you pray for your meal. You would be surprised how many spiritual conversations this will lead to.
  • Invite co-workers, friends and neighbors to special events at your church such as Christmas Cantatas and so forth. Treat them to dessert after the performance and talk about what you have just enjoyed together.
  • A friend of mine has memorized the spiritual meanings of hundreds of names. When he meets someone new, he tells them what their name means and turns it into a gospel conversation.
  • Give out CD's of your pastors best message to people.
Look for creative ways to share the gospel with those around you. Even if you are only able to share a "sound bite" with someone, you might be surprised at how it sticks with them.

Imagine the impact upon the kingdom if believers begin to practice this seed sowing in their daily lives.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank You Lord for Saving My Soul

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" John 4:29 ESV

When was the last time you gave God thanks for your salvation? If you are like me, you take it for granted at times. Do you remember the excitement of soul that you felt on that day of salvation? You wanted to run out and tell everyone you saw.

That is what happened to the Samaritan woman that Jesus encountered by Jacob's well in John 4. After a soul searching conversation with the Master, she left her water pot by the way and ran back to town to tell everyone about this mysterious man.

It is out of a overwhelming sense of gratitude that we tell others about Jesus Christ. We realize just what His death on the cross purchased on our behalf - deliverance from eternal hell and a relationship with almighty God.

There is an old hymn that simply says, "Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul, Thank you, Lord, for making me whole; Thank you, Lord, for giving to me thy great salvation so rich and free." To hear the song and see the words, click here.

This weeks post is short and simple. Express your gratitude to God for saving your soul by telling someone else about His love and mercy. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's the Game Plan Coach?

Currently, I am in Phoenix, Arizona for an Urban Centers Strategy Meeting on Behalf of NAMB. The purpose of the meeting is to develop a strategy for reaching the Greater Phoenix area through evangelism and church planting. We will also be discussing the return of Crossover to the Phoenix area in 2011.

As I thought about this meeting, I wondered about how many existing churches actually have a strategy for reaching their field of influence with the gospel.

Sadly, I feel that the answer is "few if any."

Jesus had a strategy for reaching the world with the gospel. He selected twelve men and mentored them extensively for three years before his death, burial and resurrection. He then turned them loose and empowered them with the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission. Turns out, it was very effective strategy as evidenced by the existence of the Church today.

Here are a few things to consider when contemplating a local church strategy for reaching people with the good news.

Context - Where has God placed your church? Are you located in a inner city environment, a rural area or in an area of affluence? The answer to this question will change the way you reach out to the community.

Culture - What is unique about the people that you are ministering to? Are there cultural obstacles that must be addressed in order to reach the people you are attempting to reach?

Commission - Does your congregation understand the importance of reaching people with the gospel? Have they been taught and trained in evangelism methodology? What needs to be added or improved?

Conversation - In what ways has your church attempted to engage the people of the community previously? What has worked? What has not worked?

Concern - How can you become missional in your approach to reaching the community? In other words, do you expect people to come to you, or are you going to them.

Cost - What changes will have to be made in order to reach the community with the gospel? Are people in your congregation willing to sacrifice what is needed to accomplish the work?

These are only a few of the considerations that must be taken into account before developing an evangelism strategy for reaching the community. Your strategy must be specific enough to meet the needs of the community, yet simple enough to be embraced by your congregation.

If your church would like help in developing an effective evangelism strategy, I would be glad to talk to you. Please contact me at info@onlyfoundation.org to set up an appointment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Changed Life: The Evidence of Conversion

"And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." Luke 19:8 ESV

Zacchaeus was a man who experienced a genuine life change after he met Jesus. This man, who previously made his living from cheating people and misusing his authority, stood before our Lord and pledged to follow a new path. In my opinion, this renewed attitude and desire to make things right with his fellow man is clear evidence of conversion.

I believe that those who have truly encountered the risen Christ are going to show evidence of that encounter through their changed life. Paul tells us that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This change is the direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit who purges our sins and regenerates our hardened hearts.

