Sharing Faith Naturally in Conversation as a Way of Life
a “how-to” guide by Jim Found
Here’s how these basic terms are used on this site:
Witness! You already are a witness. This website uses the term “witness” to include all your words and actions that make an impression on other people.
The good news, then, is that you do not need training to become a witness. It’s just the opposite — you cannot hide what you really are. You have been witnessing for years, perhaps without even realizing it, because you do not even know all the people who have been watching you.
The question is — what is it that you are witnessing to? What is it that people have seen as they have been watching you? Jesus said, “You shall be witnesses of me.” (Acts 1:8). When people see you, do they see someone to whom God is real? Do people see in you evidence that God affects they way you live? What if people see you disobeying God — have you lost all chance of giving them a credible reason for your faith? more
Our witness is always going to be flawed. Even though our “new life” shares and obeys God by its very nature, our “old life” is still present. It naturally expresses itself in selfishness and rebellion. That’s why we do not stop with showing our own life — our ultimate goal is to introduce Jesus Christ Himself as the basis for our faith — as the one who is not flawed, and can change other’s lives even though we cannot. Witness then at some point is meant to include:
Evangelism. The “ev” means “good” in Greek, and “angel” means “messenger,” so the term means “telling a good message.” It does not mean any and every good message, but one specific good message: “Jesus is our substitute who received the punishment we deserve, to give us a close relationship to God that will never end.” Christ’s disciple Peter writes, “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). This web site will concentrate on evangelism (bringing the good news about Jesus) to those who do not yet believe in Him. more
Gospel. The “go” stands for “good,” and the “spel” stands for “message,” so “gospel” is the Old English word that has the same meaning as the Greek-based term “evangelism.” The apostle Paul defines the gospel like this: “I do not want you to be ignorant of the gospel … by which you are saved … that Christ died for our sins … that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day.” (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). more
Wherever this gospel message has been shared throughout history, people have become believers in Christ. That’s because the gospel message has power. Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe” (Romans 1:16). Since the gospel has power, that’s why we look for opportunities to tell the gospel message in the midst of the unending witness of our lives. This web site is meant to assist you in talking about Jesus naturally, as a way of life, and especially to those who do not yet believe.
Testimony. Testimony is to be distinguished from “gospel.” On this site, “testimony” refers to telling others something that God has done to help us in our daily lives; it could also be called a “faith-story.” It is not limited to long reports about your life before and after the influence of Jesus. It can also be something short, such as avoiding a car crash or finding comfort in distress — something that caused you to say “thank you God.” Testimony is about something that happened to you; gospel is about something that happened to Jesus. You may or may not have a chance to add the gospel when you are telling a “faith-story.” Your goal is that the person hear the gospel. Why then use testimony?
We cannot control how other people will respond to the gospel message. God is the one who changes hearts. When we realize that we are not expected to change hearts — only God can do that — we feel more free to do our small part — the telling — without judging ourselves by how the other person responds.
God changes hearts, not us. Attempting to play God’s role leads to frustration. We can avoid frustration through child-like faith in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for IT is the power …” We show a lack of faith in this verse when, after the gospel is rejected, we say to ourselves, “The gospel didn’t work, so now I have to add the good stuff — If only I were more clever, if only I had a backlog of good one-liners that will silence their criticism, or if only I could become an expert that can answer all their objections.” In fact, the gospel is the “good stuff.” See more at Witness Videos.
We can walk away from someone who has rejected the gospel with the confidence that once the gospel is in their brain, they will not be able to shake it out. The timing on when God will make the gospel real to them is outside our control. When we see that God has the larger role, then our small role begins to seem less daunting.
Disciple. Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19). Our overall task then is “to disciple.” Evangelism is one indispensable part of this process. Without evangelism, people would not become believers, and so they could not even begin to grow as disciples. In addition, we will not have a chance to evangelize without getting to know people.
A person who sees your “witness” might be at any one of these three stages:
Not yet willing to talk about spiritual things with you;
Willing to converse with you about your faith; or
Already a believer, so you can nurture one another in your common faith.
This web site helps you at all three stages, and encourages you to believe that you can be part of God’s overall plan “to seek and to save the lost” no matter which stage the person you’re talking to is in at the moment. More detail on: stage one (befriending) stage two (sharing Christ) stage three (nurture)
As you inter-act with people at any of these stages, you are part of the overall command to “make disciples.” These three stages are echoed in the three action verbs of Matthew 28.19: by “going” (that is, through our daily activities), by “baptizing” (representing the process of hearing and believing the gospel message), and by “teaching” (the ongoing nurture of those who have become believers.) Everyone you encounter will be at one of these stages, and that’s how “making disciples” becomes a part of your daily life.
Web Topics. Please select from any of the following:
1) Overcoming our reluctance to share our faith
2) The salvation message — guidance for what to share, without becoming “mechanical.”
3) Natural ways to bring up the gospel in conversation — without becoming “coercive.”
4) Handling responses to the message (Including Answering Objections)
5) Helping New Believers to Grow (follow-up and nurture)
6) What about those who aren’t interested — or even hostile?
7) What about those of other cultures?
8) What about those of other religions?
9) What about serving overseas?
10) How to lead a Witness Workshop
11) How to schedule the author to lead a workshop