Ten Tips for Christian Witness

Relationship is the way to connect people with Christ.

I understand that there are many out there who feel the urgency to speak to people in such a way that they will know Christ in that moment to save them from hell and for heaven.  However, the odds are that this person will not die in the next few hours and it is also just as unlikely that people you meet will not have heard or will not hear again.

Remember: the God we believe in loves those people more than you do.  And if you forgot that, perhaps you want to take a look at John chapter 3 again.

It is vital that we pay attention to who we are talking to, and connect to the idea that no one wants to speak openly with someone who is fake.  This takes time but the effort can be worth it.  This also requires that we put into practice what we believe about God.  If the God we serve is as powerful as we read, share, and believe, then God can take our efforts and make them meaningful if we focus on following God’s will for our lives in everything we do.

This is not only my idea.  Take a look:

  1. Don’t start using the person’s name, as if you are a close personal friend, unless you actually are a close personal friend.
  2. Don’t start quoting from the Bible.
  3. Don’t bring up a topic, or try to find out what the person is interested in, just so you can bring it back around to how it’s all a metaphor for Jesus or Christianity.
  4. Don’t use the phrase “Good News.”
  5. Don’t talk about Jesus like he’s part of the conversation.
  6. Don’t plant literature.
  7. Don’t hide behind a fake front.
  8. Don’t assume that we have “God-shaped holes in our hearts” and try to get us to admit it.
  9. Don’t compare your past experiences to our present.
  10. Don’t talk down to us, as if we’re just not understanding something perfectly obvious.

Each of these points in their way expose strategies that Christians have used for years with the best of intention that usually comes with that spirit of urgency for the person’s soul.  But the perception from those with whom these strategies have been used is that of distance, discontinuity, false concern, and uncaring interruption.  What all these tips have in common is that they are asking for genuine, open conversation.  They ask for us to take the time to understand and enter into the level of intimacy that these conversations require.  If we truly believe that a person’s soul is at stake, then it is worth the further investment.

Interestingly enough I ran across this list in an article by Hemant Mehta who is the author of “I Sold My Soul on Ebay” and thus has been dubbed the “ebay Atheist.”  As a “courtesy” he shares these ideas for what can help open up conversation.  If right now you are wondering why I would be sharing advice about how to evangelize from an atheist, ask yourself who better to demonstrate how to reach outsiders.

Not listening to those outside our circles is exactally what is contributing to the problem that the church is facing with an increasingly weak influence in our world.  We need to take the bold steps to listen to those with whom we disagree so that we can begin to have a conversation with our friends and neighbors that will make an eternal impact.

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

2 responses to “Ten Tips for Christian Witness

  • Bill

    Hello,

    So you’re saying that to get an opportunity to connect people with Christ, you want to become friends with them, and then when they trust you, you can have a serious conversation. And that plan is more genuine than just having a conversation with them from the beginning?

    That doesn’t seem genuine to me at all. You want to connect them with Jesus, but rather than just coming out and doing it, you have some elaborate scheme. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). You don’t need an elaborate scheme. All you have to do is open your mouth and give people the gospel.

    Many people are very open to discussing eternal matters. They have their opinions, and if you ask them, they’re more than happy to share them with you. That gives you an opportunity to tell them what the Bible says.

    As far as who we should take our evangelism advice from, I’d also disagree that we should take the advice of an atheist. I prefer to take evangelism advice from Jesus, Peter, Paul and other people from the Bible.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Aaron

    Bill,

    Thank you for your comments. No doubt this is a controversial stance. I know many people who share your opinion, and for all I know you may be correct. However, I seem to have failed when I have described this scenario. In no way do I see this as un-authentic or an “elaborate scheme.” On the contrary, I believe that God is powerful enough to use our best efforts. I believe that the care and compassion I have for people different from myself, once I get to know them and understand them, can remove the scheme from my intentions to befriend someone who believes differently from myself.

    The book I reviewed previously, UnChristian, gives a statistic that 87% of outsiders believe that Christians are too judgmental, thus preventing them from being willing to engage in conversation with us. Why do they have that perception? What can we do about it?

    I find it challenging that the Bible talks about Jesus spending time with tax collectors and sinners, he kicked back and had fun, and I would hate to think that for him it was all about a scheme or an agenda.

    I don’t know if you took the time to read the post that I took those tips from, but for #10 the author comments that many atheists spent a lot of time in the church and knows the stories of the Bible. In fact there is much on that blog to suggest that contributors there are quite intelligent. Why would they have left the church? I would love to know if not for their benefit but for ours! And maybe this list of tips gives us a clue about what drove some of them away.

    I sincerely find your comment challenging. I hope that you continue to share your thoughts about my writing. It is edifying the body when we have these open dialogues.

    Blessings!

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