In the last article, I mentioned a man who gave his heart to Christ during a Harvest Sunday that I conducted at a church in Eastern North Carolina. Yesterday, I saw his pastor. He told me how much different this man was since his conversion experience.

Richard, the man who was saved, used to coach one of the athletic teams in the community. Apparently, he treated his team harshly. There were times when he got into some serious "discussions" with some of the parents of the children.

His pastor told me that Richard had been tracking down all of the young people that he had coached in order to apologize for the way he had treated them! I find it ironic that Richard was saved after I preached a message on Zacchaeus who vowed to reconcile with the people he had wronged.

Another example of someone who experienced a life change is Julia Champion.

When I met Julia, she was a homeless drug-addict living on the streets of Raleigh. In this YouTube testimony, you can hear about the difference that Jesus has made in her life. This video was taken one month after her conversion to Christ at Moore Square in Raleigh. I was preaching on Psalm 130 that day.

I have seen Julia another time since then and she is still walking with Jesus.

Sometimes, people ask me if all of the people who make decisions for Christ through my evangelism ministry are genuine. I wish I knew that for sure. That is not my job. My job is to share the gospel, invite people to give their lives to Christ, and trust God for the results.

One thing is clear; A changed life speaks for itself. The one sharing the gospel does not affect the change; the Holy Spirit does. Let us trust Him to do His job of changing lives..

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meet Your Best Ally: The Holy Spirit

Recently, I spoke at a church for a Harvest Sunday event where a 41 year-old man surrendered his heart to Christ. He didn't respond during the public invitation at the end of the service, but came to the pastor and I to talk privately.

He told us that he had felt the Lord "tug" at his heart before, but never like this time. It was clear that he was under conviction of his sin and his need for Christ.

Whenever we witness to someone, we have an ally in the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity is actively pointing people to Christ through our words. Jesus said of the Spirit, "He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:14 ESV

One of the main jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin. Jesus said, "...he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:" John 16:8 ESV

I believe that the majority of people that you talk to are inwardly aware of their sinful nature. They may try to hide their sins, suppress their guilt, or excuse their actions as imperfection, but deep down inside, they know that they have done wrong. The Holy Spirit quickens their conscience when they are reminded of their sins and reawakens that sense of guilt.

I talked to a man this weekend who was under deep conviction. He was walking down the sidewalk by Moore Square when he noticed me sharing the Bible with someone else. He stopped, came back, and asked for prayer.

He admitted to me that he was addicted to cocaine (for 9 years) and was tired of being in bondage. As we talked, he told me that even going to church and trying to do the right thing made him feel even more condemned. The only question is... was his conscience quickened enough to lead him to repent and trust Christ. That is yet to be seen.

Whenever you share the gospel with someone....
  • Pray - for the Spirit to convict the person you are witnessing to.
  • Use Scripture - The Spirit will use the Word of God to bring conviction. (Particularly the law - See Romans 7:7)
  • Listen - Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you witness.
  • Trust - Let the Holy Spirit do His job. Don't get discouraged if you don't see evidence of conviction. You can't see what is happening in the person's heart.
Always remember you are not trying to persuade people to come to Christ with your well constructed arguments or your polished evangelism script. You are cooperating with God to draw people to Christ.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Your Story: A Powerful Witnessing Tool - Part 2

This past weekend, I conducted a quick training workshop at the church where I was preaching on how to engage people in spiritual conversations during a special event such as a fall festival or community event. They were having a Fall Festival in the evening for the community.

During the workshop, one attendee said to another, "You have such a wonderful testimony. I really don't have that much to share with people."

As I dug deeper into her story, I discovered that her statement was not true at all. She had a wonderful Christian background influenced by a very godly mother. I told her how God could use that part of her testimony as well as anything. "Just because you don't have anything dramatic in your past, it does not mean that God can't use your story," I said.

Every Christian has a story. It may not be earthshaking, but it is a means that God can use to draw people to Christ. Most importantly, it is God's story of how He worked in your life. The question that I hear from people is, "How do I organize my story?"

