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.