Is Witnessing A Formula?

If I were to write an article giving detailed instructions (or a formula) for witnessing, what considerations would have to go into that article? People say that my articles are very straight-forward. They say I "tell it like it is". Honesty is very important to me. I believe in being direct and to the point.

The focus of my articles is also very important. I don't want my statements to be so specific that they can be applied to only the most unique and contrived situations. But I also don't want my statements to be so general that they are not applicable to anyone's life, or could be misinterpreted.

It is difficult to be direct and to the point about such a comprehensive topic. It is also difficult to adjust the focus to the right level of detail. Perhaps that is because witnessing does not start with memorizing a canned sales technique to invite people to church. Witnessing is just one component of a lifestyle dedicated to serving the Lord. Our lifestyle demonstrates our priorities. Even sermon topics, Sunday School curricula, and church programs convey a message about what we believe and what is important to us.

In a court of law, a witness offers testimony. In our lives, we are to offer testimony about Jesus. Witnessing involves the Christian, the message, and the person receiving the message. The Christian is you (and me). The message is the Good News about Jesus. The person receiving the message could be anyone you know or meet. Consider inviting friends, family, neighbors, and people at school (or work) to church.

We can even be a witness at church. When someone hasn't been at worship services, give him a call. It will make his day to know he was missed. Think of people you haven't seen at church for a long time and call them. Most people will be thrilled to know you care enough to invite them back. And remember to greet visitors and make them feel welcome.

Our claim to be children of God must be supported by our actions, our words, our lives. We must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to witnessing opportunities. Then we must recognize those opportunities. We must act upon them. And we must give God the glory and the praise for working through us to affect the lives of others.

From a simplistic view, it would seem that everyone should realize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. We should be able to go up to a person, or a group of people, and simply state our case for Christianity. It should be as easy as telling them what is right, and they will accept it.

Can't you just see me, Bible in hand, at McDonald's at 9:00 Sunday morning? Can't you hear me yellin', "Hey, you all! Come on down to our church with me to hear the Good News about Jesus!" Can't you see the crowd coming with me, as we skip, hand in hand, down Main Street to our church?

Part of me is being facetious to prove a point. But part of me is being serious. How do we know if a method will work, unless we try it? Logic would dictate that the simplest, most direct approach is best. But we live in a complex society. Nothing is simple when it comes to human relationships. Or is it? I have been surprised at how many people, when invited to church, will respond, "You know, I have been thinking about going back to church recently." People may accept the truth about Jesus easier than we think. But getting them to admit it, or do anything about it may be more difficult.

People who do not know Jesus are usually busy chasing after the illusive dream of happiness. They keep themselves so busy that they have no awareness of any unhappiness. Even if they do think they are unhappy, they haven't properly diagnosed the problem yet. They don't realize they need Christ's love and forgiveness. They may not see an invitation to church as a remedy to their problems, or as an answer to their needs.

Some people may prefer a direct approach: an invitation to a worship service. Some may not be comfortable around the "religious talk", and may prefer to be invited first to a game or some other social event. Then, after they get used to the people, they might accept an invitation to a worship service.

Some people take things one step at a time. They have to learn to trust the people of God, before they can trust God. It is our responsibility to help them build that trust. When we help them trust us, God's people, we help them take that first step toward trusting God.

I have thrown out some suggestions, but I have not really answered the question, "Where do you start?" The most important step in all of this is to get the Holy Spirit involved. Start with prayer.

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