A simple outline of your personal testimony follows:
  1. What was my life like before I met Jesus Christ?
  2. How did I come to meet Jesus Christ?
  3. How has my life been different since meeting Jesus Christ?
Consider Paul's testimony before King Agrippa again. (Be sure to click on each of these links and read the passages.) In Acts 26:4-11, we see his description of his life before meeting Jesus. He talked about his Jewish heritage and how he persecuted the church. In Acts 26:12-18, Paul described his Damascus Road encounter with the Risen Christ. And in Acts 26:19-23, Paul describes how he became a proclaimer of the very message that he had sought to eradicate.

If you have never thought about your personal testimony before, find a sheet of paper and write it out according to the above outline. Each section should contain two to three paragraphs as a minimum. However, you want to be able to share this testimony in 2-3 minutes with anyone.

I would love to help you refine your testimony. Write it out and e-mail it to info at onlyfoundation dot org. I will review your outline and make helpful suggestions on how to share it effectively. Once you have it down, I would encourage you to share it with someone who has never met our Savior within one week of writing it out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your Story: A Powerful Witnessing Tool - Part 1

What's your story? Many believers don't realize that they have one of the most powerful witnessing tools already at their disposal. Using this tool doesn't require a lot of training or scripture memorization and it is very personal. It even works well with our post-modern culture.

I'm talking about a personal testimony.

A personal testimony is simply retelling the way in which Christ has worked in your life. It is natural and easy because it comes out of your own personal experience. It is relevant and relational. People may attempt to debate you when it comes to the gospel, but for the most part, they cannot debate your personal testimony.

Consider these Biblical examples examples of a personal testimony...

In John 4:1-42, Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. He talked to her about living water and challenged her sinful lifestyle. She left the well and ran to town. The Bible says: "Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." John 4:39 ESV

In John 9:1-38, Jesus encountered a man blind from birth. Jesus made mud, placed it on the eyes of the man, and commanded him to wash in the pool of Siloam. When the Pharisees confronted the formerly blind man about this miracle, he said, "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." John 9:25 ESV

In Acts 26, Paul stood before King Agrippa and gave his testimony as he did several other times in the book of Acts to others. Agrippa may have been under conviction from the Holy Spirit when he said, "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?" Acts 26:28 ESV

These are only three examples of personal testimonies in the Bible. In each instance, God used these personal testimonies to glorify His Son Jesus. If God used these testimonies to bring about conviction and conversion, he can surely use your testimony.

What about your story? How has Jesus made a difference in your life? Have you shared your story with someone recently? Be sure to read each of the above accounts and ask yourself, "How did God use each of these accounts to bring conviction in the lives of the hearers."

Here is a link to my personal testimony.

In the next article, I will share how to organize your testimony and share it with others.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Community Evangelism Seminar Slides 2

Prayer And Evangelism 1

From: onlyfoundation, 21 minutes ago

Part one of my Community Evangelism Seminar. This presentation is about prayer and evangelism.
Prayer And Evangelism 1
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: prayer walking)
SlideShare Link

Community Evangelism Seminar Slides

Sharing The Gospel 1

From: onlyfoundation, 2 minutes ago

Part two of my Community Evangelism Seminar. This presentation focuses on intentionally sharing the gospel. It includes Evangecube slides.
Sharing The Gospel 1
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: road romans)
SlideShare Link

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evangelism Is Scary Stuff!

This past week, I completed a series of revival meetings at a little church in Washington, NC. On Friday night, I preached on How to Share Jesus Whether You are Gifted or Not. I challenged the people to get out and share the gospel with someone in their circle of influence. I also gave them an opportunity to go out and try street evangelism on Saturday.

To my delight, 4 people from the church joined me and two others - whom I had previously trained - to share the gospel. At the end of the hour, we gathered for a debriefing.

Everyone had a great experience, in fact, we saw 2 salvation commitments. I asked the question to the newcomers, "Was it as hard as you thought it would be?" They replied, "No, in fact we were well received."

