Great Commission Living Workshop

Personal witnessing in your relationships

Sharing Your Faith Naturally in Conversation

Presenter: Jim FoundHoffmann Institute.
   (The Hoffmann Institute is based at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota. Up to 2009 it was called the Oswald Hoffmann School of Christian Outreach.)

This workshop assists people to share their faith in a natural way within their existing relationships. The workshop is meant for ordinary church members, to help them share about Jesus in a conversational way.

In order to overcome common frustrations, I remind people that it is God’s work to bring people to faith, not our work. Our work is to love and to communicate the message about Jesus. I think some people try to do God’s part, and then they feel like failures because they are unable to do it. When we have faith that God will do “His role,” then we are more free to do “our role,” which is to talk about Jesus.

Sometimes people are frustrated because they want to talk about Jesus but an opportunity does not arise in the conversation. I help them to see that we are part of the Great Commission even if we do not have an opportunity to share the entire story in a given conversation, because the Great Commission also includes the preparation for sharing the gospel, such as through building relationships. I have a lot of practical ideas to help them in building relationships. I also show them many natural ways to bring Jesus up in a conversation, based on the other person’s needs.

I want to help people find a middle ground between two extremes. One extreme is the “mechanical presentation,” in which we explain the Gospel the same way every time, no matter what the level or needs of the listener. The other extreme is “not knowing what to say.” To find the balance, we study the gospel message as it was shared by the apostles in the Book of Acts. They shared the same concepts every time, but they used different words each time, to fit the situation of the listeners. I give them practical methods for making transitions in a conversation from secular topics to faith talk, and about how to meet common objections.  This website includes a “How-to Guide” that serves to introduce you to the types of concepts included in the workshop.

The normal time needed for this workshop is six hours. These six hours can be on a Saturday, or can be scheduled another way, such as three hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday. There are 10 pages of handouts, and I ask the church to make the amount of copies that would be needed.

If you invite me to give the workshop, I would like to ask that you take care of my transportation costs, housing, and food. I am willing to stay with a host family. We at the Hoffmann Institute do not request any set figure for an honorarium, because we want to make sure that no church would miss a workshop just for financial reasons.

You are free to invite other churches to the workshop. Once we have settled on a date, I can mail you examples of publicity materials that other churches have developed. To contact me, please use my email address, learner9696@yahoo.com, or you can call my home phone: (970) 663-5490. For suggestions about publicizing the workshop, click on publicity plan to get ideas and to see suggested wording for bulletin inserts. In addition, my website has short devotions that you can use in your church bulletin during the seven weeks before the workshop.

I have prepared another version of my workshop that is especially geared toward people who are distressed that their children or grandchildren are not attending church. This version places emphasis on unconditional acceptance, on ways to show love, on sharing without making someone feel threatened, and on spiritual warfare in prayer.

I am a Director of Christian Education, listed under the Teacher Roster of the Lutheran Annual (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). I served on Taiwan for eleven years (1986 to 1997) with LCMS World Mission, and taught Personal Witnessing and other courses at Concordia University in St. Paul from 1998 to 2006. I am now retired from teaching but still available for workshops. I now live in Colorado.

I am willing to stay extra days to make other presentations. I can speak in your adult Bible study about my experiences on Taiwan and my mission trip to Czech Republic.Other topics are listed on the page titled nurture.  If you desire me to share on Sunday mornings, we ask you to consider a door offering for the Hoffmann Institute. My wife Sue can put up a Taiwan display, and she also has materials on children and youth ministry, so you are welcome to arrange for her to meet with some of your Sunday School and Youth leaders during the weekend.

Here is a list of pastors and other church workers who have taken the workshop and who have agreed to let me share their names. Talking to them may help you decide whether this workshop will meet your particular needs.

This link shows you what I will do during the worksho:  How to Lead your own workshop

I look forward to hearing from you. Jim. Email: learner9696@yahoo.com

Return to home page