That is horrible! I can’t even believe I wrote that. But I did and I did because it’s true. The last thing you want is to find yourself walking out of an amazing sermon about witnessing without someone to go witness to. Sure, you can always find strangers on the street or at the coffee shop, but that’s hard. That’s Ph.D. level witnessing right there. You can’t jump to the big leagues right away. You need to work your way up to approaching people at the mall with the life changing message of Jesus.
So keep a ringer in your circle of friends. At least one guy that isn’t a Christian but is willing to let you practice witnessing on him. Run your message by him. Work through the salvation story bit by bit until you’ve got it down pat. By practicing with him, you’re exposing him to the gospel message 20 or 30 times. And by being honest about your intent, “I really want to share the love of Christ with other people, can I please tell you about it first?” you avoid that awkward “salvation segue” we often do.
You know the one where we keep steering people back to Jesus regardless of what the conversation we’re having is actually about. “You think the LA Dodgers have a shot at chasing the pennant this year because of the new batting firepower they acquired from the Yankees? It’s funny you say that, because that reminds me, Jesus died for you and wants to cover you with the blood of forgiveness.”
Let’s stop doing that. Not stop witnessing, clearly that’s not what I’m saying. But sometimes when sharing the gospel isn’t about sharing the insane love we’ve been given from Christ with someone else that we love it looks like while the people we’re witnessing to are talking, we’re internally thinking, “Waiting, waiting, waiting, come on, just pause long enough for me to yell ‘Jesus!’ One deep breath, that’s all I’m asking for, you take one long inhale and I am going to gospel you like you’ve never been gospelled before. Waiting, waiting, waiting.”
I’m not sure Jesus was like that. He didn’t seem to do things that way in the Bible. When a woman touched him while he was walking through a crowd in Luke 8 and He felt the power go out of Him, He didn’t say, “Sweet, I healed that lady and didn’t even have to make eye contact with her. That might be the world’s fastest healing. I should just run through the crowd and high five heal everyone like an NBA player coming through the tunnel of fans at a game.”
He stopped. Even as He was on his way to heal someone’s dying daughter. He stopped and made time for the person that needed him. He didn’t do drive by witnessing. And neither should we, which is why it’s always good to keep at least one non believer around to practice on.
p.s. I don’t have all the answers, especially when it comes to a topic as hotly debated as witnessing and this will hopefully be one of those posts where the comments challenge/shape/grow what I think about the topic. So what does witnessing look like to you? What does sharing the gospel look like to you?