Their surprise betrayed an underlying sense of fear that nearly all Christians have when it comes to witnessing. It's scary stuff! Forget the fall festivals and hallelujah houses for Halloween; put some tracts in the hands of church members and shove them out the front door of the church! That will terrify them. (Of course, I'm kidding.)

I feel that sense of fear every time I hit the streets. It is real and it certainly does not come from God. (See 2 Timothy 1:7) I have learned to pray through and plow through the fear and keep on going.

In Ephesians 6:19, Paul asks the church to, "Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news." (CEV)


He sure did. So did Peter, John and the other Apostles in Acts 4:29. They prayed "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness." (ESV)

In their case, the stakes were high. Proclaiming the gospel meant they were risking punishment or death. In our case, it means that we might lose a friend, lose a job or get called names. I don't think the cost compares, do you?

The best way to overcome fear is to pray for boldness, just as the early church did. Through the Holy Spirit, God will answer your prayer and give you the words you need and the boldness you desire. After that, just get out there and give it a try. The more you practice evangelism, the more comfortable you will be with evangelism. - Darrel

Friday, October 10, 2008

Diagnosis Please

In the previous article, I talked about using a diagnostic question to start a spiritual conversation with someone. I wanted to expand on that thought and give you a few more questions that you can use to get the conversation started about Jesus. (Since I am on the road holding revival services, this article will be short and sweet.)
  1. Do you attend a church in the area?

  2. What is your spiritual background?

  3. Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs?

  4. Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?

  5. What do _________ believe? (Insert the name of the religion that person belongs to. I.E. if they claim to be Wiccians, then ask: What do Wiccians believe?)

  6. Who is Jesus Christ to you?

  7. If you died and found yourself standing before God and he asked, "Why should I let you into my heaven," what would you say to Him?

  8. Do you believe there is a heaven or a hell? Where will you go when you die?

  9. What do you think the standard is for getting into heaven?

Notice, I never ask questions like, "Are you saved?" or "Are you a Christian?" It is too easy to say yes or no to these questions. You want the person to open up and talk about what they believe - not take the easy way out.

I have used many of these questions in my conversations with others about Jesus. Some are more confrontive than others. I think you should pray about each situation and ask God to give you the right approach to starting the conversation.

I would be interested in hearing back from you. What kinds of questions have you used to begin a witnessing conversation with someone? Use the "Post a Comment" link to share your questions with everyone.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Witnessing - You Don't Have to Have Super Powers - Part 2

Have you ever found yourself involved in a conversation where one person dominates the discussion? A recent phone call comes to mind. I was talking with a very dear, well-meaning man who droned on and on about his wife and several other subjects from 20 years ago. As I attempted to listen, I found my mind drifting toward other subjects like how belly lint gets into your belly button or why they call it a button in the first place.

Sadly, there are people who try to share the gospel in that same manner – they drone on and on totally dominating the conversation. The listener barely can get a word in edgewise. It is no wonder we Christians sometimes get accused of ramming our beliefs down the throat of a lost person.

I used to think that I needed to control the witnessing conversation. Experience has taught me a different lesson.

Earlier this year, I was in Wichita, Kansas with a team of people doing street evangelism. We were working a huge festival called Riverfest giving out tracts and sharing one-to-one. This was my first time to participate in this outreach which had been held for several years.

In Wichita, there was a group of youth who hung out by the river called Juggalos. Juggalos are followers of a rap music group called the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) Juggalos are a countercultural movement very similar to Goths.

For several years, the local outreach leader, Loren, had attempted to reach out to this group with little success. In fact, several of the Juggalos had previously threatened to throw some of our team members into the river and one had threatened to kill Loren.

On Friday morning of our outreach, the Lord led me to join the juggalo group to talk. Looking back on it now, it was probably not one of the smartest things that I ever did especially since I was by myself.

Instead of giving them tracts and immediately witnessing to them, I started to ask questions about their spiritual beliefs. “What do Juggalos believe?” I asked.

I continued to follow each question with another question until I had a dialogue going. I took their answers and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit responded with the Biblical perspective. It was amazing how open they really were to talking about their beliefs.

When the conversation came to a close, one of the guys said, “I like you better than any Christian that I have ever met. You didn’t come down here and judge us based on our appearance. Even though I don’t agree with you, I like you.” That was a huge step forward.

Throughout the rest of the weekend, we continued to build relationships with them and share as God gave opportunity. In fact, the guy who previously threatened Loren poured his heart out to me and another team member for over an hour.

Phillip understood the importance of having a dialogue. In Acts 8:26-39, Phillip began his conversation with the eunuch by asking a question.

“Do you understand what you are reading?” This is known in evangelism circles as a diagnostic question.

As a witness, I want to see where the person that I am dialoging with is at in their spiritual journey. If you don’t ask this type of question, you will not know where to begin in your witnessing conversation.

I use a number of different diagnostic questions while I am witnessing based on the context and situation. For example, I might ask a gang member, “What is going to happen to you when you step out of this life.” I might ask another person, “To you, who is Jesus Christ.” My favorite diagnostic question is, “If you were to die tonight, would you be 50%, 75% or 100% sure you would go to heaven.”

These types of questions are the starting point for my dialogue. One thing that I make sure of is that I listen to the answers given. (I’m not thinking about belly lint at that time.) Listening is your most important witnessing skill.

Make sure your witnessing conversation is a dialogue and not a monologue. Your credibility numbers will skyrocket with your listener if you foster a conversation instead of blasting them with a canned presentation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Witnessing - You Don't Have to Have Super Powers - Part 1

Recently, I led an evangelism class at a local college for the Baptist Campus Ministry. I wish I could say that there were a flood of students who attended this early Saturday morning class, but only 2 showed. (I learned a valuable lesson about scheduling training classes at the appropriate time for the context.)

We were just about to strike camp and go home when the young woman who came asked a few questions about my ministry. She was absolutely blown away by the fact that I could walk up to a total stranger and have a spiritual conversation with that person.

Many believers are like this young lady...they don't know what to say to someone to start a spiritual conversation and they are scared to death to say anything at all.

I must confess that this is one skill that I constantly work to develop. It does not come naturally to me as an introvert.

One thing that I have learned is that people are more open to talking about spiritual matters than most people give them credit for. We irrationally envision ourselves initiating a spiritual conversation only to be crushed by the words of rejection. If you approach people with the right attitude, most of the time they will graciously listen to you.

In Acts 8:26-39, we see the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. It is an excellent Biblical example of a witnessing encounter and a perfect model for talking to anyone about Jesus.

One of the first things we see about talking to anyone about Jesus is: Our conversation must be guided by the Holy Spirit. Phillip was told by the Spirit to go to a specific place, to talk to a specific person, and was given specific insight into the spiritual condition of that person.

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct believers in their conversations with other about Jesus. The Spirit never draws attention to Himself, but points others to Jesus. He speaks to believers through inner promptings and impressions which helps them to accomplish the task of witnessing.

As a believer, you will only learn to listen to the Spirit through building your relationship with Christ and through the continued practice of witnessing. There are no short cuts to familiarizing yourself with His work.

You may have experienced the prompting of the Holy Spirit before. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that God wanted you to talk to someone about Jesus? Most believers have. How did you react?

If you followed through with the conversation, you probably will remember how specific scriptures, that you haven't thought of in years, came to mind with ease. You will likely recall thinking, "did I really say that?"

Total reliance on the Holy Spirit is an absolute essential for a witnessing encounter.

The next time you start shaking in your boots thinking about witnessing to someone - even a total stranger - take a deep breath and pray for the Spirit of God to guide your words and thoughts. You don't have to have super powers, just a supernatural helper known as the Holy Spirit.

In the next article, we will talk about the importance of two-way dialogue in a witnessing conversation.

Good News - The Relaunch is Coming

After a long and lazy hiatus from blogdom, I am proud to say that I will relaunch the Friendfluence blog in the next few weeks. I plan to use it as a extension of my equipping ministry as an evangelist. So keep your eyes open for the resurrection of Friendfluence 2.o.